Isle of Wight Diamond Races postponed until 2022

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Double Red

This year’s Isle of Wight Diamond Races debut has been postponed as the uncertainty caused by Covid-19 and the amount of work still to be done for an October launch has caused the organising team to rethink their plan.

The ambition and enthusiasm remains and 2022 is now the target year although no precise date has been confirmed. The founder and team leader Paul Sandford told bikesportnews.com: “We have got all the permissions in place from the Isle of Wight council and the ACU and we know what we need to do.

“These include traffic management plans, course preparation and managing teams to get on and off the island. So there’s a lot of money to be spent. But the big unknown we have got is covid so given the challenges we have we took the decision to move it to 2022.”

Responding to Mervyn Whyte’s concern that road racing was handicapped by spectators not having to pay, Sandford said: ”We are going to adopt a digitally enhanced approach which would be very different from existing road events. It is going to be a 21st century event with bookings to the event, travel and accommodation, done via a website and an app.

“Live coverage of the event via online to allow spectators to see all round the circuit. There’s nothing new about this. What we are proposing is being done elsewhere. There will be a very strong digital offer around this whole thing.”

The cost of running the North West 200 is estimated at £1M, no financial help is expected from the IoW council and while an estimated attendance of 40,000 will contribute to the local economy, sponsorship will be critical and a number of approaches have been received? What will the cost of the Diamond Races be?

“I don’t want to give you a figure because that is confidential but what I will say is that it is more than the North West 200. And we have to find the capital to do so.

A lot of the money is going on course preparation. We have spoken to the local authority about what this will bring to the island in terms of a completely different attraction and a whole bunch of spin off benefits. There are 50,000 beds and we are aiming to fill those up.

“But there will also be camping, caravans etc. And we are going to launch a series of clubs to encourage people to join the Diamond Races family. But we have not fully engaged with potential supporters until we have a robust financial model.It will be a massive boost to the Isle of Wight economy if we can get this thing to work.”

Enthusiasm for the event remains high among fans eager to see the first road race, except Scarborough, launched in England within living memory. And with the circuit bordering the coast and likely to deliver 100mph plus laps it has been warmly greeted by riders who have seen it.

Duke Travel had already taken 700 bookings for this year and Peter Duke thinks the potential is high: “Road racing is going through a particularly difficult period so we need this to succeed.”