My final roundup of the fom/mgp

Festival of Motorcycling?

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 machines?

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.

Mike Hammonds