Isle of Man TT is Covid-19’s latest motorsport casualty
Iconic motorcycle race adds to tally of cancelled events around the world
As the reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact economies and pastimes worldwide, the Isle of Man TT is the latest motorsport event to be cancelled.
The iconic annual motorcycle event, along with the Manx Grand Prix, was due to have run from August 22 to September 4 on the island situated between Great Britain and Ireland.
Held since 1907, the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) is staged on closed public roads and is regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous racing events due to competitors racing in close proximity to buildings and walls over the 60km course.
“Though we cannot predict at this stage exactly what the Island’s or the global position will be in four months’ time, there is sufficient uncertainty and therefore making an early decision is the only responsible thing to do,” said Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise in cancelling the race.
The Isle of Man TT is one of many international motorsport events postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic.
Formula One, the world’s most popular form of motor racing, has been heavily affected including the cancellation of the Monaco Grand Prix that was scheduled for May 24.
F1 plans to start its season behind closed doors in Austria on July 5, followed by the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest under similar conditions, but has yet to publish a revised calendar. The traditional August break has been cancelled to allow for rescheduling.
MotoGP's German, Dutch and Finnish Grands Prix in June and July have been cancelled but the sport still hopes to start the season during the European summer. The Dutch TT at Assen had the unique record of being on the motorcycle world championship calendar every year since 1949.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of these three important Grands Prix on the MotoGP calendar," said Carmelo Ezpeleta, who runs MotoGP’s commercial rights holders Dorna.
Ezpeleta hoped to put on races from July at circuits where they could be held easily without spectators.
"Any of these grands prix without spectators is very difficult to do. It’s for that reason that we’ve decided with the three local promoters to pass onto next year … instead of putting them on a new date," he said.
The Netherlands and Germany have banned mass events until the end of August.
"Our idea right now is to start at the end of July. Where and when are still to be decided," said Ezpeleta.
"We’re sure our initial programme is to start in Europe and race from the end of July until November and see what’s happening, and if the nonEuropean races will be possible after November."
Ezpeleta said that if travel outside Europe wasn’t possible then MotoGP could still have a championship comprising 10-12 rounds. Some circuits might host two races on successive weekends.