A new road race is set to come to the motorsport stage: the Diamond Races at the Isle of Wight in England.
The races will use a time trial format, like the Isle of Man TT, with a 12.4-mile road course winding through several towns and down the island’s coast.
But the real advantage of the Diamond Races is its location, as the Isle of Wight is located just southeast of Southampton, and sits just under three hours from London, making it an easy and approachable racing event for British and international fans.
With the first race planned in October 2021, the organizers of the Diamond Races say that they will release their event dates once the 2021 British Superbike calendar has been made public, as the Diamond Races plan on commencing one week after the British Superbike season wraps up at the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent.
Unsurprisingly, sanctioning will be carried out by the Auto Cycle Union (ACU); and for its inaugural running, the Diamond Races will feature superbike, supersport, and lightweight bikes, with future events to include electric motorcycles. There will also be a sidecar demonstration, though it’s not clear how this would be different from a normal race format.
For an event schedule, Wednesday and Thursday will serve as practice days, with all the racing to commence on Saturday, which should allow for some room in case weather comes to the Isle of Wight, and yet keeps the event short and approachable.
Organizers says that the 12.4-mile course will go through the towns of Chale, Kingston, Shorwell, and Brighstone, and also include a fast 5-mile coastal route along the military road (a stretch of the A3055 regional coast road on the southwest portion of the island).
Being close to several major metropolitan areas should certainly help bring a crowd, but it remains to be seen if the Isle of Wight can draw the same big name racers as events like the Isle of Man TT and North West 200 do with regularity. Reportedly, James Hillier has already signed on for the race.
Diamond Races is already boasting some big names involved with organizing the event, such as Gary Thompson MBE (Isle of Man TT Clerk of the Course), Steve Plater (past Isle of Man TT Senior winner and ex British Champion), Neil Tuxworth (ex-Honda Racing Manager), as well as James Kaye (ex- British Touring Car Championship driver and Diamond Races co-founder) and Matt Neal (three-time British Touring Car Champion and Honda UK ambassador).
“As an Isle of Wight local resident, I am very excited to welcome motorsport fans from across the globe to this beautiful island, for what is sure to be an unforgettable weekend of racing action and entertainment for the whole family,” said Paul Sandford, CEO and Co-Founder of the Diamond Races.
“The Diamond Races is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication and planning by the whole team, and we’re very lucky to have the best of the best involved with its setup.”
“No stone is being left unturned in striving to deliver a spectacular event which we have every reason to believe will be a regular back-stop to the island’s tourist season and put the Isle of Wight on the international motorcycle road racing map.”
With this the first road racing event to happen on public English roads, it will be interesting to see what the community reaction to the Diamond Races will be, and how the Isle of Wight works as a venue.