Cancelling this year’s Senior Manx Grand Prix race was a hard decision to take but an easy one to reach, according to clerk of the course Phil Taubman.
But a combination of failing light, availability of marshals and medics around the course and worsening weather conditions made the race impossible to run.
Mr Taubman said: ‘At the time the decision was made the conditions had closed in again it was unfit for racing. The forecast was that it was not going to improve. The rain we had was not forecast but the main problem was low mist.’
The decision was made around 3.30pm on the last day of racing after unpredictable weather conditions had already seen the morning’s Lightweight race red-flagged in thick fog then restarted in still less-than-perfect conditions over just two laps.
For the first time this year roads had to be opened between 5pm and 6pm to allow people to return home from work and this too had a significant effect on the practicality of running a delayed race.
‘Had we been able to keep the roads closed between 5pm and 6pm there is a chance we could have run the race between 4pm and 6pm. By 6.30pm it was raining again. As time goes on there are marshals and medics booked on to the boat to leave the island.’
The earliest the race could have started following the roads closing again at 6pm would have been 6.30pm but this would have meant the last riders finshing around 8pm even on a reduced three lap race. Failing light, dull weather conditions coupled with the gloom under overhanging trees in some sections of the course would have made racing dangerous, he said.
To run the races something in excess of 500 marshals are needed around the 37.73-mile course not to mention paramedics, doctors and other personnel. The chances of sufficient people being available diminish as visitors start to leave the island to return home.
‘It would be unfair to drag people out to marshal just to discover we had to cancel because there were simply not enough people around the course. We were informed that a large number of competitors as well as medics and marshals were booked on the boat for Friday night and Saturday morning so it seemed unreasonable to close the roads, call all the other marshals, medics and officials to duty only to discover we could not operate in safety.
‘It’s hard to lose the Senior race. It’s the first time in my five years as clerk of the course that it’s happened and, I believe, only the second time in the event’s 90-year history.’