Teams clamour to sign up for centenary
The races continue to have the support of all of the major road racing teams who lobbied the sports governing bodies to ensure that TT2007 did not clash with any other relevant event. British Superbike teams HM Plant Honda, Stobart Honda, TAS Suzuki, AIM Yamaha and Hawk Kawasaki, World Superbike outfit Klaffi Honda and real road racing specialists Uel Duncan Racing, Millsport Yamaha, DMRR Honda Racing, Team Blackhorse Finance and Martin Bullock Raceteam have all confirmed their participation in the centenary races.
The TT organisers have also recently received interest from three other BSB teams yet to compete at the TT plus another major manufacturer currently not competing on an official level at the event.
TT2007 is expected to produce the closest racing for years with experienced riders like Ian Lougher, Kiwi Bruce Anstey and 11 times winner John McGuinness facing fierce competition from exciting BSB riders Ian Hutchinson and Guy Martin as well as the new breed of TT rider like Australia’s Cameron Donald and American Jeremy Toye. Manxman Conor Cummins is also expected to be among the leaders after a sensational debut season in 2006. Race organisers are currently in discussions with several high profile newcomers for TT 2007, with preliminary details set to be announced later in the year.
Manx sidecar legend Dave Molyneux teams up with one of the most successful passengers of all time, Rick Long. Like the solo classes competition will be stiff, with the likes of fellow local Nick Crowe and World Championship aces Klaus Klaffenböck, Steve Norbury, Tom Hanks and Andy Laidlow to contend with. Ongoing negotiations are taking place with a number of talented sidecar crews including several current World Superside contenders.
The uniquely qualified Manx Motor Cycle Club will again organise the racing and parade activity having recently signed a new contract with the Department.
Minister for Tourism and Leisure David Cretney MHK commented: “We are very excited about the positive feedback we have received from a number of competitors and teams and believe that the standard of racing at TT2007 will be a fitting tribute to the centenary”.
TT Legends confirm attendance for Centenary celebrations
Some of the most iconic riders from TT history will be taking to the TT Mountain Circuit again in 2007. They and others will be riding legendary TT machines from Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, MV Agusta, Velocette, Benelli, Britten, BMW, Norton and many more. Among those already confirmed are -
• Giacamo Agostini - 10 time TT Winner, 15 time World Champion, 122 GP wins
• Phil Read MBE - 7 time TT winner, 8 time World Champion, 52 GP wins, Britain’s most successful GP rider ever
• John Surtees MBE - 6 time TT winner, 7 times World Champion, 38 GP wins, only man to ever win motor cycle and car world championships
• Jim Redman - 6 time TT winner, 6 time World Champion, 45 GP wins
• Geoff Duke OBE - 6 time TT winner, 6 time World Champion, 33 GP wins
• Mick Grant - 7 time TT winner, 3 GP wins
• Graeme Crosby - 3 time TT winner, 2 time World Champion
• Chas Mortimer - 7 time TT winner, 7 GP wins
• Charlie Williams - 8 time TT winner, 3 GP wins
• Tony Rutter – 7 time TT winner, 2 GP wins
• Luigi Taveri – 3 time TT winner, 3 time World Champion, 30 GP wins
• Carl Fogarty MBE - 3 time TT winner, 4 time World Superbike Champion, 3 time World F1 Champion, 1 time World Endurance Champion
• Philip McCallen - 11 time TT winner, only rider to win 4 TT races in a week
• Dave Leach - 4 time TT winner
• Robert Dunlop - 5 time TT winner, most North West 200 wins ever
• Brian Reid - 5 time TT winner, 2 time World F2 Champion
• Ian Simpson – 3 time TT winner
• Rob Fisher - 10 time Sidecar TT winner
• Mick Boddice – 9 time Sidecar TT winner
Earlier in the fortnight the exact time and date of the first TT will be remembered with a re-enactment of the 1907 TT. Starting at 10am on Monday the 28th of May, 100 vintage machines will line up at the start line in St Johns to complete a lap of the original TT Circuit on closed roads.
The organisers of this event are insisting that this is as authentic as possible and St John’s village will turn the clock back for the day with attendees encourage to wear period dress, old fashioned goods for sale, nostalgic cars, busses and steam engines on display, an authentic 1900’s town crier and much more making this a real unique event for the Centenary.
A ‘TT Day of Champions’ is also planned for Thursday 7th June with auctions, chat shows, music and other entertainment featuring world famous motor cycle stars. Most of the activity will be centred around the Grandstand and the paddock.
The hugely popular Paddock Walkabout, where fans can meet their TT heroes, will again take place at TT 2007 on the morning of Saturday 2nd June, ahead of the Superbike race.
Murray Walker OBE confirmed as host for Centenary dinner at Villa Marina
The black tie TT Centenary Dinner on Thursday the 7th of June at the Villa Marina will be another magical occasion where the history of the TT and motorcycle sport will be celebrated. Hosted by the voice of British motorsport, Murray Walker OBE, each of the 25 tables will feature one of the greatest personalities from motorcycle sport past and present.
The 200 Silver Replica Tickets for this charity event will go on sale in January 2007. A second set of Bronze Replica tickets will also be available for the upstairs seating in the Villa Marina, giving access to the talk show and auction later in the evening for a further 200 guests.
