Michael Dunlop has welcomed plans for a revamp next year's Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man, which will incorporate three rebranded Classic TT races.
Dunlop, who won the Classic Superbike event on a Suzuki XR69 at the event last month, said the popular festival was overdue an overhaul to breathe new life into the current model.
The Manx Motor Cycle Club and the Department of Economic Development (DED) have reached agreement on how the event should be progressed in the future, when the key change is the inclusion of three Classic TT races, which will be held on the Saturday and August Bank Holiday Monday at the beginning of race week.
The traditional Manx GP races for modern machines are scheduled to run on the Wednesday and Friday of the two-week festival, with practice for all classes being held as normal during the first week.
A new-look race programme and regulations will be introduced under the proposals, including races for the traditional MGP 500cc and 350cc classes, rebranded as Classic TT races, along with new Formula 1
and Formula 2 Classic TT races.
The Formula 1
and Formula 2 events would run concurrently, representing the original FIM World Championship classes of the same title from the late 1980s and early 1990s and opening the MGP to a new generation of machinery, including iconic bikes such as the Honda RC30, Kawasaki ZXR-750, Yamaha OW01, Suzuki GSX-R 750 and Ducati 888.
Some of the current top stars from the TT are also being lined up to compete at the Manx, including Mountain legend John McGuinness.
Three-times Manx GP winner Dunlop told the Belfast News Letter: “I think it's good that people are starting to look at the bigger picture for the Manx Grand Prix and although some people won't like to hear this, the event needed a lift.
“It was flat this year and there was no-one there and I wasn't for going back again, so it's good that it's changing.
“Not everyone will be happy, but it will help the Manx in the long run because it will bring more people to the event.
“It would be great to see the Honda RC30 back out there on the Mountain again and the Norton was around in that era too, so imagine if that was back out there ripping the hedges out,” he added.
“They are great bikes and the fans would come to see them, especially if you've got some of the top TT men on them.”
The proposals also include the potential for a four-day festival of motorcycling nostalgia to support the Classic TT races.
This would feature period events, exhibitions of exotic classic racing motorcycles, chat shows and autograph sessions with legendary riders, plus parade laps, air displays, vintage motorcycle club events and family entertainment.
The new regulations for the 2013 MGP are due to be released by the end of this month to enable potential new competitors and teams the maximum amount of time possible to prepare for the inaugural Classic TT races.