Lincolnshire race ace Steve Plater has signed a deal with the British Norton factory to develop their bike in a pre-TT test programme and he was at Cadwell Park this week putting the new Aprilia powered V4 machine through its paces in a shakedown test.
Plater, From Woodhall Spa near Lincoln retired from racing shortly after a bad crash at the North West 200 and has spent much of his time since running track days throughout the UK and Europe as well as television commentary duties at the annual Isle of Man TT festival.
He said: “We have two bikes here at Cadwell today, last year’s TT bike and the new 2014 machine that has another 30-35bhp. The new bike has different geometry but the main chassis is the same apart from the swing arm being around 40mm shorter. We have a lot of work to do before the bike is ready for the TT which starts in less than 10 weeks and I am to help develop the bike and do as much testing as possible around the guys who are working hard in the factory. Our main aim is to improve the bike so it can cope with the extra horsepower and become a podium contender which is something we all want to see.”
Although Norton approached Steve to ride the bike at this year’s TT he has declined the offer and said: “Norton did dangle the carrot at me and yes, it would be nice but in all honesty I really enjoy being involved in the development side of things and feel I can do a decent job by giving feedback. For me and the rest of the guys in the team the priority is to develop the bike and get it into the position for the rider to stick it on the podium at the TT – but its not going to be me and my wife will verify that answer!”
Since the Cadwell test Norton Motorcycles has confirmed that Cameron Donald will contest the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, with the Australian ace lining up in the Dainese Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races for the British manufacturer. Cameron will start both races from the number 19 position, made famous by the late Steve Hislop who took Norton’s last TT victory in the 1992 Senior Race.