It’s the news no roadracing fan wanted to hear, and certainly didn’t expect to hear so soon. The 2021 Isle of Man TT races have been canceled, thanks to COVID-19.
Government bigwigs from the Isle of Man announced the races’ cancellation on Monday, November 30, months ahead of the springtime races (typically held between last week of May and first of June). That sounds like it’s pretty early to be calling the races off, as we can’t know what the situation will be with the pandemic by spring. However, the Isle of Man government says it had to make the call now, because of the behind-the-scenes work necessary to make the races happen.
Lance Skelly, the island’s minister of enterprise, said thousands of people involved with the races needed to know if the 2021 event was a go. For that reason, officials “are making an early and logical decision to provide certainty and clarity to race fans and everyone else involved in our event.” In other words, John McGuinness doesn’t have to worry about bicycling all winter long to get himself into his roadracing leathers by spring, because he knows the races are canceled.
Some fans were hoping the TT could simply be postponed until later in the summer, but organizers weren’t keen on that either. They didn’t outright cancel the later-in-the-season Manx Grand Prix or Classic TT races, but if they won’t move the IOMTT to later in the season over worries of COVID-19 spreading, then it’s hard to imagine the other races running.
No worries, though—officials say the races will be back May 28-June 11, in 2021. At least, that’s the story now. With 2020 and 2021 events canceled, what are the chances the island’s residents will welcome the disruption of the 2022 event? With motosports hurting in many ways (especially public-road races), and much whining every year about the danger-filled event, not to mention road closures, etc., some Isle of Man residents are likely hoping the races are gone for good, even if the fans would be heartbroken.