Robin miller |
TT and roads
Anstey was on fire tonight
As team owners and riders absorbed the most detailed and revolutionary set of proposals that will transform the TT as we know it now, these are other ideas on display in the Isle of Man examiner which caused waves of controversy under the title “Manx Grand Prix and Classic TT to be shortened to nine days?”
The TT’s proposals, titled “Safety Management System” (SMS), are largely aimed at reducing the risk of racing around the 37.73 mile mountain circuit, but also at converting what fans think is the the world’s biggest race into a truly global live streaming event. with pay TV revenues.
This is the brainchild of race boss Paul Phillips and a small but dedicated team, aided by Manxman and former Tornado driver Nigel Crennell and fellow Manxman doctor Gareth Davies, fresh out of London management Air Ambulance Service to save lives by helicopter.
But sustaining the TT, which also means giving it greater exposure and entertainment value to audiences outside the UK, is not free. And while the TT is the biggest tourist draw and a huge source of income, that hasn’t happened in the past couple of years. And, added to the government involved in long-term construction projects, costing several million, means the belts need to be tightened elsewhere.
Hence a review of the Manx GP and the Classic TT, one of great sentimental value having been raced for the first time in 1923, and the other on which great hopes were placed but never quite delivered. Installation costs are not far from the TT, but the money brought to the island is much less.
The last two years of inactivity has given the OM government’s Enterprise Department time to focus on the TT and the Manx Motor Cycle Club committee to hope for the best for their beloved Manx GP, but fear the worst. Many knew that change was inevitable with too many races and too many riders and some blaming the introduction of the Classic.
Some have accepted that the Manx does not have the draw of sixty years ago, a change is needed and a solution had to be found with the Isle of Government, which is funding the event, committing to it ‘there are races in August.
No details have yet been announced although it is understood that decisions have been made and that it will not be spread over two weeks. The first suggested training date is Sunday August 21 and races are limited to the following weekend with the conclusion on the Bank Holiday Monday on Monday August 29, with the Senior Manx GP, limited to 600cc, and a Classic TT Superbike.
There will be no designated race for newcomers. although a number will be accepted in other races, and like the regulations covering TT, there will be fewer riders per race. The hours are tight and we have to hope that we have taken into account the enemy of always: the weather!
The proposals for the TT, covered earlier in the week, focus heavily on safety – far from the slogan “the throttle works both ways, putting all the blame on the rider – and since more recent times the pleasure to be recognized as an “extreme” sport. But it is clear that better control of the signaling system and communication with well-trained marshals as well as helicopters and participants capable of treating injured riders on the spot must be applauded.
Better safe than sorry but it is interesting to note that no mention of insurance is made in the big plan and it should be a necessary item, especially in road racing, requiring a minimum level of coverage to protect runners and secure their families without having to battle with insurance companies or lawyers. It’s amazing how much help this wonderful charity – The TT Riders Association – provides to runners and their families who have suffered from insufficient coverage.
ACU Events, an offshoot of ACU, is given more responsibility as a race organizer with a primary focus of track safety and has also taken over this role, on government instruction, for Southern 100 races onwards. from 2023.
Coping with the speed of change is absolutely essential not only for success but also for survival. But this is not always welcome, which is why clarity of communication is essential on issues of:
1) What do we do?
2) Why are we doing it?
3) And the most difficultâ¦ How do you do it?
But a good start has been made.