The 2020 Classic TT and Manx GP events have been cancelled

The 2020 Classic TT and Manx GP are the latest motorcycle racing events to be cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus, it has been confirmed

Bruce Anstey

The 2020 Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix events have been cancelled meaning no high-profile racing action will take place on the Isle of Man’s roads this year.

The two events – scheduled for August and September respectively – remained tentatively scheduled for the time being despite the blue riband 2020 Isle of Man TT being officially cancelled back in March due to the coronavirus.

However, the Manx government has now extended this to include the Classic TT and Manx GP to provide clarity for fans, sponsors and race officials to allow them to focus their attentions on 2021 instead.

“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,” Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, said. 

“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.”

Though at the time of the Isle of Man TT being cancelled there had been no reported cases of COVID-19, the small island of around 91,000 people has now suffered 23 deaths from 321 cases as a result of the virus (as of writing).

While the situation appears to be improving with only a handful of cases reported in the past couple of weeks, there remains the concern that increased tourism could then cause a spike in the region.

“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,” added Peter Maddocks, Manx Motor Cycle Club Chairman.

“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.”

The news puts paid to any suggestion the Isle of Man TT could still go ahead in a scaled down form on the weekend reserved for the Classic TT.

While no road racing will take place on the Isle of Man in 2021, the North West 200 – the largest road race beyond the TT - for now remains simply ‘postponed’ with organisers hoping to find a new date later in the year.