When I left the Isle of Man after TT 2019 little was I, or anyone else to know just how long it might be before the likes of Peter Hickman, Dean Harrison, Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson and our own David Johnson would lap the Mountain Course again. COVID brought on the cancellation of TT 2020 then TT 2021, and many were starting to question if TT 2019 might actually be the last ever TT held on the Isle of Man.
Isle of Man TT promoters though are determined to adapt, improvise and overcome the recent challenges and have revealed extensive plans to kick-start the TT back into life at TT 2022.
Among the plans for the iconic event is the planned introduction of live TV coverage. A tenative schedule has also been released along with confirmation that the Lightweight TT, a long running staple of TT week, will now have a new name to go with a rewriting of the eligibility criteria for the class to better reflect the current machinery on offer. The Sidecar class also sees an evolution of its rules and eligibility.
The TT is hoping to provide uninterrupted live coverage of every qualifying session and every race so fans the world over can look forward to two weeks of TT action, with all the stories and talking points – both on and off track – streamed directly to their homes and devices.
Visitors to the Isle of Man will be able to enjoy the richest interactive experience they have ever had, combining the live sporting experience from their favourite vantage point with real time footage from around the course.
Launching in the spring of 2022, the TT’s very own digital channel will be the exclusive home of live race coverage, accessible via the live pass. However, the channel won’t be limited to the TT fortnight with year-round original content that includes an eight-part docuseries and a feature-length documentary film in the vein of fans’ favourite, Closer to the Edge.
Running from Sunday 29 May to Friday 10 June, the 2022 schedule boasts a number of small, yet noteworthy changes.
Qualifying for TT 2022 once again stretches over six days, with the first qualifying session – a newly expanded session – getting underway on Sunday afternoon. Qualifying then returns to its regular evening time slot for four consecutive nights starting on Monday 30th May.
The final session of the fortnight, however, now takes place on Friday afternoon, echoing the popular Thursday afternoon sessions of the past and giving competitors more time to prepare ahead of racing.
The most significant change is a revamped race-day programme, which will see a single warm-up lap for competitors taking place each morning before racing gets underway. By replacing the midweek qualifying and practice sessions, the change allows for a more streamlined daily schedule with roads opening earlier than currently scheduled.
The biggest changes are to be introduced for the 2023 Isle of Man TT Races, with the launch of an expanded race programme that promises more race days, more races and more opportunities to see that racing.
Designed following feedback from thousands of TT fans, the 2023 schedule would see the number of race days increase from four to six and the total number of races increase from eight to ten with the introduction of a second race for the Superstock and Supertwin classes.
Its introduction will coincide with the arrival of a brand-new, additional vessel for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, increasing travel capacity to-and-from the Island and allowing for more fans to visit the fabled races.
The Lightweight TT will get a new name and a new rulebook for 2022, with the latest regulations allowing both Yamaha and Aprilia to compete in the category for the first time in the modern era. The regulations for the newly badged Bennetts Supertwin TT will permit twin-cylinder machines up to 700cc such as the Aprilia RS660 and the Yamaha MT-07 and YZF-R7.
For the first time, the sidecar class will also be permitted to use 900cc parallel twin-cylinder engines such as those found in the KTM 890 Duke and the BMW F900R. In what will be the biggest shake-up in the class for three decades, the newly eligible powerplants will run alongside the 600cc four-cylinder and 675cc three-cylinder outfits that have long been the mainstay of sidecar racing at the TT.
For those making the pilgrimage to the Island, the introduction of the TT Fan Park is set to transform rest days and time away from the track by gifting fans even greater access to their heroes. Boasting full and uninterrupted live coverage on the big screen, fans can anticipate two whole weeks of lively entertainment, including live music, signing sessions, games, competitions and more.
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