Race is on to win over IoW residents: IWRR chiefs meet with locals to address concerns

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The organisers of the Isle of Wight Road Races (IWRR) have moved to address the concerns of local residents, after a local parish councillor claimed the organisers had taken a “lackadaisical” approach to communications before the organisers ran their first meeting.

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The IWRR is a proposed road race that will take place on the island between April 20-23, 2022.

The event was announced shortly after the Diamond Races, which have been postponed due to the pandemic, but unlike the Diamond Races, which were to be time trials with a single rider against the clock, the IWRR would see a mass start with up to 15 riders on the grid.

The plan is for a 12.4-mile course through Chale, Shorwell and Brighstone using a long stretch of the Military Road. The races are being organised by two-time British touring car champion James Kaye, as well as Lizze and Rob da Bank who are best known for organising music festival Bestival, which started on the island.

Other well-known names are involved, including Gary Thompson MBE, Clerk of the Course for the Isle of Man TT, who has been helping the IWRR prepare a suitable track for the race.

After the date and course were announced but before the official public consultation began, some locals were quick to raise concerns, but IWRR are hoping to address these and win support.

“We’ve had a lot of feedback from residents – much of it positive but some negative – and the next step for us is to incorporate residents’ concerns into our planning,” says Tim Addison, spokesperson for the race organisers.

“The main concern people have is that of inconvenience but at the same time we also had many local people who came out and wanted to take the opportunity to say how supportive they were.

“Most of the people who came the meeting had genuine concerns to do with access, such as ‘how do I park my car’ or ‘I have regular medical appointments’ and we are going to be addressing them.

“This wasn’t about holding a straw poll, it’s about getting as much feedback as possible from the people who are most affected by the race, so that we can feed that into our plans and improve them as much as possible.”

Before the meeting members of Brighstone Parish Council had said the lack of information wasn’t good enough, with Cllr Nick Stuart saying: “My opinion on their approach is, politely, it is lackadaisical and realistically they are trying to obscure what they are doing and hide from as many people as possible.”

Brighstone Parish Council has even gone as far as to distribute their own survey to residents, with what they believe are the positives and negatives of the event to get an idea of the levels of local support or opposition.

“This is only the start of the process,” adds Addison. “We’re expecting to meet with each of the three parish councils that are along the course where we will not only listen to their concerns but also tell them about the great benefits the race will bring in terms of excitement but also the boost for tourism and the economy.”

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