Keith Amor will replace the injured Steve Plater at HM Plant Honda during the 2010 Isle of Man TT, Honda UK has confirmed.
Reigning TT Champion Plater suffered a broken left arm in a crash while practicing for the North West 200 and will not be able to compete at the TT, where he won last year’s Senior race.
Scot Amor will ride the Honda Fireblade for the HM Plant team in the Superbike and Senior races in 2010, partnering 15-times TT winner John McGuinness.
The 38-year-old made his TT debut in 2007, scoring a creditable 12th in the supersport class and becoming the second fastest newcomer ever, behind Plater, with a lap of 124.856mph in the 2007 Senior.
Amor secured his first TT podium in 2008, with third in the first Supersport race. Last year, in only his third trip to the TT, he took two podium places, again in the Supersport class as well as third in the Superstock race.
Amor had been due to race with the JMF/Millsport Yamaha team this year, but the pair split just weeks before the road racing season started. Despite the setback, Amor had put together plans to race a KBMG Racing-backed BMW in the Superbike and Superstock classes, as well as a Ten Kate Honda in the two Supersport races.
Now he will start the Superbike and Senior TT races from number five on the HM Plant machinery, but will still contest the Supersport race on the privately-entered Honda CBR600RR.
“It’s all a bit surreal, but I feel incredibly proud and privileged to have been asked by the HM Plant Honda team to ride for them at the TT and also, stand in for such an incredible rider as Steve. When the team called me I was more surprised than anything and it goes to show how you can never predict anything and how life and fortune can change so quickly.”
“Two weekends ago I was stuck in Italy due to cancelled flights and wasn’t sure I was even going to able to make it to the NW200 to compete, and now I have one of the most sought after rides in the paddock!”
“I couldn’t be happier and I’m excited to be going to the TT with such a successful and professional team as HM Plant Honda. It’s obviously not the ideal way I would have wanted to get this ride as Steve is a good friend of mine and I’d rather he was not injured and able to complete, but I want to thank the team and Honda for showing this faith in me, which I aim to try and repay by just doing my best and trying to secure some strong results.”
“The HM Plant Honda Fireblade is arguably the best bike out there and I’m really looking forward to getting out in Practice, just enjoying myself and also riding the best I can for myself, Honda, the team, their sponsors and the fans.”
Honda (UK) Racing Manager Neil Tuxworth added:
“We are very pleased that Keith will be riding for HM Plant Honda in this year’s TT Superbike races. When it became evident that Steve would not be able to compete we had calls from a number of riders, but there were a number of factors to take into consideration in selecting the best rider to stand in for Steve.”
“We have complete confidence in Keith’s ability and hunger to perform at the TT, represent Honda and, his road racing experience on Honda machinery and Dunlop tyres is also an advantage. Keith and John have an excellent relationship and camaraderie and team-spirit are so important at an event like the TT.”
“Keith will not have the opportunity to test the Superbike before the first practice session so there will be some set-up work to do initially, but that shouldn’t hinder progress too much.. In an ideal would we would love for Steve to have been able to take his place on the grid, but we believe that we have the best rider in Keith to replace him.”
Honda confirmed Plater returned home to Lincolnshire on Monday having left hospital in Londonderry after an operation on his arm. It is now healing well, although he has been experiencing some pain in his shoulder and chest and was due to go back into hospital on Thursday for further x-rays and monitoring to try and establish the cause.
“My arm is feeling ok and is not causing me pain at all really, it’s just other parts of my body! I’ve spoken to a great consultant close to home who operated on my other arm back in 2004 and we agreed that it makes sense for me to go back into hospital for a few days for some scans and monitoring to fully understand what’s causing the pain in the upper part of my body.”
“We suspect it may be a bit of compression in my neck, but my priority is finding out what’s causing the pain, working to fix any injury there may be and then getting fit for riding again as soon as possible to try and either keep, or regain, my lead in the British Superstock Championship.”
“My plan is to be at the TT with the team and I’ll be helping out in any way I can, but also want to spend time with race goers in the paddock, may be of some benefit with the television commentary and also take part in our ‘off-track’ activities for the team, our sponsors and Honda.”
“For sure I’m still gutted to not be able to compete, but I’m pleased it’s Keith who’ll be taking my place as he’s a great rider and good guy and I am sure will do the ride justice. Keith and I started at the TT at the same time in 2007 and he’s been knocking at the door behind me and going from strength to strength so I’m sure with the best team in the paddock in HM Plant Honda and, on the best bike with the Fireblade Superbike machine that he’ll be able to progress even more and pull in some good results for himself and the team.”