Stars of the Isle of Man TT enjoyed a tremendous end to the British short circuit season on Sunday.
Several big names from the Mountain course were in action at Oulton Park for the final meeting of the British Superbike Championship.
Arguably the happiest at the end of the weekend was Steve Plater, winner of the Senior TT in 2009. He went into the last race of the British Supersport Championship with a slender lead over title rival Billy McConnell and produced a stunning performance to secure race victory, and with it his first British Supersport championship.
McConnell, who needed to win and for Plater to be demoted down the field in order to take the title, took an early lead as his rival came under pressure from James Westmoreland. However, Plater wasn’t to be denied, seeing off the challenge of Westmoreland and forcing his way past McConnell to take the lead.
Speaking after the race, a delighted Plater said:
‘I really wanted to win the race, as well as to win the championship. It's ok to finish in the points or on the podium, but it's not really my way. There is nothing better than to stand on the top step and obviously Billy had three wins, I had three wins and Westy had two so if Westy won it would have given us three wins apiece.’
‘As it is now I have had more podiums than anyone else, more wins and now the championship so that's nice. It's mega to put the championship to bed here at Oulton Park and it's a big relief as much as anything else as for the last four or five rounds it's been a closely fought thing.’
‘It's also mega for HM Plant Honda and all my family, fans and all the people who have been ringing and texting me this last few weeks, who I'd like to thank for their continued support.’
Three-times TT winner Ian Hutchinson capped off his 2009 season with a tremendous victory in the 1000cc Superstock series. He made a great start and took the Padgetts Honda to a dominant victory, more than 12 seconds ahead of the second place rider.
A crash in the Supersport race prevented the Bingley rider improving on his sixth place in that championship.
It wasn’t such a great race for John McGuinness, the 15-times TT winner struggling with rib and hand injuries during the 1000cc Superstock event. Despite riding through the pain, he held on for 10th and, with rival Richard Cooper failing to finish, secured a fine third place in the championship.
The outright Mountain Circuit lap record holder said:
‘A 10th place finish isn't where I want to be or know I can be, but my broken ribs and right hand have meant I've just not been able to push as hard as I normally would.’
‘I was riding as hard as I could to secure third place in the championship, but once I knew Cooper was out and my third place was secure, I felt it was better to not risk any further damage to my hand so backed off a bit.’
‘I've had an awesome season, enjoyed every minute of it and would like to thank Honda and Clive and all the Padgetts team for this year.’
Gary Johnson and Conor Cummins, both stars of the 2009 TT, took 12th and 13th place in the same race – the Manxman doing enough to secure 10th in the championship.
The 23-year-old said:
‘Once again, I pushed as hard as I could and did the best I could so it was good to finish in the points once more and finish inside the top 10 of the championship. It's been a hard season, but I've loved every minute of it and working with the entire Team Blackhorse Yamaha squad has been truly fantastic.’
‘We've had a solid, consistent year and I'm happy enough with the results and to finish as the second highest Yamaha rider shows what a good job we've all done.’
Manxman Dan Kneen, a star of TT practice week in 2009, had a great ride to finish second in the 600cc Superstock race, just 2 seconds down on winner Luke Mossey.