A decision on whether the Isle of Man TT will go ahead in 2021 could be made this year as organisers hope to get a jump on either organising the popular annual road racing event under new measures or providing clarity by removing pressure from participating teams.
The 2020 Isle of Man TT was cancelled back in March, almost three months before it was due to begin, just as the initial grip of the coronavirus pandemic began to tighten.
Though the definitive early decision right at the start of the unfolding pandemic was a surprise at the time, it would set the tone for motorsport – and other sport – in general, with multiple events and seasons being cancelled or delayed by several months over the ensuing weeks.
A sense of normality has since returned to an extent across motorsport, though social distancing measures mean that while spectators can now attend races, the numbers are very limited.
It is this particular point that will likely determine whether the 2021 Isle of Man TT can take place as the island’s size and population means an influx of international visitors in a concentrated space of time could prove hugely damaging to the local communities were COVID-19 able to gather momentum again.
As such, Belfast’s Newsletter publication is reporting the extra planning needed to ensure a safe event either with full capacity or a capped one means a decision has to come fairly soon, or ‘in the next couple of months’.
Understandably, there is an anxiety over the event getting the green light given the impact the cancellation – only the third in the event’s long history – had on businesses across the island that rely on the annual ‘pay day’ of mass-tourism it generates.
“It is getting very, very close consideration with Lawrence Skelly and the Department for Enterprise and I know they are working up their plans and options,” Alf Cannan – treasurer minister for the isle of Man – told Manx Radio.
“I expect in due course [that] Council will look at this very carefully and doubtless the chief minister and Mr Skelly will be bringing forward whatever decisions are made at some point in the next couple of months.”
The 2021 Isle of Man TT is pencilled in to take place from May 2021 to Friday June 11.