You are here
Home > Other news >

Slimmed Down Manx GP Criticised

The Manx Grand Prix is facing a barrage of criticism from race goers and local businesses alike, thanks to its shorter nine-day format for this year, down from the usual 14 days. Roger Willis, writing in British Dealer News, reported that the slimmed-down format meant most days were taken up by practice and qualifying, with race time further limited by bad weather and red flag incidents – only two and half days were allocated to actual racing.

Weather issues saw Friday’s Lightweight event postponed until the end of a revised Saturday schedule, reduced from three laps to two as poor visibility hampered racing. The Classic Senior also lost a lap. There was no racing on Sunday and more bad weather meant events on the final Monday didn’t start until late afternoon.

“Overall,” wrote Roger Willis, “the mood among both visiting fans and local businesses reliant on them for turnover was a disappointment. Campsites around the course had been noticeably thin on customers and popular trackside spectator locations often had empty hedgerows.” Andy Saunders, Chairman of the Isle of Man Licenced Victuallers Association, confirmed that IOM businesses weren’t happy with the slimmed-down MGP. “I’ve not met anybody that doesn’t want a return to the two-week format,” Saunders told an Isle of Man Courier reporter. “I’ve heard nobody speak positively from any angle, not riders, race officials, visitors or locals.”

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, had sympathy for the MGP organisers, but thought a full 14-day event would give more flexibility to cope with the Island’s unpredictable weather: “ Ah, the weather, the perennial Achilles heel of racing in the Island. It was the weather that stopped me going to the Island over 30 years ago, that and the Manx Steam Racket company’s boats. Isn’t that one of the reasons that everybody started going to the Bol D’or? My understanding is these days the Island depends even more heavily on the sporting calendar for its tourism income, the days when the average Brit holiday maker wanted to go somewhere that required thermals are long gone. I’d have thought that extending the Manx from 14 days, rather than reducing it, might be a better idea.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Peter Laidlaw