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Group working to ensure success of motorsport events 24 October 2008

Members of the groupIMPORTANT progress is being made towards ensuring the future success of the Island’s premier motorsport events.

The responsibility of overseeing the strategic planning and delivery of the TT, Manx Grand Prix and local car rallies was tasked to a specialist team earlier this year. It followed the recommendation of a working group set up by the Chief Minister to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the Centenary TT and the findings of the coroner’s inquest into the fatal accident at the 26th milestone.

The TT Festival and Motorsport Arrangements Group (TTFMAG) was established in July to work alongside event organisers, government departments, emergency services and voluntary agencies. Since then, the 10-member body has been building on the solid foundations already in place and developing new strategies to improve the safety and prosperity of the Island’s flagship festivals.

Officers from the departments of Home Affairs, Tourism and Leisure and Transport have been seconded for their experience and knowledge in respect of local motorsport events. They will remain in post for a minimum period of 15 months, after which time a review will take place to determine whether there is a need to establish the group on a more permanent basis.

The TTFMAG comprises Carolyn Kinrade, Annie Gale, Paul Moore, Ed Swain, Nigel Shimmin, Janette Alexander, Bruce Baker, John Kinrade, Paul Phillips and Diana Corcoran. Their aim is to provide a central resource to deal with any issues arising from road closures made under the Road Races Act. Although still in its infancy, this cross-government initiative is already making great strides towards modernising the approach for future events.

The TT Festival and Motorsport Arrangements Group had its origins in the Centenary TT when a Gold Command Team was established to co-ordinate the day-to-day running of the 2007 festival. The need for a specialist task force was further emphasised following the inquest into the deaths of a TT competitor and two spectators in the closing laps of the Senior Race.

Under the leadership of Superintendent Carolyn Kinrade and Senior Business Development Manager Annie Gale, the TTFMAG is focussed on meeting the recommendations contained in coroner Michael Moyle’s report.

In addition to that specific role, the group’s general remit is wide-ranging and includes every detail relating to motorsport events that take place on public roads. This includes areas such as traffic management, spectator safety, training provision, wet weather contingencies, legislation, communication, insurance, promotion and commercial activity.

Superintendent Kinrade said:

‘We are not here to prevent any events from taking place, we are here to encourage greater consistency to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Different organising bodies have different approaches, but we are committed to looking at the bigger picture and promoting best practice across local motorsport. We work closely with event organisers, help them to put major incident plans in place and ensure their procedures are documented to a high standard. Our group is the umbrella under which numerous other agencies operate to achieve the common goal of improved safety.

Annie Gale added:

‘Organisations are understandably focussed on their individual events, but it is also crucial to take a broader view. Members of the group work extremely hard to look at the overall strategic positioning of festivals such as the TT and all that they embrace. The co-operation and feedback from event organisers has been excellent and we hope to strengthen those working relationships in the future.’

The TTFMAG is line-managed by Chief Constable Mike Langdon who said:

‘Members are responsible for the intricate arrangements surrounding the TT and other high-profile motorsport events. Along with the coroner’s inquest, this group has been instrumental in developing and modernising the approach for future events in terms of safety. It is already having a tremendous impact.’

FEEDBACK FROM ORGANISERS

Event organisers have voiced their support for the work being undertaken by the TT Festival and Motorsport Arrangements Group.

President of the Manx Motorcycle Club Barry Skillicorn said:

‘Having a central body to oversee events such as the TT and MGP is definitely the way forward. The work carried out this year has solved a lot of problems and I have every confidence in the direction being taken. All organisations should work together for the good of motorsport in the Isle of Man and while there are still many issues to be resolved I think the formation of this group has been a very positive step.’

Richard Bargery, Event Director of Rally Isle of Man, added:

‘Motorsport is part of the Manx heritage and we must ensure its future. I have been involved with the International Rally for more than 40 years and the amount of work required to stage the event has increased dramatically. In these days of litigation, organisers need all the support and advice they can get. The vast majority of people putting these events on are volunteers who give up many hours of their time, so this central body, working in partnership with events, is the way forward.’

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