Following an extensive consultation with current TT teams and riders, the TT organisers have decided to drop the first, untimed, practice that was provisionally scheduled for Saturday 28th May.
It means that the 2011 TT programme will now begin with a timed qualifying session on the evening of Monday 30th May. Qualifying for both Sidecar and Solo machines will take place every evening that week.
The 2011 TT represents the centenary of racing on the iconic Mountain Course circuit. Although the TT Races first took place in 1907 the organisers changed the course to incorporate the Island’s mountain region, Snaefell, in 1911 and apart from one or two small modifications, teams and riders will be competing on that same 37.73mile circuit.
The 2010 TT Races featured a number of the closest races in the event’s history with three seconds or less deciding five of the seven races. Padgett’s Honda rider Ian Hutchinson made history by becoming the first rider in the event’s 103-year history to win five races in a week, eclipsing Irishman Phillip McCallen’s four victories in 1996. Former World Sidecar Champion, Klaus Klaffenbock, from Austria, who has been competing in the TT Races since 2004, finally stood on the podium with his double win in the 2010 Sure Sidecar Races.
The 2011 calendar will feature broadly the same race programme as the previous seven years. This will include a Superbike Race, and the first Sidecar Race, on Saturday June 4, Supersport Race 1 and the Superstock Race on Monday June 6, the second Sidecar and second Supersport Race on Wednesday June 8. The meeting will culminate with the Blue Riband Senior Race on Friday June 10.
Even though the initial Staurday practice has been cancelled, race fans will still be able to enjoy the excitement of road racing on the Isle of Man on Friday May 27 and Saturday May 28 as the Southern 100 Club’s pre-TT Classic Race meeting, featuring a number of TT riders racing in a mass-start event on the famous Billown Circuit in the south of the Island, near Castletown.
For the third consecutive year, electric bikes will also compete in the TT Races, with the TT Zero Race scheduled to take place on Wednesday June 8. The Isle of Man Government have again offered a £10,000 prize to the first team to record a 100mph lap around the course.
The prestigious mark was first recorded on a conventional machine in 1957 and has not yet been achieved by an electric bike, although the American team MotoCzysz from Portland, Oregon clocked an average lap speed of 96.82mph in the 2010 TT Zero Race.
The 2011 TT meeting will also feature some high profile celebrations for the 2011 Mountain Course centenary as well as a definitive programme of events to commemorate Yamaha’s 50th anniversary of competing on the Isle of Man.
Further details of this activity will be released in due course.
Geoff Corkish, MBE, MHK, Political Member, Isle of Man Tourism, commented:
"Following the overwhelming success of the 2010 TT Races meeting that featured some of the closest racing in the event’s history, it makes sense to keep broadly the same programme.
"We have listened to comments from a number of teams and riders, both from the top of the grid as well as further down the field, as well as sponsors and other commercial partners and the overwhelming feedback is that we need to help them to reduce their costs during the tough economic climate.
"We have therefore decided to remove the first practice to reduce the time that they spend on the Island, whilst maintaining arrangements within the existing road closure schedule to maintain the amount of track time available for qualification.
"We have a thrilling event and programme lined up for 2011 and are looking forward to welcoming fans from around the world to join the experience and to help us celebrate the centenary and anniversaries as well as seeing history in the making."