| Archive X "The Truth is out
The poor old motorcyclist, the race fan, the supporter
of the TT festival is still stuck between a rock and a hard place now the
decision has been made to cancel the TT. Mr Gellings speach in the Tynwald has
sent its reverberations around the racing world. However all is not so crystal
clear on the ramifications of the announcement that bring to light new issues
we must face. But first a quick look at what was said and if the reasoning is
justified. And before we go any further, the decision, given all the
circumstances was correct, for no other reason than; it is their Island and
their choice and at the end of the day nothing else matters.
got to the decision had a few examples of thin logic just the same. For example
the spreading of the disease by motorcycle clothing by a rider out in the open
air as opposed to a motorist who is going along with his car with the windows
wound down is a bit hard to swallow. If one wanted the infection to be
transported from Douglas to Ramsay, either way, the virus wont mind its mode of
transport. The virus is invisible so any story is speculation.
Gellings mathematics are mixed up a little also. Only a couple of months ago it
was boasted the TT fetched in 60 million pounds and was second only to the
Wimbledon Tennis Tournament as a two week sporting event earner. But now the
price droppped to 16 million and the profit loss to the business community in
the region of 6 million pounds.
I guess the price must go down when
deciding on the compesation payments to them. The truth is out there somewhere.
But if 40,000 people going to the TT spend 400 pounds each that makes the 16
million. I know people who spend 400 quid on camera film alone. Somewhere the
maths got altered.
The value of the national herd was given at 47
million pounds to be weighed up against a profit loss of 6 million to the
business community. Perhaps it is more fair to compare the profit loss of the
herd not its value. Business houses need a comparasin of their stock value to
the herds stock value in a loss situation. Its easy to make statistics work how
you want them to.
Again, the herd numbers were given at 250,000 animals
which is about 420 animals per square mile, and each and every one of them
worth 200 pounds each. There are a lot of animals there.
But the most
compelling argument was the one of separation of animals and people on farmers
property and private land. Thats the real key issue and thats really all that
needed to be said. That is a real danger and although plans had been put in
place to avoid this occuring, the TT would have got the blame for the
downstream effects had an oubreak ensued. Now we get to the difficult bit.
Mr Gelling has given an open invitation to the visitors that they can
still come and that the island is still open for business. Keeping the
separation between animals and people at a manageable level, so it seems. The
normal festival activities will still go ahead. Sort of like going into a fish
and chip shop and being told that you can still buy food here so long as its
That presents a new set of problems that face the average
motorcyclist and supporter. There is absolutely no guarantee against an
outbreak of this disease and it could be carried by an innocent rider to the
island. So thats problem number one. And if an outbreak does occur, who will
get the blame? The virus is invisible so its not going to be easy to figure out
who or what caused it.
On the other side of the coin-should they go and
help the business houses to recieve some sort of income?. Some money being
better than no money. Others are financially committed and feel they must
attend as the refunds are not negotiable. But some go there because of the
festival and not so much the racing and thats where it gets real difficult to
advise people what to do.
Some years ago a study group from the Isle of
Man went to Daytona Speed Week to ascertain if there were any aspects of the
American event that could be introduced to the TT by way of improving the two
week period for the supporters. Daytona is a real mixture of activities and
some good promotions were instituted at the TT and now we have the Isle of Man
TT Festival. Added attractions over and above the racing---good thinking and
Of course, over the years it has grown to the point
that, some go across for the festival and some go for the racing. The two
groups living and operating side by side making up the whole and feeding off
each other in a benign symbiosis. Everybody benefits and the business houses
have much to be thankful for.
Now this delicate partnership is to be
broken for one year. The racing is off but the party is still on. Mr Gelling
has thrown down a unique challenge to the motorcycling fraternity.Come to the
party, he says. The party goers who accept this invitation will then indicate
to the Manx Government a fairly good idea of their value in terms of income and
worth to the economy of the TT. It can now be established just how well the
Daytona study group did their job. We have now, by a quirk of nature, given the
chance for the statistics collectors to place some kind of economic evaluation
on the Festival aspect of the TT fortnight. From simple deductions and
arithmetic, the value of the racing and its income can be judged.
economic planning can take place according to the areas where the best returns
are found. Funny how this disease has led us into this situation!!! There is a
faction who would wish that the racing was stopped at the Isle of Man. Certain
newspapers sell copy to readers who learn of the sensational tales of misery
and loss at the event. There are others who wish the racing to be stopped for
their own reasons which are made public or kept private. Everyone is aware that
there exists an anti TT faction in the general population.
have the opportunity to ask that, since the racing has been stopped for one
year, it can stay stopped for all time. Futhermore --the Festival continues so
thats good enough enjoyment for you motorcyclists to have each year. Make the
Festival even bigger until the income reaches the same level as it used to be
in the racing days. Thats the ground they now have the opportunity to aim for
in their search for a solution.
Like in Daytona however -the racing and
the other attractions go hand in hand. Take away one and you have taken away
the lot. The TT racing and the TT Festival for me are one and the same
thing.The atmosphere, the people, the whole joy of being there, is a
combination of many little things that make up the fantastic spectacle of TT
I am sorry Mr Gelling but thats how I see the event. Dont
cut out the heart and expect the rest of the body by artificial means. Its all
or nothing. If the Virus breaks out while the Festival part is on. Dont point
the finger at one person who went there at your invitation. Dont expect me to
be one of the statistics providers to help form the opinion that the TT can
live without the racing. Dont let me an unwilling victim in the anti TT lobby.
It's a bit like the animals who have this disease. Either shoot them or
leave them alone to get better. The UK government have decided that vaccination
is no remedy for this foot and mouth problem. So dont "Vaccinate" this other
problem as well.
Of course my non attendance creates the next one of
the business houses who will suffer. Here is one small solution that can
help.The companies who have deposits from me can keep them. No problem at all.
Compensation payments to aggrieved businesses on the Island according to your
speech have been allocated some millions in recompense. Start up a fund for
them as well, so that I can make a contribution to it. Call it the Donald
Gelling Fund. I will be most happy to donate the 400 quid you say I will spend
into such a purse to assist these people in distress or financial ruin. I am
absolutely certain that I will not be the only one to send money to them. I do
not expect the Manx Government to foot the bill. As a TT supporter I do not
wish any loss on the business houses. Get a financial support system into place
that we can contribute towards.
Next thing-on Mad Sunday, the real one
that is.( There could be a Mad Monday Tuesday and Wednesday from Festival goers
making their own fun) On Mad Sunday. Make the mountain a toll road and collect
five quid off every person who wishes to ride across the mountain. You will
collect plenty of money. Give it to the business houses. They deserve it and I
cannot be there to give it to them direct.
The TT prize money. It will
not be paid this year. Give some money to the Southern 100 organisers so the
racers who wish to attend, that is if the disease is under control and the
Southern 100 can proceed, will get some money to carry on with. The Road Race
riders are good people and also deserve some kind of support so they can keep
up the payments on their already stretched budgets. They need to keep up as
much racing as possible on the roads before the short circuit promoters swallow
them up in inescapable contracts. Use some of the TT prizemoney to recompense
the teams and sponsors who lost out over the cancellation.Half of them will
probably give it back to those more needy.
The rest of the
prizemoney-give it to the Joey Dunlop Fund for injured riders. But I will not
go over there and take part in the "Festival" you have invited me to. You can
have the money, but I will stay away thanks all the same. But I will be there
in 2002 and I shall do my very best to make sure that I will spend up large
To all my friends on the Island-just wait. Its only 56 more
weeks to go and you can be sure the next one will be a real bonzer.
Kindest Thoughts Are With You.
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