New TT Brand Identity Launched
A bold new brand identity, the first revamp in two decades has been developed for the TT races. The new branding, designed by Manx artist and graphic designer Peter Jones, highlights the races Manx heritage with the use of the three legs of Man and prominent use of red and yellow - the Manx national flag colours.
Peter Jones commented: “As the TT is unique to the Isle of Man, the island is as much part of the TT brand as anything else. The TT also puts the Isle of Man on the world stage and provides the perfect opportunity to enhance our positive national identity.”
The logo also includes a speedy swoosh symbol. The brand will not only comprise a new logo suite, but also supporting imagery and other designs to help celebrate the centenary.
Minister for Tourism and Leisure David Cretney MHK commented: “The centenary provides the ideal platform not only to celebrate the past 100 years, but also to take the Isle of Man TT forward. A new identity and logo was needed as a statement of intent to take the races into a new and exciting era.”
Marketing, Sponsorship and Licensing
Exclusive broadcast rights have been negotiated with Isle of Man based TV company Greenlight Television who have been confirmed until 2008. Greenlight last year sold coverage of the races to over 100 countries as well as worldwide stations. This year TV coverage is expected to grow significantly with broader interest worldwide due to the Centenary. In addition, Manx Radio, which has broadcast the races since 1964, has signed a new three-year agreement and will continue to be the official radio station until 2009.
A glossy, 116-page programme will also be produced by Mannin Media Group, who were one of 17 companies who bid to create the prestigious Centenary TT programme. Mannin Media will continue to produce the Official TT programme until 2009.
Motorsport Merchandise Ltd, the company, which produces and sells official merchandise for the British Grand Prix, the North West 200 and the British Superbike Championship, has won the contract to be the official TT races merchandise supplier for the next three years.
Island based The People Company Ltd has won the contract to manage trackside advertising for the TT races. The People Company has successfully managed trackside advertising since 1996 and will continue to do so until 2009.
Sponsorship agency Signature Sponsorship (IoM) Ltd has been appointed to manage sponsorship, commercial and licensing contracts for the TT races. Signature has developed a range of fully integrated sponsorship packages, which include high profile track signage, radio broadcast sponsorship and hospitality. The unique opportunity to acquire title sponsorship rights for the TT races is also available along with a number of category exclusive partner and supplier sponsorship packages. All revenue generated from sponsorship packages is being directed back to fund the future development of the TT.
Suzuki Great Britain will produce an exclusive Limited Edition range of GSX-R motorcycles to celebrate 100 years of the TT races. The Suzuki limited edition bikes which will include the TT Centenary logo will feature unique colour schemes, Yoshimura exhaust systems, double bubble screens and be provided with a unique certificate and unique number stamp on each bikes headstock. The bikes are planned to be available in the UK from March 2007 and will be available from the Suzuki dealer network.
The Isle of Man Post Office has also produced a unique range of stamps, Isle of Man Treasury coins and merchandise to mark the TT Centenary.
Safety Improvements continue for Centenary
Safety continues to be of paramount importance on the circuit and after the £40,000 investment in the latest Recticel Safeguard Barriers and Pole Protectors in 2006, the Isle of Man government has committed to spending a further £100,000 on safety products in time for TT 2007.
Incorporating a strategy of developing and supporting up-and-coming riders and increasing qualification criteria, race standards have improved dramatically with TT 2006 seeing the fastest and closest TT ever with all solo competitors qualifying for racing.
Over 450 marshals are required to man the circuit to meet minimum safety levels. 2006 saw 15 IMC training courses which resulted in 400 new marshals qualifying. A further 20 courses, of which ten are in the UK, have been arranged for 2007 which will see an additional 600 marshals train towards the Incident Management for Motorcycling qualification.
TT Technology continues to evolve
The Government Information Services Division within Treasury has been working closely with the Department of Tourism and Leisure to ensure that the timing and tracking information is of a quality befitting this prestigious and world leading event. The event will utilise an ACU approved timing and tracking system developed and tested over the last three years by Information Services Division in partnership with an Isle of Man software supplier. This timing system provides information to all the parties involved in the event including timekeepers, race control, competitors their support teams and sponsors. The system also provides information to members of the public via mobile and web technologies to enhance the spectating experience for those on the Island and provide real-time information to those who are not.
For the first time in TT 2007 an official speed trap will be installed on the Sulby straight and the top speed of all the competitors will be available. This combined with the integration of all competitor information into a single place will ensure the most accurate, wide-ranging and quickest possible communications between all necessary parties.
Grandstand Redevelopment set to be completed in time for Centenary
The TT Grandstand Complex is set to undergo a major improvement scheme in time for the Centenary including the construction of two new permanent retail units at the rear of the Grandstand as well as two refurbished storage bays. The area will also be resurfaced with co-operation from land owners Douglas Corporation. All areas of the Grandstand and paddock will undergo a facelift in time of the Centenary including the development of a new conference venue housing the ‘TT Hall of Fame’ and improvements to the Control Room and Race Office. New toilet facilities will be available as well as world class hospitality options.
Summing up the progress so far Minister for Tourism and Leisure David Cretney MHK said: “Plans are progressing well for the Centenary, and over the next few months we will be making further exciting announcements as we build up to the event itself. We have great plans for the entertainment and festival side of the event; whilst the new names likely to be involved on the racing side will capture the imagination of race fans everywhere. The TT has come a long way in a short space of time and everything is in place to ensure the Centenary celebrations work as a platform to build the future of the TT upon.”