Harvey Garton, President of the Manx Motorcycle Club (MMC), has
stated that an annual one year contract to run the Manx Grand Prix
is stifling the development of the event. The club
wish to develop relations with potential sponsors but cannot do this
with offering a longer term commitment. The MMC would, ideally like
a ten year contract but at worst a five year contract so that they
can develop the necessary relationships. The MGP Junior race was
sponsored by Mylchreests and the Lightweight / Ultra Lightweight by
the MGP Supporters Club, no sponsors for the Newcomers or Senior
race and no overall event sponsor.
Laurence Skelly, minister for the DfE, does not think that the MGP
has been marginalised within the Festival of Motorcycling; who is he
trying to kid? The Festival of Motorcycling is at best a four day
event, Friday through to Bank Holiday Monday, incorporating the
vintage festival at Jurby. If the MGP is not being marginalised why
did all the razzamatazz around the grandstand disappear on Tuesday?
Radio Classic TT reverted to Manx Radio, however this did mean that
the dull panel shows, Attention Paddock and Pac Ferme, were replaced
with the more spontaneous and interesting Chris Kinley chat shows.
The DfE are trying to compete with Goodwood's Festival of Speed and
Revival meetings, the former is predominantly car based and more of
a social event and the Revival meeting is on the Goodwood track.
Neither of these events have the history or the iconic Mountain
Course, they do not compare. The TT, MGP and Festival of Speed are
race meetings with a social side where I would say Goodwood is
social event with a hill climb and classic track races.
The Classic TT was supposed to be a throwback to yesteryear,
developing the Classic MGP, they have already moved away from the
original ideals. The retro race guide / programme has gone to a
modern style guide and programme, why?
The Classic TT parade was shambolic to say the least, the race
number on the machines bore little reference to the programme, the
starting number was a small disc situated over the race number, or
on the screen, mud guard, fairing, either way ineligible to the
spectators. As it was they did not come round in anything like
numerical order making it virtually impossible for spectators to
identify riders and machines. Sadly there were a number of
accidents, one being serious; is the parade a money making exercise
given it is £300 to enter or a genuine parade of ex riders and
The Classic races were entertaining and emotional, especially with
Bruce Anstey winning the Lightweight. They weren't without drama
especially with Michael Dunlop retiring from the Superbike race,
whilst comfortably leading, with only a couple of miles to go. This
just emphasises the point it is about the races and the riders and
not trying to keep up with the Jones's (Goodwood). I think more
worrying for the organisers was the depth of the field in the Senior
and Lightweight races and subsequently the number of finishers.
By not investing in the MGP the DfE are in danger of stunting the
supply line to the TT, they would be foolish to put all there eggs
in the BSB riders basket. The TT needs strength and depth in each
race, grids of 35 will ruin the spectacle. The importance of the MGP
and the development of young up and coming riders can be no better
show cased than by this years MGP. Double race wins for James Hind
(19 yrs) and Nathan Harrison (21yrs), podiums for Stephen Parsons
(25yrs), Brad Vicars (22yrs). The development of continental stars
such as Pierre -Yves Bian (27 yrs) and Andrea Majola (29yrs) will
all benefit the TT.
So to Mr Skelley and the DfE, take your heads out of the sand and
realise that the future of the TT is intertwined with the
development of the MGP. Give the MMC a longer term contract and
support its development.
It would be remiss of me not to recognise the tremendous job Gary
Thompson (Clerk of the Course) and his team do, he is a far cry from
some of his predecessors. The marshals function on Tuesday 27th was
well attended, although disappointingly none of the long service
award recipients attended. Hosted by Charlie Williams and by riders
past and present a good night was had by all, Dominic Herbertson
being particularly entertaining. It was a pity the sound system in
the VIP marquee was muffled, distorting the sound. The meal was good
but a single drinks voucher is miserly and hardly appreciates the
time and effort the marshals put in, particularly given the trying
circumstances of the TT and the MGP this year. Recruitment of new
marshals along with the retention of existing marshals is key to the
future of both the TT and MGP races, the organisers now need to find
a way of showing their appreciation to all marshals not just those
who attend the marshals do.