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Practice Week: May 26th - June 1st 2012
Race Week: June 2nd - June 8th 2012

TT News

TT 2005 is Super 4 June 2004

The TT Co-ordinating Committee has announced major changes to the classes and programme for TT 2005. The announcement follows a comprehensive two stage consultation process following TT 2003 and takes account of a wide range of views on the future of the historic event from manufacturers, teams, riders, officials and fans.

The key features of the new programme are a reduction in the number of classes and the harmonisation of those classes with what is run elsewhere. As the Minister for Tourism and Leisure, David Cretney, MHK, who is Chairman of the TT Co-ordinating Committee, explained:

"We are clear that the future of the TT Races is linked to production based machinery and we are looking to focus on those capacities which dominate the market. Equally, whilst the TT has in the past taken the lead in developing new classes such as Formula 1 and Production, we accept that unique TT classes make competing at our event unnecessarily expensive."

The outcome of this review is that there will be just three solo classes at TT 2005. TT Superbike will replace TT Formula 1 as the major class with machines meeting either the World Superbike or the British Superbike specifications being eligible to enter. As David Cretney explained:

"Whilst TT Formula 1 has stood the test of time for over 25 years, Superbike, which was originally derived from it, has gone on to be a world-wide brand. Superbike specifications are understood by teams and riders the world over so we are adopting an international standard."

When production racing was re-introduced to the TT in 1996 it was decided to opt for machines which were as far as possible at showroom standard with only essential safety modifications for racing. Whilst this has given the production TT a clear identity it has also made it difficult for organisers to police the classes. The FIM, UEM and the MCRCB have now developed their own mutually compatible rules for production racing under the Stocksport and Superstock brands and for 2005 the TT will introduce the TT Superstock class for machines meeting the technical specifications of FIM Superstock or UEM Stocksport or MCRCB Stocksport.

The third solo class at the TT Races will be Supersport Junior TT for machines complying with the FIM Supersport or MCRCB Supersport specifications. Mr. Cretney added:

"600 Supersport has been a highly successful class and we see it as a key element for the future, not least because it is a very popular class for foreign riders wishing to race on the Mountain Circuit. In fact the class is so popular that we have decided to run two Supersport Junior TT Races with separate prize funds and an overall prize as well."

Since the demise of the 250cc class, the TT has allowed 250cc "GP" machines in the Junior class, but with only six of these machines entering this year it has been decided to leave them out in future.

The Senior TT will then provide a fitting finale to the week continuing the format of a "race of the week" open to machines from the three solo classes. It will be joined on the final Friday by the TT Lap of Honour and Classic Parade as the centre piece of a developing nostalgia festival to round off TT fortnight.

As a result of these changes, two races have been dropped from the race programme for 2005 - the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight and Production 600. It has long been recognised that the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight classes have been under threat. The 125cc class has attracted under 30 entries for the last two years falling to only 24 in 2004. Whilst many will regret its passing, being the last true racing class at the TT, the organisers are simply unable to sustain it against a lack of support. The Lightweight class (400cc) which runs in parallel with it has been sustained to some extend by "grey" import machinery which is starting to age. It is not a class which is supported by manufacturers as 400cc machines are not presently a feature of the British market.

On paper the Production 600 has been the best supported class in recent years. In part this has been because many riders have chosen to run their Junior Supersport machine in dual trim to get two races out of one bike. In part, it has also been because Manx Grand Prix riders have been able to race at the TT without jeopardising their MGP status. In the context of the reorganisation of the programme, however, it makes no sense to run two very similar 600cc races and given that Production 600 is a unique TT class, the organisers have opted for the internationally recognised Supersport class.

Alongside the five solo races (TT Superbike, TT Superstock, Supersport Junior TT (Races A & B) and Senior TT) the programme will again see two Sidecar Races as part of the long term commitment to the tradition of sidecar racing on the Mountain Circuit.

The revised programme will provide enhanced practice time for all classes and following the decision for 2004 to relegate morning practice to emergency only for 2005, the possibility disappears altogether.

Final comments on the new programme and classes for 2005 was left to David Cretney:

"Having taken responsibility for the organisation of the events it was important that we listened to the comments of everyone with an interest. As always with an event as historically important as the TT Races, we have to balance tradition with a modern approach. One major concern of the manufacturers was that they needed to spend too long on the Island. Certainly this programme will allow them to arrive much later and still have sufficient practice time. Equally, however, for those who wish to spend a full fortnight on the Island or who need more practice, we still have practice commencing on Saturday.

Overall, I believe that the Department and its partners at the Manx Motorcycle Club have produced a programme that will underpin the future of the TT Races."

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