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INDUSTRY RELEVANCE KEY TO TT REVIVAL

Plans for the return of Isle of Man TT racing in 2022 major on encouraging competitive involvement from a wider range of manufacturers.

Although an at-a-glance programme for the 2022 event spanning 29 May to 10 June contains the usual roster of eight races, significant content changes to promote industry relevance have been made to two of them.

The Lightweight TT, which has been dominated by Kawasaki and Kawasaki-engined Patons in recent years, gets a new name — the Bennetts Supertwin TT — and a new rulebook. Regulations will now permit twin-cylinder machines up to 700cc, such as the Aprilia RS660, Yamaha MT-07 and Yamaha YZF-R7. So both Aprilia and Yamaha products will be able to compete in this category for the first time.

Furthermore, Sidecar TT contenders will be permitted to use 900cc parallel-twin engines such as those currently found in the KTM 890 Duke and BMW’s F900R. In what will be the biggest shake-up in the class for three decades, these powerplants will run alongside the 600cc four-cylinder and 675cc three-cylinder motive power that has long been the mainstay of sidecar racing on the Island.

Additional changes proposed for 2023 feature a ten-race programme. There will be a pair of Superstock TT events, enhancing long-held status as the industry’s favoured showcase for superbike models running in close to normal street trim in a real-roads sporting environment. The Supertwin TT will also double its presence.

And following the British Supersport Championship’s forthcoming move away from purely 600cc fours and 675cc triples to encompass other machines graded on a comparable “power to weight ratio” basis, we are likely to see a similar approach to Supersport TT rules in the near future. Again, this will potentially create an opportunity for more manufacturers to participate.

The Isle of Man Government’s Department for Enterprise, as TT promoter, is also making a concerted effort to build a truly global fan base through the launch of its own digital TV channel, streaming live race coverage online to a worldwide audience — accessible to nearly four billion internet users — plus documentary material throughout the year.

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