The Manx Motorcycle Club has defended the nine-day Manx Grand Prix schedule after the new-look format was criticised online.

For the past two years the MGP has had a shortened schedule of nine days, down from the original 14.

Given the numerous delays and contingencies used this year caused by poor weather, the organisers of the event have received a negative backlash on social media.

When announcing that the shorter format was remaining for the centenary event this year, organisers said the decision was due to visitor travel patterns and work commitments for island residents, as well as shortages across the whole spectrum of volunteers, race officials, medics and marshals.

Last week the Isle of Man Courier reported that the Licensed Victuallers Association, a group for publicans, said the shortened schedule affected the hospitality businesses this year and chairman Andy Saunders emphasised that riders, visitors and locals ‘all don’t like the nine-day format’.

However vice-chairman of the Manx Motorcycle Club, Jim Hunter, has defended the schedule and believes the priority is ensuring the long-term future of the event.

Mr Hunter is also a travelling marshal, and a former MGP and TT rider, and added that he thought the centenary event was a success.

He said: ‘For me, and the Manx Motorcycle Club, the Manx Grand Prix is all about the racing and the riders, and I thought the races were absolutely outstanding.’

‘There are a few people out there that are being negative about things, but my issue with that is they’re only seeing it from the racing point of view, they’re not considering the bigger picture.

‘The fact that for the races to happen in the first place it relies on all the good will of the local residents and they’re not thinking about the impact on local business.

‘We’ve got to try and see the bigger picture.

‘From a race side, I’d have a two week event, but the best bet in terms of giving the Manx Grand Prix a long-term future is we’ve got to think about how it fits in with the local residents, with businesses and the inconvenience the racing gives to people.

‘When I was riding, 30 to 40 years ago, it was a very different event, and people think wouldn’t it be absolutely amazing to go back to those days, and whilst it would be wonderful, the road racing world is changing so much.

‘Look across to Northern Ireland and the Ulster Grand Prix, a much bigger event than MGP, and it is consigned to the history books.

‘The Skerries road race in Ireland, it’s unthinkable that it wouldn’t be happening, and that’s also gone.

‘Road racing in Northern Ireland is under huge threat, and that’s a warning sign for us, we have to adapt, and unfortunately, and with heavy hearts and reluctance, we’ve got to do what gives the Manx Grand Prix the best chance of a long-term future.’