Silverstone/TT date clash: Thinking positive

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TT boss Paul Phillips aims to turn any negativity about the date clash between  the Silverstone MotoGP race in June 6 with the Superbike race that opens the TT festival on June 5 into a massive positive for the fans.

Phillips said that he’s spoken to Silverstone management and understands that the situation has been forced on both parties, not by any naivety  of the FIM who sanction the dates, or by Silverstone trying to muscle aside the TT, but the harsh realities of TV scheduling!

Phillips said: “Next year there’s the World Cup, Wimbledon, the British car GP, plus MotoGP.

“They (Silverstone) understand clashing with the TT is not ideal for either of us but have told us they are in consultation with the stockholders (of Silverstone) and will look into the possibility of moving the date.”

The TT cannot move simply because the event impacts so much on Island life for the schools and businesses around the Island and any rescheduling would have to be planned years rather than months ahead.

But Phillips is looking on the positive side: “It could have been worse. It could have been a clash with BSB and that would have affected our race entry as well as our visitors.

“But if Silverstone cannot move their date then we’ll market the TT aggressively. We were aiming to overcome the tail off at the end of TT race week anyway.

“For a while now there’s been a noticeable spike in visitors (the biggest attendance is traditionally from the Thursday of practice week to the early part of race week – Editor) but we want to finish the TT on a high and have been looking at various ways to achieve that.”

And that could mean even more positives for the fans: “What we’re looking at is piggy-backing onto the MotoGP and getting riders across to the Island in the latter part of the week, seeing they are all on the mainland anyway.”

Rossi’s trip this year to the Island could be emulated by more of his rivals in 2010 – good for the fans but also great PR for the TT.

Another way fans might benefit is the potential for special package deals to boost the tail end of race week attendance.

Phillips also said all TT fans are going to enjoy more of a festival atmosphere this year.

“Once the dates are finalised and we know exactly where we’re at, we’ll announce our plans at the NEC International Motorcycle Show (Nov 26-Dec6).

“We’ve got an entertainment package which fits around the TT race programme – that’s something that’s never been done before and we’ll be going to the market with a really strong package.”

So on balance, while it may be far from ideal for fans having to decide whether to do the Silverstrone MotoGP weekend or take in the Saturday’s Superbike race on the Island, but overall it sounds like TT might get a real kick in the pants from Monday to Friday and that’s got to be good news for everyone.  

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin