Roads scene faces chal­leng­ing times

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - STEPHEN DAV­I­SON MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

TT 2017 had just three new­com­ers on the start line – Adam Mclean, Joey Thomp­son and Paul Jor­dan.

Mclean, 21, who com­pleted 105 sight­ing laps in a car as part of his preparation for his Moun­tain course de­but, was the fastest of the trio, lap­ping at 120.6mph on his way to 18th place in the Su­pers­port race.

TT race boss Paul Phillips has al­ways fo­cused on qual­ity rather than quan­tity with rider re­cruit­ment but just three new solo com­peti­tors must give some cause for con­cern.

There have been ef­forts to re­cruit tal­ent from other dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing BSB rid­ers. Peter Hick­man and Josh Brookes have both made a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to the roads but even they are adamant BSB re­mains their top pri­or­ity.

For many oth­ers, find­ing the bud­get to com­bine a Bri­tish cham­pi­onship chal­lenge with big road race out­ings would not be fea­si­ble.

The sport has been dealt a ma­jor blow with both John Mcguin­ness and Ian Hutchin­son suf­fer­ing se­ri­ous in­juries this year. Ev­ery­one will be hop­ing the duo make a full re­cov­ery but re­cent events have led many road race fans to con­sider who will step into the breach when the likes of Mcguin­ness, Anstey and Rut­ter do even­tu­ally re­tire.

Events like the South­ern 100, the four meet­ings held at Scar­bor­ough each sea­son, plus the Ir­ish Na­tional events have formed part of the tra­di­tional ap­pren­tice­ship route for many road rac­ers.

Cur­rent stars such as Michael Dunlop, his brother Wil­liam, Guy Martin, Conor Cum­mins, Ivan Lintin, Dean Har­ri­son and Dan Kneen have all honed their be­tween-the-hedges skills at these smaller road events.

Rid­ers such as Adam Mclean, Paul Jor­dan, Joey Thomp­son, James Cowton and Jamie Coward are fol­low­ing in these well worn wheel tracks. Derek Mcgee, who made an im­pres­sive South­ern 100 de­but last week, learnt his road rac­ing craft at Tan­dragee, Sk­er­ries and his home event at Walder­stown. He was the fastest new­comer at the 2015 TT.

The South­ern 100 and Scar­bor­ough ap­pear to be flour­ish­ing but the Ir­ish Na­tional roads rac­ing scene has suf­fered a wor­ry­ing de­cline in re­cent years as race or­gan­is­ers strug­gle to bal­ance ris­ing costs with fall­ing rev­enues.

So far the Mo­tor Cy­cle Union of Ire­land, the sport’s gov­ern­ing body, has failed to pro­vide any new ini­tia­tives to ad­dress this sit­u­a­tion and many more events are strug­gling to sur­vive.

Since 2004 at least five Na­tional meet­ings have dis­ap­peared al­to­gether and ev­er­in­creas­ing in­surance pre­mi­ums pro­vide the ma­jor pres­sure as those that re­main are locked in a bat­tle to sur­vive.

‘Race or­gan­is­ers strug­gle to bal­ance ris­ing costs and fall­ing rev­enues’

There were just three TT 2017 new­com­ers: Mclean, Thomp­son and Jor­dan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.