An extra sailing has been scheduled for the new Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling this summer, with motorcycle bookings at this point up 25 per cent on last year’s forward bookings position for the MGP.
The festival, which encompasses the new Classic TT, the MGP, the Two-Day and Classic Trials and the VMCC Rally, takes place from August 17 until September 1.
To help cater for the increased demand, the Steam Packet will now operate an extra overnight Manannan sailing from Liverpool, departing at 3am on Saturday, August 24, to suit the start of the new Classic TT.
Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Bookings at this stage indicate that the increasing popularity of the MGP we have witnessed in recent years is set to continue. The number of visiting motorcycles climbed 13 per cent in 2011 and a further 9 per cent last year.
‘Now, with the rebranding to the Festival of Motorcycling by the Department of Economic Development, the number of motorbikes booked at this stage for 2013 is up by 25 per cent, while demand for cars and vans is up 50 per cent on the same point in 2012.
‘Some of our of peak day inbound sailings are already full.’
Trevor Hussey, director of motorsport at the Department of Economic Development, said: ‘We introduced the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling concept, and the Classic TT event, to increase the number of visitors to the Isle of Man this year and the early indications are that, even in its first year, this will result in a significant increase in the number of visitors to the Isle of Man and a positive contribution to the local economy.
‘The motorsport team is working hard on all aspects of the new Festival of Motorcycling to establish the event in the racing calendar and ensure the event’s long-term future.’