AFTER months of protests and debate about the future of the Manx Grand Prix, the new format for the 2013 event has been announced.
It seems that the Manx Government have poured all their resources into really promoting the event as the Classic race of the Year, and they have labelled it the Classic TT. This will go well with the Classic purist, but the rest of the Manx will run, and I believe - as do a lot of fans - that their efforts will be to promote the Manx in future years as 'The Classic Race of the Year' and run the event as another version of the TT, with top TT riders. The following statement has been released by the Press office: 'Following the announcement of plans to introduce the Classic TT Races to the Isle of Man motorcycle racing calendar from 2013 onwards, the Isle of Man Government, Department of Economic Development, promoters of this new event, have received huge interest from riders, machine owners and race teams provisionally confirming their intention to participate. 'A revised set of regulations has been drawn up, focused on accommodating a wide spectrum of machinery as well as encouraging competitors of differing levels of experience to compete on a level playing field, including the introduction of a rider grading system for 'GP Riders' and 'Privateer Riders'. 'Practice and qualifying for the Classic TT Races will take place between 17th and 23rd August alongside the Manx Grand Prix Races practice and qualifying. Racing gets under way with the 500cc Classic TT Race on Saturday 24th August and continues on Monday 26th with the 350cc and 250cc Classic TT Races which will run concurrently. The race programme concludes with the new Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula Classic TT Races, with all three races running concurrently. 'The 500cc GP class remains the most revered class in international classic motorcycle racing, and the interest in the inaugural 500cc Classic TT Race reflects this. Heading the list of provisional entries is living legend, 19times TT winner John McGuinness. The 'Morecambe Missile' will line up on board one of Roger Winfield's Italian Paton machines, looking to add to his amazing record of success around the Mountain Circuit. 'Classic racing regular Ollie Linsdell hopes to join McGuinness representing the Paton brand where he will ride the machine belonging to Milanese entrepreneur Giovanni Cabassi. Another Italian multi-cylinder machine is likely to be in the hands of 2011 Supersport TT race-winner Gary Johnson, who will no doubt delight the fans on board John Chapman's exotic three-cylinder MV Agusta. 'Whilst much has been made of the performance advantages of the multi-cylinder machines in this class in recent years, the 2013 500cc Classic TT Races should see a host of top talent on board traditional British-built single-cylinder machines, looking to upset the form guide. Heading that list will be the Team Molnar Manx duo of Guy Martin and Daniel Cooper. Both riders will be equipped with the latest specification Molnar Manx machines and will be hoping to replicate the team's previous Mountain Course exploits which saw Manxman Richard 'Milky' Quayle take victory in the 2002 Classic MGP Race. 'Other early Norton entries are likely to include MGP regulars Grant Sellars, Brian Cooper, Edward Poole and David Webber, along with one of the rising stars of road racing, Jamie Coward. 'Two-time TT winner Cameron Donald is a regular competitor in classic races in his native Australia and he intends to take part on the Fred Walmsley-prepared Ripley Land Matchless, whilst one of the current day stars of the classic racing scene, Chris Palmer, lines up with Richard Shelton's super-quick Matchless. The Matchless marque should be well represented in the 500cc Race, with four-time MGP racewinner Ewan Hamilton, 2011 MGP podium finisher Mark Herbertson, local ace Allan Brew, Welshmen Meredyyd and Hefyn Owen, former MGP winner Dave Moffitt and MGP regulars Keith Dixon, Richard Stott, Arthur Jones and Jim Snaith all on the provisional list of riders. 'BSA, meanwhile, should be represented by Chris Swallow, who scored a podium double in this year's MGP, TT regular Mark Parrett, newcomer to last year's MGP Alex Sinclair and the returning Roy Phipps. 'Ten-times TT winner Ian Lougher is another looking to score a result on a British singlecylinder machine, taking over the controls of the immaculate Steve Linsdell-built and owned Royal Enfield. 'Roy Richardson is something of a classic racing legend, with eight Classic MGP race victories along with a host of other victories and lap records at venues across the UK. He will line up as one of the pre-race favourites on board Dick Linton's Aermacchi, supported by Martin Bullock Manxsport. Local man Peter Creer is also Aermacchi-mounted for the race. 'Honda have the greatest representation in the initial list of provisional entries for the 500cc race, with multiple Irish Road Race champion and current-day TT star William Dunlop heading up the list. The eldest son of TT legend Robert Dunlop, William hopes to campaign the magnificent four-cylinder Davies Motorsport Honda. 'Other Honda riders hoping to take part include Mountain Course legend Dave MadsenMygdal, 2004 Senior MGP winner Davy Morgan, four-time MGP race winner Chris McGahan, Classic racing frontrunner Paul Coward and MGP regulars Geoff Bates, Alec Whitwell, Andy Wilson, Ken Davis, Tom Jackson, Dean Martin, Tony Mason, Chris Petty, Pete Richardson, Pete Weston, Paul Rodgers, Ross Johnson, Barry Davis and Henry Bell.' The one thing that I find strange with this press release is the amount of riders already entered and the machinery sorted, with 10 months to go to the event. I might sound sceptical, but it is hard to think any other way at the moment, and while only time will tell, exactly what riders and exotic machines will line up for the event next August remains to be seen.