ACU Events has issued a press statement announcing a new Clerk of the Course for the TT.
The reshuffle comes after ACU Events came under fire at the TT, firstly when Clerk of the Course Eddie Nelson was heard over the course radio saying that marshals should ‘stop whingeing’ about the amount of time they had to spend on the Mountain. Nelson subsequently issued a public apology on TT Radio.
Then top riders and teams questioned to the decision to start the second Supersport TT race in damp conditions despite the threat of more rain. The voiced their concerns to Race Director Jim Parker.
Keith Amor was lucky to avoid serious injury when he crashed as rain fell at Union Mills on the second lap. Guy Martin, Cameron Donald and John McGuinness were lucky to avoid similar crashes in the same sector.
The race was red-flagged and run later in perfect conditions.
When the riders’ initial concerns were put to Nelson after the event, he told MCN that he was not aware of the rider’s views. That suggested some kind of breakdown in communication between him and Parker – and the reshuffle sees the long-term partnership between them broken and, tellingly, Parker pays no tribute or offers and thanks for past services to his former right-hand man in the statement.
The statement regarding the organisational reshuffle reads:
"ACU Events Ltd has undertaken a comprehensive review of the senior race officials ahead of the 2012 Isle of Man TT Races, which is scheduled to run from May 28th to June 8th 2012.
The review will see Gary Thompson, MBE, BEM, replace Eddie Nelson as Clerk of the Course. Gary has been General Secretary of the ACU since 2003 and was formerly a serving officer in the Army. He has been involved in the TT Races since 2008, when ACUE was formed, originally as secretary of the meeting and latterly as Deputy Clerk of the Course at the TT. He has carried out numerous Road Race Clerk of the Course appointments at all levels.
Gary was awarded the MBE for his contribution whilst serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina on operational service in 1996 and the BEM for his role in organising ‘Exercise REFORGER’ (Return of Forces to Germany) in 1987 - the biggest Exercise held in Germany involving the largest mass of troops on the ground since the end of WW2.
Commenting on his appointment, Gary said: "Motorcycle sport is a life-long passion and having grown up in Lincolnshire I watched many road race meetings at places like Cadwell Park and Mallory Park from an early age. I’m a huge fan of the TT Races and it’s a great honour to be appointed to the position of Clerk of the Course for the event."
Geoff Corkish, MBE, MHK, Political Member, Isle of Man Tourism commented: "We are pleased to have someone of Gary’s calibre in the pivotal role of Clerk of the Course for the TT Races and are sure that he will make a real impact in the running of the race organisation in years to come. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Eddie Nelson. He stepped into the role during a particularly challenging period for the event and was able to make his mark in delivering operational success."
Managing Director Jim Parker said, "I'm pleased with the formation of the new team, which is designed to comply with our ongoing succession plans for the future and to ensure the professional delivery of the Races for 2012 and beyond."
The review also sees the introduction of a Chief Paddock Marshal. Stuart Drummond, ACU Event’s Operations Manager, will fill the role and will be responsible for managing the Parc Fermé area, ensuring that the arrival and departure of machines and riders is carefully controlled.