Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Isle of Man TT

I travelled over to the Isle of Man for a short two-day visit to see what lessons we can learn from the TT Races.  The TT road races are one of the big attractions in the island's tourist calendar and here at home we have the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.

I met some of the organisers including the Clerk of the Course, Eddie Nelson, and Carolyn Kinrade QPM, the Motorsport Team Safety Co-ordinator, and we talked about the important issue of safety.  Later I met up with Geoff Corkish, the member of the Tynwald with responsibility for motor sport and also with the civil servant responsible for the overall organisation of the TT.

We drove round the TT course - in a car rather than on a bike - to see how the island accommodates so many visitors and to get a sense of the atmosphere of the festival.  The organisers do go out of their way to create a festival feeling on the island and there are special activities in the evenings down on the sea front.  The motorcycle stunt riders put on a great show last night for the visitors.

In the course of the two days I met quite a number of Ulster bike enthusiasts and had a long chat with Phillip McCallen, who was an eleven-time Isle of Man TT winner.

Unfortunately the weather today was poor and the racing was cancelled.  There are some things over which we have no control.

It was a very useful visit and there are a number of things that I will want to reflect on as we consider what can be done to support and enhance road racing in Ulster.

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