The 35-year-old rider from Woodhall Spa is one of the top crowd pullers at the annual races on the north coast of Ireland where his drive and determination to win have won over the hearts of legions of admiring fans.
Plater rode to a memorable brace of victories on the HM Plant Honda in 2006, following that last year with a further victory in the feature race, this time for AIM Yamaha.
Having re-signed for AIM Yamaha he will again contest the NW200 for the team as well as the TT and British Superbike championship. Speaking at the launch of the NW200 Plater speculated on his chances of securing further success and said: “I had the chance to ride for HM Plant Honda at the NW200 this year but they couldn’t offer me the BSB ride and they are not going to the TT this year either, so AIM Yamaha was the better option for me.
“The North West is one of my top events and its only once a year so when I go there obviously I want to win. It’s not the same as riding in the British Superbike championship where you are racing in 24 races throughout the year, you only get one stab at the NW each season and I will be trying hard for the victory again this year.
“The event as a whole package appeals to me because there is such a laid back atmosphere, but its by no means a holiday race. You have to be cool and calculated because of the amount of slipstreaming that goes on and you also need a slice of luck to win the North West.”
Plater will return to the Isle of Man for a second stab at the TT races where he was awarded the Best Newcomer award for his debut ride last year. He is looking to build on his success from 2007 and said: “The TT was very good for me last year. I was very lucky to have Mick Grant on hand to advise me. He has been a big influence in my racing career since around 1998 and he helped me prepare mentally for the challenge of the 37.73-mile mountain course which has to be treated with the utmost respect. It is not the place to take unnecessary risks, you have to try and ride smoothly and sensibly but at the same time build up your speed.”
Steve travels to Almeria in Spain this week for a series of tests with the French GMT 94 Yamaha team with whom he is to contest the World Endurance championship in 2008. GMT 94 is also fielding David Checa and Sebastian Gimbert in the World Superbike championship this year and Steve is the spare rider in case of injury.