Is the Festival of Motorcycling rebranding a success?

Riders gather at the TT Grandstand during practice week

Riders gather at the TT Grandstand during practice week

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Have your say

The Manx Grand Prix is 90 years old this year and has survived as a standalone event since 1923.

However, from this year, it is being held under the umbrella title of the Festival of Motorcycling alongside the newly-introduced Classic TT, the Manx Two-Day and Classic Trials and a variety of other attractions.

Reporter Alan Vincent took a trip to the TT Grandstand to ask fans what they thought about the changes.

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Shaun Grogan, from Flint, North Wales

‘I’ve got mixed views really. I’m a traditionalist and I think it should have maybe been kept as the Manx Grand Prix, but people are just trying to improve the numbers and you’ve got to progress.

‘There are amateur lads racing against the likes of John McGuinness and the Dunlops, and of course they can’t hope to be anywhere near their times because they’re all on better bikes.

‘As long as the replica times and qualifying times are not affected, because these lads are spending such a lot of money coming over here, and if they don’t get a qualifying time because of some of the quicker lads it’s a bit unfair.

‘I know that’s not the case at the moment, but time will tell whether it’s the right move.

‘They’ve also separated the Manx Grand Prix lads, and they sign on in different places, and I think some of them have been made to feel inferior because of this complete segregation. I don’t think that’s such a good idea.’

Graham Pearce, from Huddersfield

‘I think it’s wrong really. It’s the Manx Grand Prix, always has been the Manx Grand Prix, and it was basically for novices, but now they’re letting the professional riders in. The idea was that you cut your teeth in the Manx Grand Prix and then went into the TT, so I think they should go back to the old ways.’

Lawrence Parris, from London, and winner of the 1984 Classic Junior race

‘I would prefer it to remain as the Manx Grand Prix because it’s been that for 90 years. I’ve actually competed in 13 Manx Grand Prix’s and first came over as a child to watch the races.

‘I think it’s the Manx Grand Prix which is a festival of racing really, but I don’t really like the idea of a name change personally.

‘When the top riders say this is just a bit of fun I don’t believe a word of it. I’m not so keen on people riding who are stars and they’re just going to do a lap here. If they’ve got no history in the Isle of Man I’m not in favour of that. I like the riders to have at least competed.’

Greg Warren, from Farnborough, Hampshire

‘It’s going to attract a wider selection of people I suppose. Like anything these days, we’ve got to think of the future. There’s so many events kicking around. The motorcycle clubs just don’t seem to want to come up with things for the youngsters.’

Liz Moggridge, from Banbury, Oxfordshire

‘I think everybody that usually comes will call it the Manx Grand Prix. It’s nice to have the name change, and I think it should attract more people, but for the regulars it’s still the Manx. I think it’s good the top riders being in it if it attracts extra people.’

Ron Brew, from Onchan

‘It’s still the same anyway really. It’s just a lot better set out these days.’

Lawrence Hayes, from Finchampstead, Wokingham

‘I’m still going to call it the Manx. It’s traditionally the Manx. I think the classic side of it is brilliant, I thoroughly enjoyed that.

‘I think if there was a structure of prizes too, for newcomers and true amateurs, it might be better.

‘This is the first time I’ve been for several years. I came here this year because of the classic emphasis and to help marshal.’

Caroline and Rodney Brown, from Northern Ireland

‘We’ve been coming to it for years so we’ll always know it as the Manx Grand Prix. Festival of Motorcycling is an awful long-winded way of talking about it.

‘I think the changes that they’ve made have done wonders for it, the amount of people that are here and want to come and see it. I think the bigger riders bring more people to it, they have to really, to bring more publicity.

‘We used to come every year until the Steam Packet upped the prices. We came for eight years on the trot, we came in 2000 to do a lap of honour for Joey and got absolutely hooked on the Manx Grand Prix. It’s so much quieter – you can go out and ride your bike, you can go into a bar and get a steak easy.

‘We would always come for the TT too but in 2008 or 2009 the Steam Packet increased the prices and we stopped.

‘We’ve come back for the rebranding and we’re delighted we’re here.’

Robert and Lisa Turner, from Tamworth, Staffordshire

It gives it more of an appeal for maybe people who wouldn’t normally come over just for the bike racing. A festival means a gathering of different things.

‘I like the idea of having the older bikes at the beginning as part of the MGP, that’s very good.

‘We come about three times a year to the Isle of Man. We prefer the Southern, but obviously we like what was the Manx, it’s our annual pilgrimage and the TT of course.

‘I’ve been coming over since I was a child with my parents, and every year virtually since.’ said Lisa.

‘Our daughter who is now 20, first came when she was two months old, and it’s the first time she hasn’t come this year because of university.’

John Skelson, from Belper, Derbyshire

‘It’s probably good in some respects, but in other respects, for a competitor, to say you’re going to do the Manx Grand Prix probably sounds better, rather than, I’m going to go and do the Festival of Motorcycling.

‘So I think the Manx Grand Prix should be the Manx Grand Prix. This is my second year here, last year I was spannering for a friend who was riding and this year I’m doing the same, as well as refuelling and marshalling too.

‘It’s kind of a learning curve for me, with a view to taking part in the races next year.’

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