For the second year running the Isle of Man TT has been cancelled after the Manx government made an early call on hosting the historic event amid ongoing pressures brought on by COVID-19.

The iconic event - the centrepiece of the road racing season - brings a significant amount of investment and tourism the Isle of Man, but the influx of international visitors to such a small island means there are concerns it could prompt a wave of new cases.

Even so, it is an early decision given the event was provisionally scheduled for 28 May to Saturday 11 June 2021 but given the huge preparation effort required for both event organisers and teams looking to compete in what would be trickier circumstances, it was decided to put any reasonable doubt about its immediate future aside.

We do not underestimate the disappointment that this decision will cause to many people,” said Laurence Skelly, MHK, Minister, Department for Enterprise, Isle of Man Government,. “However, we are making an early and logical decision to provide certainty and clarity to race fans and everyone else involved in our event. 

“The TT relies on thousands of volunteers and officials across a wide range of organisations and we could not move responsibly towards operating to that date and commit to welcoming tens of thousands of people to the Island in June, despite the progress towards a vaccination programme globally and on the Island.’

"We evaluated all possible options including moving the TT to a date later in the year but there are complexities and risks, including scaling up of certain infrastructure and critical delivery elements of the TT, as well as existing resident and visitor travel in late August, which would cause further disruption to thousands of people.’

"We remain hopeful that the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix can take place later in the year and we look forward to welcoming visitors to our Island again.”

The news is a huge blow to the road racing community, which had its entire season wiped out over concerns for coronavirus. Even so, there was confidence the 2021 event would mark a popular return for one of motorsport’s most revered showcases only for that to be dashed in recent days as organisers warned of an imminent decision to the contrary.

In more than 100 years, the TT has been cancelled on only a handful of occasions - twice now for COVID-19, once due to the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 and also across eight years during World War II.