Full live coverage of the races in 2022, and all-new schedule for 2023, plus new race classes, in the biggest TT shakeup for decades.
There’s a very long list of rubbish things which the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. And the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 Isle of Man TT is right up there. Travel and social distancing restrictions made the races impossible to run – but there is a silver lining, of sorts. Organisers have used the breathing space given by the last 15 months, and came up with a full overhaul of the TT, starting next year.
The first changes will come when the races return in 2022, with the launch of fully live digital TV coverage of the races. Rather than listening to Manx radio on a wobbly internet stream, a new digital media platform will let you watch the races on your phone, tablet, laptop or TV wherever you are in the world. Organisers say they’ve studied the best media operations of other sports, including F1 and the Dakar Rally, and hope to move the TT right up the global league of online racing coverage.
Prices for the live-streamed coverage haven’t been released yet – but the TT organisers are keen to say that it’s about letting more people see the racing rather than just making money. So, prices will be decent – and there will be loads of free content and race coverage to watch too.
Live TV apart, 2022 will also see some changes to the race classes. The Lightweight TT will be rebranded as the Supertwin TT – and the capacity limits will increase to 700cc, allowing the new Aprilia RS660 and Yamaha R7 to compete against the Kawasaki and Suzuki 650s currently running. Sidecars will also see change, with 900cc parallel twin engines like the Duke 890 and BMW F900 now permitted, alongside the current supersport 600 fours and 675 triples.
Finally, for 2022, the organisers are bringing a new expanded fan zone – the TT Fan Park. It will feature racing on the big screen, alongside a packed bill of music and other entertainment, food and drink, signing sessions, competitions and more. And the race prize-giving ceremonies will be moved to the Fan Park stage too – so fans can see the winners receive their Replica trophies.
Even bigger changes are set for 2023 though, with a new race schedule, aimed at spreading the peak of visitors out a bit more across the fortnight. The races will kick off a day later, on the last May bank holiday Monday, with qualifying in the first week as usual, but racing will start with the first TT Supersport and Sidecar races on the first Saturday, and the TT Superbike race on the Sunday. Racing will continue on the Tuesday and Wednesday, with Thursday off, then more racing on the Friday, and the final TT Senior race happening on the Saturday. It means that visitors can take in one of the two weekends, and have the chance to see one of the ‘big’ races – meaning hotel space, campsites and travel options should be easier to get hold of.