...A TT (WORLD) SERIES BY 2017?
Last year a bunch of us discussed going to the 2015 TT. My partner who has the patience and tenacity to search out information and the best deals on the net, tried to locate self catering accommodation for us. Nothing was available. There were a few homestay options still around, and we could always camp, but...
I raise this in the context of how the TT revival of recent years, and from 2013, adding the Classic TT to the annual programme, has drawn tens of thousands to the Isle of Man; and they return year on year booking their boats and beds well in advance. Now the government through their Department of Economic Development is seeking to build on this popularity and success by exploring the possibility of a TT series to be run in different countries.
They've appointed The Sports Consultancy to identify a promoter, who would take over responsibility for organising the Isle of Man based races from 2017, and also identify a number of countries and road racing venues across the world to host a 'circus' of around 20/25 regular riders, plus a group of 10/15 'wild card' riders from the nation or region where the races are held.
The track stipulations will require a minimum distance of 6/8 miles, and the classes will consist of Superbike, Supersport and Superstock, with the promoter being able supplement the race programme with other classes: sidecars, zero (electric) bikes, and possibly classes that might be more relevant to the host nations' bike market. They will be required to retain what is unique about TT racing i.e. closed public roads, though they would be able to utilise circuit facilities such as pits, paddock, and grandstands if they are available.
A feasibility study has been conducted since 2011 through which riders, teams, officials, journalists, sponsors, and national federations have been consulted. In addition to the above organisational requirements the Expressions of Interest document also sets out a calendar season running from November to May, of which the Isle of Man TT will be the final event. It can only be concluded that given this period the series races will have to take place at southern hemisphere locations. Leaving the core riders group able to pursue other race interests across Europe and Ireland from June onwards.
The Expressions of Interest document goes out this month, and several interested promoters have come forward prior to the actual bidding process. Though The Sports Consultancy cannot name them, they did tell Wemoto News that thus far there is mix of those with an established relationship with the TT, general motorsport experience, and those with experience and interest in extreme sports.
As TT fans will know the whole infrastructure experience of the TT has been built up over decades including, experienced personnel, marshalling, roads maintenance and safety, medical facilities, and media facilities for a world wide audience of millions. The new promoter would need to demonstrate that these would be in place for the new series and the continuance of the TT. The pay off for them being the ability to exploit the commercial possibilities including: sponsorship, media and broadcasting, hospitality, branding, merchandising, ticketing, hosting fees. Could be lucrative.
This development has exciting potential for race fans across the world, and we won't have to wait long for it to happen. The successful promoter is expected to be announced in December of this year, and the first couple of test series events are timetabled in for the autumn of 2016, and from then on to a full programme of four series races in 2017, culminating with the 2018 TT.
Our thanks to Matt Wilson at The Sports Consultancy for talking to Wemoto News about these plans www.thesportsconsultancy.com
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