The Isle of Man Government's Department of Tourism and Leisure has signed a commercial agreement with the Manx Motor Cycle Club to incorporate the Manx Grand Prix Races into a motorsport festival that will showcase the many different aspects of motorcycling past and present.
The agreement is designed to maximise the potential number of visitors to the Island during the fortnight and capitalise on the growing interest in different eras of motorcycling. The new event will be called The Manx Grand Prix Festival and will incorporate a wide range of activities into an integrated programme under a single brand identity.
As well as the Manx Motor Cycle Club's races, MGP fortnight has for many years allowed fans to take in a wide range of motorcycle sport and heritage. Events include the Vintage Motor Cycle Club rally, the MGP Sprint at Ramsey, the Two Day Trial and the Classic Two Day Trial. The Festival of Jurby was introduced by the Vintage Motor Cycle Club during the 2009 Manx Grand Prix and attracted an estimated attendance of 7,000 people. The visitor has always been offered a variety of race, road and off-road events and a choice of classic and modern machines. More recently, the MMCC introduced post classic events for machines from the 1970's and 80's and the Festival aims to build on all of these themes.
The Department has consulted with the all the organising clubs, which have all indicated that they are willing to be part of the new event. The Department is working with other clubs to add new events to the Festival. This new brand identity has been developed by the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure to maximise the opportunity to create a festival programme that appeals to a greater number of visitors and to enhance the Island's reputation whilst also aiming to generate the income required to secure the future of the event.
In respect of the MGP races, the agreement with the MMCC will see the Club focus on organising and running the races whilst the Department will be responsible for event infrastructure- including course set-up and paddock management- and for the commercial management of the event.
Research commissioned by the Economic Affairs Division of Treasury during the 2009 Manx Grand Prix showed that the event attracted around 9,000 visitors to the Island and this new agreement is designed to significantly increase those numbers. Additional data provided from Manx National Heritage has also shown that a large proportion of those visitors also experience many of the heritage attractions during their trip, contributing to the local economy. The Department aims to work with MNH to develop this contribution and to use its heritage transport assets to further enhance the attraction for visitors.
Bill Bennett, Chairman, Manx Motorcycle Club, commented:
“We are really pleased to have reached an agreement with the Department of Tourism and Leisure that will put a formal structure in place for how we can work together to maximise the potential of the Manx Grand Prix Races. This allows the Club to move forward with doing what it does so well -organising and running races- whilst securing a supportive relationship with Government.”
Hon Martyn Quayle, MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, Isle of Man Government, commented:
“We are looking not only to secure the future of the fantastic Manx Grand Prix races but also to build an overall brand with a single identity to maximise the success of all the partners who put on events during the Manx Grand Prix period and to build an integrated programme that we can promote and develop to create activities that increase the number of visitors to the Isle of Man. We will be working closely with all of the partners involved in the Manx Grand Prix Festival to make the new event even more than the sum of its already very successful parts.”