[UPDATE, April 16, 2021: The Isle of Wight Council announced today that the planned IoW Motorcycle Road Race event will not take place in 2021 after all. It cited COVID-19-related uncertainty, as well as a “lack of consultation” regarding logistics and other details, according to local media.
“Lockdown delays have simply run down the clock for an event this year, so we are now working towards our contingency dates in 2022. More details will follow shortly via our website, which will be live from Wednesday, April 21,” an Isle of Wight Road Races spokesperson told the County Press. No further information, even about something as general as a rough idea of the season this event might take place, is available as of yet.
The inaugural Isle of Wight Diamond Races event was also originally scheduled for 2021, and was already postponed until 2022. In fact, it was in the wake of that postponement that some of the same organizers began discussions about holding this alternate Road Races event instead. It’s unclear at this point whether both race events on the Isle of Wight will go ahead during the same year, or if organizers will consider other scheduling options going forward, once the pandemic is no longer actively scuppering attempts at event scheduling.]
[UPDATE, April 7, 2021: Local publication News on the Wight obtained some leaked briefing documents about the IWRR event, as well as some local parish council minutes. According to them, while the Diamond Races was intended as a time trial, the IWRR will instead see 10 to 15 competitors race each other at the same time, in a road race format, between October 20 and 24.
The proposed course will be about 8.27 miles in length, and will feature three days of practice, with qualifying also held on that third day. The fourth day will be all about racing, if these plans go through as currently written.]
Original piece follows.
In February, 2021, news broke that the inaugural Isle of Wight Diamond Races event scheduled for October, 2021, had been postponed. It’s now tentatively penciled in for some time in 2022, although exact dates have yet to be announced. Most probably, absolutely no one was surprised by this news because we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic.
As 2021 rolls on, more events are being canceled, postponed, or otherwise changed. However, there are also other events that are going ahead with some cautionary modifications. Interestingly, not long after the Diamond Races event organizers announced their 2021 postponement, a separate Isle of Wight Road Races event was announced, according to local publication the County Press.
“All live events have been severely affected by the pandemic and we’re no exception,” a spokesperson for the IW races told the County Press.
"We’ve used the past six months to build important relationships locally and in the world of motorcycle racing. We’re determined to keep the Isle of Wight firmly on the UK’s motorsport map.”
To that end, organizers are currently planning the Isle of Wight Road Races, which will be a time trials event. Discussions about it are starting within the affected parish councils today, April 6, 2021. The planned course would have a base around Tapnell Farm, with a course that goes around Brook, Freshwater, and Compton. For those unfamiliar, all these locations are on the southwest side of the Isle, and would take competitors alongside the English Channel.
At a February meeting of the Brighstone Parish Council, residents expressed the usual type of NIMBY concerns you’d probably expect, about noise, and disruption of a vibrant tourist economy, and so on. While there’s certainly an argument to be made about road congestion, looking at how many tourists flock to the Isle of Man because of the TT, it doesn’t seem like the idea that a road race event would prevent tourism holds much water.
In any case, while organizers are hoping to hold that event later in 2021, there’s still plenty of work to be done before it’s formally announced. The state of the pandemic and local lockdowns will naturally play a role, for example. Still, it’s nice to see that they’re trying.