If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Isle of Wight Diamond races, we’ve got bad news and some potentially good news: First, the 2021 races are canceled. Second, the goal is to instead start running new races in 2022, in a “carbon-neutral” form.
What are the Isle of Wight races?
In case you didn’t see our previous write-up about this event … The Diamond races were a new event planned for the Isle of Wight, an island in the English Channel. The idea is to build a new street circuit event, similar to the Isle of Man TT and other races run on public roads in the UK. Organizers announced the event in July 0f 2020, with inaugural running in October of 2021. The event was to be run through Britain’s Auto Cycle Union, with classes for Superbike, Supersport and lightweight motorcycles, as well as sidecar and electric in the future.
Roadracing fans were excited, as the general trend over history has been to see street circuit races vanish, with no replacement. This is especially true in the past decade, with 2020-2021 being the worst for it. COVID-19 has seen the cancellation of two Isle of Man TT events, as well as several other Euro street circuit races—including this year’s Isle of Wight event.
Good thing organizers haven’t given up, then!
What’s the plan for the future?
The latest plan is to bring the canceled Isle of Wight races back for 2022, but in a different format. Errr, sort of.
The old idea of running a TT-style event is gone, and supposedly, whatever happens next is of no relation to the planned Diamond races (or so says the write-up on the new Isle of Wight Road Races website).
And, whatever happens next is going to be environmentally friendly, supposedly. Again, as per the write-up on the IWRR website:
The Island’s unique UNESCO Biosphere status encourages us all to learn more about sustainable development. It is planned that the IWRR will be a proving ground for future energy. Partnerships are being developed that will place the IWRR at the forefront of sustainable fuels. “The Isle of Wight is an ideal location for us to pioneer the use of carbon-neutral fuels that are less harmful to our environment.
Our Biosphere status encourages us all to learn new ways in which we can live on our diverse and ecologically important island. The Isle of Wight Road Races will be at the forefront of promoting future energy technology,” commented the event promoter James Kaye.
Elsewhere, organizers promise a plan to make the Isle of Wight races carbon-neutral. So, all the spectators will arrive by bicycle or sailboat, eh? Hrmmm …
A path forward?
Leaving aside the snide comments on the difficulty of carbon neutrality in an event like this, it’s still worth noting that this is an excellent idea, and a potential path forward for the motorcycle industry. The problem with current alternate-energy motorcycle races is, they’re tacked onto existing motorcycle series. For the most part, the pre-existing fan base at those series dislikes these new bikes. The best example is probably the TT Zero; fans at the IOMTT are almost universal in their dislike for the electric racing class.
Just because older motorcycle racing fans don’t like electric bikes and other alternative energies doesn’t mean that there are no fans, though, and it doesn’t mean we can’t create new fans. Instead of constantly trying to convert gasaholics, maybe this new Isle of Wight race programme could be the start of something new: Motorcycle races entirely focused on alternative energy?
Who knows. The future is filled with uncertainty over COVID-19 and general anti-fun action by public and government. Battery bikes may be the best way to fly under the anti-fun radar, though, with their lack of tailpipe emissions and noise pollution. Change is coming, after all, whether we like it or not.