The 2021 Isle of Man TT races have been cancelled. The decision comes following an announcement made by Manx Govt today and means that for the second year running there’ll be no TT races on the Island. The next TT Races will now take place in 2022, from Saturday 28th May to Saturday 11th June.
Laurence Skelly, MHK, Minister, Department for Enterprise, Isle of Man Government, said:
‘We do not underestimate the disappointment that this decision will cause to many people. However, we are making an early and logical decision to provide certainty and clarity to race fans and everyone else involved in our event. The TT relies on thousands of volunteers and officials across a wide range of organisations and we could not move responsibly towards operating to that date and commit to welcoming tens of thousands of people to the Island in June, despite the progress towards a vaccination programme globally and on the Island.’
‘We evaluated all possible options including moving the TT to a date later in the year but there are complexities and risks, including scaling up of certain infrastructure and critical delivery elements of the TT, as well as existing resident and visitor travel in late August, which would cause further disruption to thousands of people.’
‘We remain hopeful that the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix can take place later in the year and we look forward to welcoming visitors to our Island again.’
What is the Covid picture on the Isle of Man?
Manx Govt imposed a travel ban at 06:00hrs on the 27th March. Since then only key workers and residents returning to the island who have been off it for compassionate reasons have been allowed through the borders. The Manx Govt website states that residents may leave if they wish, but they may not meet the eligibility criteria to re enter.
The legal requirement for social distancing for businesses was removed on the 15th June.
To date, there have been zero admissions to hospital on the Isle of Man for COVID-19. There has been 18,268 COVID-19 tests, of which 369 have returned a positive result. Of those 369 confirmed cases, there have been 25 deaths, 18 of which have been in the community and seven have been deaths in hospital.
What does it mean to big name racers?
Speaking of the decision, Smiths Racing Peter Hickman (Lincolnshire’s nicest man) felt a little bit cheated of the chance to repeat his 2019 dominance: “I’m hugely disappointed, Obviously the TT has become a massive part of my year and my career, so to have it taken away two years in a row is a huge blow. I understand the reasons of course but with all the positive news about vaccines at the moment, I can’t help but feel they’ve jumped the gun a little. I can’t help but wonder that with no TT, what do teams do? Do they spend all that money building bikes for just a couple of events? The impact is substantial when the ‘main event’ doesn’t happen”.
John McGuinness said of the decision: “I just feel numb, I imagine this is what it feels like getting divorced from someone you love and don’t want to leave. I’m finding it more and more difficult to get my head around COVID and how it’s impacting everyone. Some people have had the best time ever this year, sat at home with their feet up getting paid to watch the telly. Meanwhile in our little industry, we’ve had one kick in the goolies after the other. One thing I do know is that there’s no danger at all of this forcing me to retire from road racing. I’ve had 99 starts at the TT and I’m happy to wait for my 100th. Mike Hailwood waited eleven years before he made his big comeback, I’m happy to wait my turn. For now, I’ll bury my head in the sand when it comes to the TT. I can focus on riding the Ducati that I’ve had fun racing on the short circuits this year. Hopefully there’ll be a Goodwood race to look at and there’s still a decision on the Manx Classic to come for later in 2021. The danger with the Isle of Man is that it starts to slip off people’s radar and then people on the Island maybe start to think they can I’ve without it. It’s such a huge part of life for more than just us racers.”
What does it mean for local businesses that benefit from the Isle of Man TT races?
We’re big fans of the Betty Pie Company. Based in what used to be Murray’s Motor Museum at the Bungalow up on the mountain. Owner Vicky Quirk has put everything into building a business using products sourced on the Isle of Man, in order to provide race fans with somewhere to go and eat good food. For the second year running, no TT will have a massive impact on the business. “I’ve put so much energy into getting the business up and running, from a pop up caravan in the paddock to taking a lease on this building which should be in the perfect location for tourism. Who knows what the next 12 months is going to look like for us, we hope people will bear with us and continue to support us in this huge mission”.
What happens to ferry crossings?
We called the Steam Packet Ferry Company and asked them, the nice man on the phone said that as per 2020 you get the choice if you’ve already made a booking. You’ll have the option to carry over your booking to 2022, take a refund or leave it and see what happens. Remember this is the second year on the bounce that they’ve had to deal with this and the systems they have in place should be fairly fluid. They also said that an email would go out to everyone that has made a booking, giving details of what to do next.
Paul Phillips, TT Business Development Manager, Isle of Man Government Department for Enterprise added:
‘Everyone involved with the TT is of course disappointed that the event has been cancelled in 2021, but it’s a decision that has been made as early as possible so that everyone who is impacted can plan accordingly. I am sorry for all the fans, riders, teams and volunteers who will miss another year on the Island, but we as a team will be working hard to make sure that we come back with an even better event in 2022. We are very grateful for the continued support and loyalty shown by all our partners, as well as the event’s fans worldwide, which is a testament to the passion that people have for the event.’
Follow @IOMGovernment on Twitter for more updates.