Clas­sic TT – The fu­ture

Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP -

Mo­tor­cy­cle race paddocks are renowned for ru­mours, spec­u­la­tion and down­right false­hoods, and there is no rea­son why the Clas­sic TT pad­dock should be any dif­fer­ent. In fact, quite the op­po­site is true, with teams and rid­ers shar­ing the area be­hind the TT Grand­stand for a cou­ple of weeks there is plenty of time for ru­mours to grow legs. How­ever, we at Clas­sic Racer don’t deal in ru­mours, so we went right to the top and spent some time with Paul Phillips, the man who heads up the team who has taken the Clas­sic TT an aw­ful long way in just six years. Q– Paul, six years in with the Clas­sictt are you pleased with the progress it has made in a rel­a­tively short time? A– Yes. It has grown very quickly in all mea­sur­able ar­eas and has de­liv­ered a lot of in­cre­men­tal ben­e­fit from the po­si­tion it started from. My own per­sonal view re­mains that this is an event with bound­less pos­si­bil­i­ties and one that can con­tinue to grow into the fore­see­able fu­ture, be­com­ing much more than just an­other mo­tor­cy­cle race. The com­bi­na­tion of a beau­ti­ful venue, un­ri­valled her­itage and what has be­come the most im­por­tant set of clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle races on the planet is a po­tent mix. Q– So is the event now de­liv­er­ing what the Gov­ern­ment was seek­ing? A– As of last year, the Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­cy­cling con­tain­ing the Clas­sic TT had gen­er­ated, cu­mu­la­tively over the six years, al­most £22m worth of ad­di­tional eco­nomic ben­e­fit com­pared to the orig­i­nal bench­mark (the 2012 Manx Grand Prix Fes­ti­val) and in the same pe­riod the Isle of Man Ex­che­quer has ben­e­fited by an ad­di­tional £3.2m of new ad­di­tional in­come re­ceipts. This is based on data ex­trap­o­lated from in­de­pen­dent eco­nomic sur­veys car­ried out on be­half of the depart­ment. This means that both the eco­nomic and ex­che­quer ben­e­fit de­rived from this event has more than dou­bled dur­ing that same pe­riod. The in­crease in the num­ber of vis­i­tors on its own equates to 6% of the to­tal num­ber of leisure vis­i­tors an­nu­ally to the Isle of Man mak­ing it the fastest grow­ing tourism event the Is­land has. Th­ese events are pri­mar­ily funded on the ba­sis of their value to the vis­i­tor econ­omy, so growth on this scale is very sat­is­fy­ing to see. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­cy­cling, and the TT, rely on pub­lic fund­ing and at a time when bud­gets are un­der great pres­sure we need to demon­strate that the events are able to de­liver a com­mer­cial re­turn on that in­vest­ment that ben­e­fits all of the Is­land’s res­i­dents, not just ap­peals to the ones who have an in­ter­est in mo­tor­sport. Q– Ac­cord­ing to some statis­tics, pub­lished vis­i­tor num­bers were down for the Clas­sictt/manx this year. Is this true, and if so what do you at­tribute this to? A– The Isle of Man Steam Packet Com­pany is­sued their pas­sen­ger num­bers for the dates that the Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­cy­cling cov­ered, show­ing a slight year on year de­cline in some ar­eas. This shouldn’t get mixed up with fes­ti­val vis­i­tor num­bers though. The eco­nomic sur­vey for the event will be pub­lished in Oc­to­ber and only then will we get a de­fin­i­tive han­dle on what the vis­i­tor num­bers ac­tu­ally were. Whilst the num­bers of peo­ple trav­el­ling to the Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­cy­cling by sea has risen each year since 2013, in over­all per­cent­age terms, sea travel has dropped from 90% of the to­tal at­ten­dance in 2010 to 77% by last year with more and more peo­ple choos­ing to travel by air. We re­main op­ti­mistic there­fore that the trend of un­in­ter­rupted vis­i­tor growth will have con­tin­ued in 2018, de­spite the less than ideal weather con­di­tions. Q– I get the im­pres­sion that there is still a di­vide be­tween your depart­ment and some fac­tions of the MMCC. Is this a true as­sump­tion? A– Meet­ings be­tween the depart­ment and the MMCC hap­pen with in­creas­ing fre­quency whilst the op­er­a­tional overlap is more ev­i­dent than it has ever been dur­ing the Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­cy­cling years. The depart­ment has con­tin­ued to in­vest hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds each year into sup­port­ing the Manx Grand Prix, along with a huge amount of lo­gis­ti­cal and in­fra­struc­ture sup­port and is com­mit­ted to its suc­cess­ful fu­ture. There may be that per­cep­tion of di­vide but the re­al­ity is that the depart­ment is build­ing strong work­ing re­la­tion­ships with the MMCC who un­der­stand the eco­nom­i­cal and com­mer­cial re­quire­ments of the fes­ti­val. Q– I think it’s fair to say you have not en­joyed uni­ver­sal sup­port from ev­ery­one in­volved in the Clas­sictt/manx Grand Prix, but with a suc­cess­ful six-year run how can you see the event evolv­ing? A– My view re­mains that mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing on its own is not enough to sus­tain the cur­rent level of in­vest­ment into the fu­ture and the Clas­sic TT in par­tic­u­lar needs to con­tinue to grow and im­prove the off-track ex­pe­ri­ence to present an event with wide ap­peal across dif­fer­ent au­di­ence seg­ments so it can con­tinue to at­tract new vis­i­tors. We have al­ready seen things like the Fes­ti­val of Jurby, Show and Shine events, out­door cin­ema, con­certs, ex­hibits, pop up mu­se­ums, dis­plays and ap­pear­ances from leg­endary rid­ers from the past. I see this evolv­ing fur­ther in the com­ing years with more and more off track con­tent be­ing es­tab­lished to en­ter­tain the vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike. Q– Race paddocks can al­ways be re­lied on for a good ru­mour and one I heard more than once in Au­gust was that the clas­sic races are go­ing to be handed back to the MMCC to run as part of the Manx Grand Prix. Can you com­ment on this? A– There are no pro­pos­als to­day to change the way the Clas­sic TT is or­gan­ised and de­liv­ered and we are cur­rently plan­ning the 2019 event. That said, th­ese events are of course re­viewed on an on-go­ing ba­sis, and it would be a depart­ment de­ci­sion if they chose to change that sit­u­a­tion in the fu­ture. What­ever the de­liv­ery model for this event, and the TT for that mat­ter, the clearly de­fined pol­icy and ob­jec­tives for Mo­tor­sport of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.