THE MINISTER REPLIES

David Cretney, Minister of Tourism and Leisure answers our questions… 

1 What was your overall opinion of TT 2005 – the highs and the lows? 

I would certainly mention the performances of the newcomers as a high… Plus there were four different winners in the solo classes and two in the sidecar. All four Japanese 
manufactures won a race in the solo classes and there were a total of nine different riders on the podium through the week in the solo classes including three first timers. The races themselves were 
the closest for years if not decades throughout the pack. There were a number of areas which require more work! Look out in 2006 for further improvements. 

2 There was a lot of comment regarding the similarity of the solo classes, clearly there aren’t the machines or quality of rider to sustain a 125 / 250cc race. Are there any other solo classes [that are raced abroad, perhaps] that you would consider for the TT? 

I can’t think of any. We need to run the classes that the manufacturers are building bikes for. We also need to run classes that will attract and suit the riders who want to ride at the TT. The class structure is just about right and is well received by the competitors and the majority of fans. Obviously some would like more variety, but we don’t want to run other classes unless we can guarantee the level of quality in the field. 

3 What was the manufacturer’s opinion of this years TT? Were they happy with the format? What are the prospects of further involvement on their part next year? 

All very happy and I am pretty sure that all four Japanese manufactures will send an official team again next year with Honda likely to increase their involvement. 

4 The TT still clashes with major UK meetings – will the MMCC be negotiating with UK organisers / ACU in an attempt to avoid such clashes in future years? 

We are talking to Stuart Higgs at the MCRCB and Neil Tuxworth has been very helpful in negotiations. We are now in a situation where Mr Higgs realises that the date clash doesn’t help anyone, and despite not being a TT fan as such, we are confident that he will work with us going into the future. 

5 Paul Phillips and Milky Quayle did a terrific job, the quality of the newcomers being excellent. Will we see all of them return next year? What feedback did you get from them? 

A very positive development to take us into the future with great feedback from the newcomers. Look out for more in 2006. 

6 Due to the vagaries of the Manx weather, practice was reduced to just three timed sessions. Will you reconsider the morning practice option and or extend the evening sessions by half an hour to give the riders the extra time? 

We will continue to keep all realistic options under consideration. One important factor is the marshalling cover required. Please let UK marshals know they would be very welcome to join the Isle of Man team at the TT, Southern and Manx. Contact Roger Hurst on 07624 492040. 

7 The solo practice held on the Monday of Race Week was very poorly attended (only 6 machines), should this session be for sidecars only? 

The structure of the event is being looked at right now and will be tweaked where necessary. People might notice that the organisers haven’t released the programme as early this year so that we can gauge opinion of what people want. 

8 National press coverage for the TT was limited to only one national sports journalist, David Fern, and to two news articles in the Guardian and the Independent. Is it not time to sell the TT to the sports editors by inviting them over to the Island during the winter for a presentation / press launch [presuming it is to be held again], and then back in June for the event itself? Goodwood receives vast coverage for its Revival Meeting and its Festival of Speed Meeting; are there not lessons we can learn from this? The TT is a much superior product to these two meetings but receives vastly inferior coverage. 

We have recognised more work is required in this area and certainly will be improved next year. We are working with a number of partners towards this end. 

9 The Island and the TT received some negative coverage regarding the tragic events of the meeting. What lessons have been learnt and what changes will we see next year? 

The TTMA are working very hard and my Department is about to get much more involved with them to help them with funding, training and publicity. We are also looking at ways to improve circuit 
safety which is as always of paramount importance. 

10 Conversely the BBC showed highlights this year, what was their feedback? Will they be involved again in 2006? 

Very positive feedback. Audience figures were record breaking and yes, we are confident they will be involved again. 

11 How did the attendance of spectators differ from previous years? There were noticeably less Germans and Swiss this year, what steps are you taking to rekindle the interest of continentals? 

The German economy continues to be of concern. Top riders from Germany will encourage the fans and we will continue to publicise our events. 

12 Douglas still lacks ambience eg flags / bunting, are there any plans to dress it up in the future? 

The promenade area in front of Bushys looked much better thanks to our partners in Dukes. We note your comments and will seek improvements. 

13 Was the relocating of the camping site from Nobles Park to the area between Quarter Bridge and Braddan Bridge a success? Did stall holders / food outlets at the Grandstand suffer as a result? 

A great success not only for the event but also for Douglas Rugby Club. I had no negative 
feedback. 

14 Less than two years now to the Centenary – what arrangements are being considered to celebrate this event? 

A lot of officer work has gone into 2007. I now chair the organisation of 2007 arrangements and it will be magic! We need to obtain extra bed spaces, a lot of hotels are already fully booked so make 
sure you get on with your booking! Any ideas for 2007 would, as always, be welcomed by me. 

We thank David for his assistance and wish him and his team well as they prepare for TT 2006 and beyond

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