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Isle of Man TT cancelled again for 2021 over Covid-19 fear


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Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop

Michael Dunlop

Motorcycle road racing is facing another major body blow with next year's Isle of Man TT cancelled over Covid fears, six months ahead of the May 29-June 11, 2021 event.

It is the second successive TT to fall victim to the pandemic after this year's races were cancelled.

As first reported in the Belfast Telegraph this morning, an announcement by the organisers has been made to confirm the news, despite hopes raised by news of a Covid vaccine on the way early in the new year.

Another cancellation represents a huge loss to international road racing, competitors, teams, spectators and economic life in general on the island, particularly hospitality and tourism.

"We do not underestimate the disappointment that this decision will cause to many people," said Laurence Skelly Minister for the 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."

It had been known that a number of options were under consideration with regards the running of the TT next year, from cancellation to finding an alternative date, but no ideal solution could be arrived at.

First staged in 1907, only two World Wars and the Foot and Mouth agricultural epidemic in 2001 have caused previous event cancellations, but now the Covid-19 pandemic has struck two years running.

The ramifications for competitors like Dean Harrison, John McGuinness, Michael Dunlop, Conor Cummins, James Hillier and Michael Sweeney are massive as the TT makes a significant contribution to their financial income.

Covid has led to the decimation of the road racing calendar in 2020 with only the Cookstown 100 running in a very limited capacity.

Decisions by the Coleraine and District Motor Club must be taken now regarding the NW200 due to the logistics required in running such a high-profile event, with money needing to be spent that may not be recoverable if the meeting has to be cancelled in May, as it was this year - although an alternative date may be possible for the spectacular in August.

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