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TT 2021: On or off – decision at 12pm tomorrow

Residents of the Isle of Man plus thousands of road racing fans and the whole of the road racing are being held in suspense for the next 24 hours waiting for an announcement from the Manx Government - is TT 2021?

The rumour mill is turning flat out - will Chief Minister Howard Quayle and Minister for Enterprise Laurence Skelly, influenced by the prospect of a lockdown in the UK extending to Easter or beyond, take the easy way out and cancel?

Or, encouraged by the discovery of vaccines, will they buy time and postpone to later in the year, using the slot currently occupied by the Classic TT? Fortune favours the brave but the latter option is not without its problems which is why one or two informed people think they will simply write off 2021.


And the fact that an announcements about announcements aren’t generally used for good news.

The big statement will be made tomorrow (Monday) morning following weeks of debate and uncertainty. Like many governments the IoM Council of Ministers is not renowned for all their decisions being good ones although their tough approach to the pandemic, including sending people who don’t obey their rules, to jail seems to have worked.

But it would surely be madness not to hold some version of the TT next year. And it if it means that some sacrifices have to be made, ie by occupying the August/September slot held by the Classic TT and the Manx, then so be it.

The TT is the one great brand which the Isle of Man possesses and the impact on local business, already suffering hugely from the plague, would be huge. It brings in £40m or more to the economy.

Of course, local residents can put up with roads being closed to accommodate two weeks of practice and racing at one tome. But no more, an increasing number of ‘come-overs’ would rather not have the TT at all.

The Manx Grand Prix has powerful historic connections and is a valuable nursery to the TT. But the Classic could cope with another postponement and there remains a question anyway as to whether it has lived up to its promise with some of the more exotic machines struggling to make a lap.

So we could run the TT and the Manx but there would, of course, have to be fewer races and the attendance would be considerably lower. But with no clash with the BSB calendar it would allow riders like Peter Hickman to be there. But the Manx Government, and the now-nationalised Steam Packet company, have to be prepared to take a kick in the wallet just to get this show on the road. And via television, online and other media, tell the world this greatest brand in road racing still exists.

Road racing needs to the TT. Racing in Ireland is having troubled time with the demise of the Ulstet but at least the Northwest 200 is determined not to miss another year by postponing that great event to late summer. Not having the TT in June might present Scarborough with a great opportunity and there is, of course, the prospect of the Diamond Race in the Isle of Wight.

But two years without a TT is unthinkable.

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