PROPOSALS to change the format of the 2013 Manx Grand Prix have met with fierce opposition from some quarters, including the event organisers the Manx Motorcycle Club, and approval from others.
The format suggested by the government’s Department of Economic Development puts the emphasis firmly on classics and drastically reduces the modern bikes’ race programme, with the intention of creating a premier classic festival.
Officials at the MMCC did not agree with the proposals and far from boosting visitor numbers to the event thought the reduced time would detract from it, with the loss of the Two-Day Trial, for example.
I visited the TT Grandstand on Thursday afternoon to ask TT visitors if they were aware of the proposals for the Manx Grand Prix and, if so, what their views were.
Mike and Rachel Littler, from Frodsham in Cheshire, said they visited the TT regularly but had brought their children to the Manx Grand Prix because it was quieter and they loved the greater diversity of the event,’ said Mike.
‘If it is all just classics you lose that. It might just put me off.
‘It would take away the stepping stone for the Newcomers to the TT. We came for five days last year and it’s not as crowded as the TT so you can pick your time.’
Paul Woodlock, from County Meath, Ireland, said he favoured a shorter event based around a weekend.
‘I appreciate it can be a starting point for up and coming riders but a lot never progress beyond the Manx anyway.
‘I don’t think it could survive as it was.
‘Fewer races is a good thing and I don’t think a shortened event would be more vulnerable to bad weather. It has the potential to become more of a world class event. But I do agree the views of the Manx Motor Cycle Club do need to be considered.’
John Lamb, from Northwich in Cheshire, has been visiting the TT for 29 years and the Manx for 14.
‘I think the proposals for the Manx are borne out of greed by the government,’ he said.
‘Changes to the racing format would be a disaster and I think increasing the numbers would spoil it.
‘If I had to do only one event, I would do the Manx Grand Prix. Marketing it as a classic TT won’t work. With the TT there are no pure race bikes any more, they are just glorified road bikes.’
Mike Phillips, from London, said when the TT was in decline years ago everyone said it was the Manx that would survive.
‘I’m not sure people come to the Manx just to see classics,’ he said. ‘They want to see a blend of things. Making it a weekend sends out the wrong message.’
Rab Davie, from Strathmiglo, Fife, an MGP competitor, said: ‘This will be my last Manx if they go through with the changes. It’s crazy. The measures they proposed are too extreme.
‘Reducing the length of it means people will spend less on their accommodation.’
TT and Manx Grand Prix competitor Davy Morgan, from Saintfield in Northern Ireland, said: ‘It will be the ruination of the event. The proposals are questionable.
‘Scarborough tried a totally classic festival and it didn’t work. It went down from a week to two days and they had to reintroduce the modern bikes.
‘People come to watch racing not to watch people riding round waving. Hopefully at some point someone will see sense. You can’t compete with Goodwood which has the population of London nearby. People have to travel here.’
As well as being a reporter for Isle of Man Newspapers, John Turner competes in the Manx Grand Prix.