30th April 2012
Department of Economic Development announces new proposals for Manx Grand Prix Festival
Following a four-month research and consultation process that included focus groups and on-line surveys, The Isle of Man Government Department of Economic Development has launched proposals for a revised Manx Grand Prix Festival, which could come into effect from 2013. The 2012 Manx Grand Prix Festival will remain unchanged as published.
The new Festival proposals are designed to capitalise on the growing popularity of motorcycling nostalgia and would leverage the strength of the TT brand that is owned by the Isle of Man Government.
A shortened 10-day event, which would climax on the August Bank Holiday weekend, is designed to capitalise on the short-break motorsports market, minimise commitment and cost from the competitors, officials and marshals’ point of view and reduce disruption to individuals and businesses on the Isle of Man. It would also reduce event delivery costs that can be reinvested back into the Festival itself.
The 2013 Festival is proposed to run from the 17th of August to the 26th of August. The ‘centrepiece’ of the Festival would continue to focus on competitive racing around the world famous TT Mountain Course including three classic races and a further two races for modern machinery.
The Department hopes to create the most prestigious series of races for classic motorcycles in the world, featuring modern day TT stars along with existing classic racing specialists bringing the most exotic classic racing motorcycles in the world to the Isle of Man.
The event would also see a return for the Clubman’s TT titles which would be applied to two races for amateur riders on modern machinery. Designed as a more focused feeding ground for the current TT, the Clubman’s TT classes would incorporate a rider development structure with the opportunity for riders to receive sponsor funded TT scholarships and guaranteed entry into the TT.
The competitive racing programme would be supported by a festival of motorsport nostalgia including parade laps featuring legendary riders and machines from Mountain Course history, off road events including the Manx Classic Weekend Trial and exhibitions of exotic motorcycles and memorabilia. The event would also include the Isle of Man Vintage Motor Cycle Club activities including the popular ‘Festival of Jurby’ event that attracted over 15,000 visitors last year.
A revised Festival is expected to be more attractive to the motorsports media and be underpinned by a programme of commercial activity including international television coverage, sponsorship, brand licensing, digital activation and event ticketing. Further research will be undertaken to finalise a number of aspects in the detail of the revised festival, including the name and the Department recognises very clearly the need to work closely with its key partners in developing such a festival to ensure all detailed aspects of the proposals meet the needs of stakeholders.
Economic Development Minister, John Shimmin MHK, has welcomed the new proposals:
"In the current economic climate, we have a responsibility to maximize returns from the significant investment required to run events of this nature. Local businesses have clearly indicated the opportunities that the Manx Grand Prix provides and I look forward to maintaining the existing levels of dialogue with the Manx Motor Cycle Club in order to resolve any concerns that might exist with regard to the new proposals."
Colin Kniveton, Chief Executive, Department of Economic Development, commented:
"Our market research and consultations have been extensive and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed to that process. The findings from this consultative process have provided us with some very clear outcomes that we are keen to act on."
"The proposals are built very much on our consultations and market and media feedback and it is anticipated that a revised format to the Festival would give the Isle of Man real potential to increase visitor numbers, media profile and commercial incomes. Implementing these proposals would allow us to tap into the fast-growing nostalgia market that we have seen with events such as the Goodwood Revival and drive a tangible return on the ever increasing investment required to stage the event."