Japanese TT race still possible

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TT star Ian Lougher reckons there’s still a possibility of a TT-style road race on Miyakejima island, a six-hour ferry ride from mainland Japan.

But it’s likely to be on a two-mile time trial on village roads, rather than an 18-mile lap of the coast road around the Island that was initially discussed.

Lougher has visited the Island in an advisory capacity for the event. He said: “The Japanese held a motorcycling festival on the Island last year and are still planning to run a small racing event in October this year.

"But I don’t think it’s going to be possible to run a major racing event on the 18-mile course.

“The problem is that there’s no infrastructure to host a major sporting event on the Island.

"The boat only takes passengers so getting the bikes and equipment there is going to be a major (logistical) problem and there’s no one on the island with the experience to host a race. However there is scope to run a time-trial on a shorter course.”

The authorities on Miyakejima are hoping the bike race will regenerate tourism for the region.

The island was hit by a volcanic eruption in 1983, from which it recovered, but a second and far more powerful eruption in 2000 left the island devastated. The entire population had to be evacuated and were only allowed to return in 2005.

The international motorcycle race is the brainchild of Tokyo Governor Shiin Taro Ishihara who along with mayors from Miyakejima and nearby Hachijojima island visited the Isle of Man TT in 2006 on a fact-finding mission.

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Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin