Action group ‘to save Manx Grand Prix’

HANDS OFF: Campaigners pledge their support for the Manx Grand Prix. Left to right, Stephen Beale, Ali Foster, John McBride, Dave Sells and Barry Wood. PHOTO: Mike Wade  MW120529 (167).

HANDS OFF: Campaigners pledge their support for the Manx Grand Prix. Left to right, Stephen Beale, Ali Foster, John McBride, Dave Sells and Barry Wood. PHOTO: Mike Wade MW120529 (167).

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A NEWSPAPER advertisement, a protest group, a song and a batch of teeshirts are the latest developments in the campaign against proposed changes to the Manx Grand Prix.

Supporters were so incensed by the plans they have formed the Manx Grand Prix Action Group to draw attention to the plans for the races which celebrate their 90th anniversary next year.

The proposals revealed by Department of Economic Development earlier in May were to cut the modern races by half, reduce the duration of the event so it ended on the August Bank Holiday Monday, and focus principally on the classic classes. Event organisers the Manx Motor Cycle Club opposed the plans which it said had been put together without its approval and without consideration of its own proposal.

Former travelling marshal and current chairman of the MGP Riders’ Association John McBride is spokesman for the action group.

An online petition started by him has now reached over 4,500 signatures with at least another 1,000 on paper.

He said: ‘I am seriously concerned that our government is prepared to play games with our heritage and almost ninety years of our history, slashing classes and removing the MGP’s reason for existence.

‘We dispute their findings on many levels. Their figures, by their own admission, are based on estimates and assumptions, cherry picking attendance figures from one year and the costs of another. Mainly a poor year’s attendance, 2009, and costs of 2011, when the government had apparently spent more ‘marketing’ the MGP than the TT.’

An advert, funded by members of the action group and appearing in today’s Manx Independent (see page 5) says the government proposals, if implemented would lead to the loss of visitors and a reduction of the estimated £5.9m which the event contributes to the economy as a whole.

The protest song is already accessible on YouTube and can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0BASj6XGtc. Performed by Ali Foster a member of the campaign group, it is a direct appeal to DED Minister John Shimmin and a Facebook page, Fans Against The Proposed Changes to the Manx Grand Prix has over 1,625 members.

Campaign T-shirts were on sale during the pre TT classic races at Billown at the weekend and they are also on sale at Bill Snelling’s photograph exhibition in Laxey Wollen Mills.

The action group is not connected with the Manx Motor Cycle Club.

A joint statement from DED and the MMCC on May 17 said the two would continue to work together and issue further joint press releases charting the progress of discussions. No further releases have been issued since.

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