The Manx Grand Prix is now done and the talking has begun on how the event went.
The shortened programme, as in 2022, will possibly be hailed as a success by the organisers.
But I feel not many others will not share their view.
Speaking to many race fans, I have heard not heard any say the 2023 format was an improvement.
The official line on shortening the programme is that visitors cannot afford to come to the island for a fortnight.
They will just come for a short break.
This might be so, but by putting all the race action on a long four-day weekend, it takes away fans’ free choice as when to come.
The original two-week programme gives choice and spreads out the spending of the spectators in the local economy.
Also two weeks, with a full race week will provide more opportunity to get races run to full distance as more time provides allowance for unpredictable weather.
This year the importance on getting the final day on the Monday race was massive, as although there was a contingency to race on the final day, this was not printed in the race programme.
However, I doubt there would be enough marshals to run a Tuesday race programme as the majority would be returning to the UK.
I rejoiced to see the two commentary points in place for the meeting, one at Glen Helen and the other at Ramsey Hairpin.
My rejoicing was short-lived as, unlike in past times where the commentators at these points set the scene of their unique locations and painted sound pictures of the action enfolding in front of them, what happened was a reading out of race positions and lap times.
Let’s face it. In the technical 21st century, with is pervasive mobile phone culture, many spectators, particularly the spectators of future races, can follow this information from the device welded to their left hands.
A lack of information in the official race programme did not help.
As well as the omission of the Tuesday road closing there was no mention of the presentation night at the Villa Marina, where the tradition of the race winners being ‘chaired’ and cheered to the stage could be enjoyed.
At the Villa Marina, perhaps a sign promoting this event, but no.
I feel it is hard to draw out many positives from the Manx Grand Prix in its present form. But I will try.
The Manx Radio commentary from the Grandstand with the well-informed pundits interviewing and giving their views was excellent.
Many more riders were featured, not just the top-tire riders, as with the TT, very inclusive and interesting.
TV coverage on ITV4 was good, if somewhat brief, with two-times TT winner Cameron Donald, who takes top marks in my book, for his interesting and passionate commentary.
At the risk of being controversial conspiracy theorist, I am of the opinion that the governing bodies’ intention is to get rid completely of the Manx Grand Prix, incorporating their favoured classes (ridden by established TT stars) into the TT programme.
Try as they might, Manx Grand Prix stalwarts and supporters will be unable to stop this happening.
The Manx Grand Prix may have a chance of survival if a U-turn can be done and the scheme I mentioned is abandoned.
If not, the even will face a process of slow strangulation.
King Edward Road
This letter was first published in the Manx Independent of September 7..
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