The Isle of Man TT has just confirmed that it has launched a feasibility study into whether TT-branded events could be held around the world, as a part of a larger TT Championship racing series. The study is to start soon, as the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development is considering whether taking the IOMTT global could help the event, with plans to implement the idea possibly occurring as early as 2014, should the study show favorable interest.
The Isle of Man TT lost its World Championship status in the 1976, when the FIM stopped sanctioning the event because of safety concerns, and an exodus of prominent riders. Despite that setback, the historic race just celebrated its 100th racing year anniversary (racing was interrupted during World War II), and has been at the forefront of pushing motorcycle advancement since its first race in 1907. The 99th running of the IOMTT was also the first sanctioned electric motorcycle race ever, another hat-tip to the series’ forward-thinking direction and prestige. Thanks for the tip Frank!
In theory the TT Championship would take the Isle of Man TT format, and bring it to new venues around the world, thus differentiating itself from other road racing series that take place on closed racing circuits. No details have been released yet on the IOMTT’s exact plan, but they are reaching out to venues and partners for collaboration, and this latest press release seems to be more of solicitation for partners in the series.
In implementation, the series presumably would have a mix of regular traveling riders (the Isle of Man TT has an obvious interest in promoting its mostly-Manx ridership), as well as local racers, who would take to the streets in a Manx-style gala, not too dissimilar from events we’ve seen Red Bull and others run here in the United States and abroad (Red Bull Air Race/Flugtag anyone?). However the biggest hurdle for the TT Championship would of course be the safety concerns that racing on public roads brings, but if that could be overcome, we think there could be a winning formula to this plan from the Isle of Man.
In a statement released to the press, the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development said the following:
“The move is part of the plans to develop the TT brand internationally and promote the Isle of Man.”
“The TT Races, which have been held on the Isle of Man since 1907, is a significant contributor to the positive national identity of the Isle of Man internationally and it is also the Island’s most recognised brand.”
“The Department funds the TT Races to drive economic development on the Isle of Man to generate tourism and commercial income and to provide a sports-based platform for Isle of Man-based companies to make business contacts, as well as profiling the benefits of businesses incorporating on the Isle of Man.”
“The intention is to build a platform that will increase the return on investment for the Isle of Man Government in the TT Races brand through sponsorship, television, licensing and hospitality, generate revenue-earning opportunities for the competitors and teams who take part, and to provide economic and commercial benefits for the destinations and other commercial partners who host rounds.”
Source: Isle of Man TT