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  Joey Dunlop Lap Clashes with Ramsey Events

Holding a TT lap in honour of Joey Dunlop on Mad Sunday will have a detrimental effect on events in the north of the Island, claims a Ramsey MHK.

Leonard Singer (APG) doesn't believe the Department of Tourism and Leisure has taken note of the concerns of those involved in the Ramsey Sprint, due to be held on the same day if the TT goes ahead.

He said in the House of Keys: 'Does the DTL minister still think it is right to run the event when Ramsey Commissioners, Ramsey Chamber of Commerce and sprint organisers oppose the lap taking place on the Sunday?

'Is he happy that one of the most important commercial days of the year for Ramsey has been ruined by this decision.' He asked the minister, David Cretney, who was consulted about the proposed date for the lap, what date was preferred by those consulted and whether the DTL had talks with those for which Mad Sunday is an important commercial date.

Mr Singer argued the event should have taken place on the Saturday after racing. But Mr Cretney said he was aware of concerns expressed by Ramsey Chamber of Commerce and the sprint organisers. He said there was major media coverage of the proposed lap and the department invited people to write, phone or e-mail their views.

He said the DTL received 320 responses. He said: 'There was a wide range of responses. Of those who expressed a preference 74 per cent were in favour of the option of staging it on the middle Sunday.

'In addition, a number of those who responded raised issues with regard to the alternative Saturday option which cast doubt on its availability.'

Mr Cretney said it was important his department was involved in organising the event. 'People have contacted me and said they wanted the opportunity to pay their respects like those at the Manx Grand Prix,' he said.

'There could be an ad hoc lap and we believe it would be better to have an organised lap rather than an ad hoc one.' A highly successful lap of honour took place last August during the MGP when 6,000 bikes rounded the mountain course, their riders paying their respects to the most successful TT rider of all time following Joey's death during a race in Estonia on July 2.

If a second tribute goes ahead it could be two or three times bigger than the first event. One suggestion was that it could take place after the Formula 1 and sidecar races on Saturday, June 2, with the race programme starting at 10am and would be followed immediately by the commemorative lap.

The option chosen is to stage the event on Mad Sunday with the roads being closed from 1.30pm to about 4.30pm.

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