The Isle of Man TT organisers’ plans for a TT World Series have been shelved. The plans, looking at expanding the event into a global series featuring up to six rounds running as a winter series across the Southern hemisphere, had been due to run it’s first test events as soon as this time next year.
The news comes after nearly £190,000 of Isle of Man taxpayer money was paid to London-based firm The Sports Consultancy as part of a feasibility study.
However, with cost always looking like an idea – as well as the potential of losing the spirit of the original event – there has been considerable controversy around it; something acknowledged by House of Keys Minister for Economic Development Laurence Skelly
"With regards to the proposed TT Series, this has always been a relatively high risk idea – indeed, some people have voiced concerns that the TT Series might fail or might dilute focus on the Isle of Man events, either of which could harm the TT and/or the Island’s economy. Our Department therefore considered very carefully the bids to see whether we could be confident we could deliver the proposed TT Series while managing the risks. Government must be mindful of the importance of the TT to many other stakeholders including local businesses, so our Department has applied a higher threshold of risk than say a private organisation would apply.
"We have therefore decided that the best way forward is to focus on growing the home events and making them more appealing. As we strengthen our events on the Island and the TT’s brand internationally, we will continue to monitor the global motorsport market so that we can pursue the TT Series concept as and when we feel the time is right."
However, the other element of the plans, which will see the organisation of the event handed over to a private firm in return for a licencing fee, instead of the Manx Government running it internally, are apparently still underway, with a new promoter set to be announced ahead of the 2016 event, which gets underway in May.
"I am announcing that we will soon commence a new procurement process to find the right promoter partner to help us grow the TT and Classic TT. Government must be seen to be fair to all potential bidders, so given this is different in scope to the previous procurement process it is necessary to commence a new process.
"We expect to be able to complete this new process prior to TT2016, which will enable us to maintain the momentum we have already built in our plans to date. I believe this is the right way forward to deliver best value for the taxpayer, grow our economy and respect the TT’s loyal fan base."