Saturday, July 20, 2024


It may sound like some April Fool’s gag but, 114 years after the Isle of Man TT created what was once a unique genre, the Isle of Wight is to host an inaugural motorcycle racing event on its own challenging public-roads circuit.

Monikered the Diamond Races, this is set to take place on a 12.4-mile course in the south of the Isle of Wight in October 2021. The circuit will wend its way through the picturesque villages of Chale, Kingston, Shorwell and Brighstone, as well as featuring a blindingly fast five-mile section of the island’s coastal military road.

Exact dates will be announced once the 2021 British Superbike calendar has been published. Planned to become a regular motorcycle race meeting and end-of-season celebration, the Diamond Races will take place a week after the British Superbike season traditionally wraps up at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Action will kick off with practice on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a full day of racing on Saturday for Superbike, Supersport and Lightweight machines, along with a sidecar demonstration. An electric motorcycle category is under consideration for the future.

The team behind this new festival of real-roads speeding endeavour are certainly no joke either. Diamond Races co-founders James Kaye and Paul Sandford have been working on the project for several years, in conjunction with the Isle of Wight Council. 

Kaye, who originally conceived the idea, is a former multiple British Touring Cars Championship winner. Well-known local businessman Sandford, who has become chief executive of the promoter, is a hugely experienced serial entrepreneur. Together, they have recruited an impressive array of organisational talent and specialist skills.

Isle of Wight Council has given unequivocal backing, as Dave Stewart, its leader and cabinet member for strategic partnerships explains: “We have been working behind the scenes for quite some time now, looking into the feasibility of such a race meeting. We are committed to developing and expanding the island’s economy and this event is sure to attract visitors from the mainland and indeed northern Europe, which will help to extend the island’s tourist season and provide another boost to our economy in the final quarter of the year.  

The ACU is fully on board, having crafted event regulations based on the Isle of Man TT’s time-trial format. And the ACU’s TT, Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix clerk of the course Gary Thompson will also reprise his role on the Isle of Man as Diamond Races track supremo. 

The organisers have brought in a further range of bike sport expertise too. Key players include former race star and now TV commentator Steve Plater and former Honda racing manager Neil Tuxworth. They will be handling team/rider recruitment and liaison.

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