When news broke at the end of November, 2020 that the 2021 Isle of Man TT is canceled, it unfortunately didn’t come as much of a surprise. Global hopes have risen since the release of promising vaccine news, but the worldwide pandemic is still a problem. Even in a best-case scenario, the sheer scale of necessary vaccination efforts would be all but impossible to pull off in time for the 2021 event as scheduled.
We fans might be sad about it, but that’s nothing compared to the dedicated road racers who risk it all to compete in the TT, year after year. The formal announcement led 23-time TT winner John McGuinness to tell Manx Radio that he’s now considering retirement.
"I'll be 50 years of age when I next look down Bray Hill on a superbike and I don't know if that's going to happen. It's affected us all, it's my living, it's what we all want to do,” McGuinness said.
“The people around me, the family, the friends, the sponsors, the bike will be there if I want it. But a couple of years is a long time ahead, isn’t it?”
Nothing’s written in stone just yet, though. He continued, “Riders will be deeply disappointed and we'll miss it badly and I really hope the TT can return bigger and better than ever in 2022. 2021 would have been my 100th start and I'd really like to reach that milestone even if in 2022!"
When asked about the future of the IOMTT as a whole, McPint added, “I’m worried about that, it was one of my thoughts straight away. If the Isle of Man doesn’t need the TT after two years, are they ever going to need it again? I don’t know, but I really hope this absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
At the time of writing, the Isle of Man currently has Level 4 border restrictions in place. The IOM border system operates on a scale of 1 to 5, with Level 1 being unrestricted travel and open borders, and Level 5 being essential travel only. Level 4 allows non-essential resident travel to and from the UK, but only if IOM residents are prepared to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning home. Non-residents are not currently permitted to visit. These restrictions are subject to regular review, and will change as circumstances permit.
Sources: Belfast Telegraph, MCNews.com.au, Isle of Man