Riders coming to terms with no racing on the Isle of Man in 2020 – shropshirestar.com

Michael Rutter, Alun Brooks, Neil Lloyd, Jason Wilkes and Benjamin Plant had all planned to set sail for the island to compete during the final week of August and first week of September.

But like most sporting events in 2020, both have fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak with the entire fortnight of racing now officially called off.

Both events are raced around the same 37.73-mile circuit as the main Isle of Man TT races, with amateurs competing in the Manx GP and more established riders entering the Classic TT on older machines.

Bridgnorth’s Rutter has had plenty of success on the island, winning seven TTs and two Classic TTs.

But with the main TT races and the Southern 100 also being cancelled, all races on the island have now been cancelled for 2020.

Rutter, 48, who is also team manager of Black Country-based Bathams Racing, said: “Obviously, we’re all disappointed that there will be no racing on the Isle of Man at all this year.

“No TT races and now no Classic TT either – and the TT is such a huge event for Bathams and me.

“We can understand why though because everyone’s safety has to come first. So many things have gone wrong this year and hopefully we can put it all behind us soon.


“I know we’ll all have clean gardens and some mint bikes once this is all over. I’m putting this season behind me and looking ahead to 2021 now.”

Wednesbury’s Neil Lloyd, 48, had been due to compete in the Classic TT for the first time this year after his application was confirmed in January.

However, like the rest of the paddock, his entire race season has been put on hold for the forseeable future.

“We were pretty much told about the chances of it being cancelled around a month ago, but were staying optimistic,” he said.


“It’s sad news and we understand why, but it’s still gutting all the same. Stay safe, everyone.”

Telford’s Jason Wilkes, 37, had been excited to make his debut in the Manx GP, having competed at the Southern 100, which is raced around the 4.25-mile Billown course, in Castletown, for the first time last year.

He said: “After a fantastic time at the newcomers weekend, and some fantastic support from local and big companies, I’m gutted to say we can not compete in the Manx GP, which has been my life-long dream.

“But we will come back fitter and stronger for next year and even more competitive.

“A massive thank you the Envirotech for their continued support, Metzeller tyres, Partners in Paw, EBC Brakes, Road and Race Ltd, RG 74 and T G M Custom Paint Work, and Telford Fostering Team. Without them, the dream would not be possible.”

Wem’s Plant had been looking forward to a third year racing at the Manx GP, while Welshpool’s Brooks – who secured a stunning podium on his Manx GP debut in 2019 – had also planned a return to the island.

Laurence Skelly MHK, the Isle of Man Government’s Minister for Enterprise, said: “This is obviously a conclusion that we didn’t want to reach but, unfortunately, when all the factors and advice are considered, we felt that it was important to make an early decision to provide clarity and certainty to race officials, fans and sponsors, as well as competitors themselves.

“Although 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.

“We also want to reassure the Island’s residents that their health and wellbeing remains our number one priority and focus in this ongoing situation and furthermore it isn’t appropriate to potentially place additional demands onto our hard-working hospital and medical staff by running the events this year.”

Peter Maddocks, Manx Motor Cycle Club Chairman, added: “We were asked, as race organisers, by the Government whether we were confident that the event could take place purely from a logistical and operational point of view this year.

“Although we were confident that we could provide the officials, the situation around other key personnel, such as marshals and medical personnel could not be guaranteed.

“Additionally, the availability of event critical contractors and whether the infrastructure and equipment could even reach the Isle of Man in time is also an area of great uncertainty

“We also took into account the levels of pre-event practice the riders would have had to enable them to effectively take on the unique challenge that racing on the Mountain Course represents.

“All of these factors were considered and ultimately formed the basis of the decision that, from an operational point of view, the event had to be cancelled this year. Even though we are all in uncertain times the Club is looking forward to planning a return to the mountain course in 2021.”

Source: shropshirestar.com

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