Twenty-six of the best pure road racers in the world were flown in to the Isle of Man for the biggest TT press launch ever on Friday night. Top riders including TT lap record holder John McGuinness and his major rivals Bruce Anstey, Ian Lougher, Guy Martin, were among a star-studded cast at the Vila Marina last Friday but it was Kawasaki factory rider Michael Rutter who was greeted by the biggest applause by the hundreds of fans packing the venue when he announced: It’s great to be back at the TT.”
Newcomers like American Jimmy Moore (a two-time AMA Superstock champion), UlsterGP sensation Keith Amor from Scotland, and Swede Christer Minnin and exciting prospects like 20-year-old Manxman Connor Cummings and Belgian 28 year old Michael Weyands are the future of the event.
Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Development Manager said: “We’re aiming to promote the biggest, fastest, most professional TT ever and that’s why the launch show was so important to convey that message.”
The budget for this year’s Centenary TT is £3million and the money isn’t just going on ensuring the best possible racing entry and nostalgia supporting shows. Last year the TT invested in £40,000 worth of trackside safety barriers. A further £100.000 worth of barriers have been ordered for the 2007 races.
Over £120,000 has been invested in marshal training and after last year’s influx of 400 new marshals from 15 training course, the authorities are hoping to attract another 600 marshal from the 20 course they are running this year across the UK. There’s now two emergency helicopters on standby, rather than one in the past.
Phillips said: “You can never make a road racing event like this totally safe but we are out to make it as safe as possible. We have the support of the manufacturers and support at political level. The TT is still an iconic event and we’re all working to ensure its future.