The Isle of Man TT, one of the world’s great motorsports events, is canceled for 2021. The announcement came this morning from the motorcycle race’s organizers and Isle of Man government, the decision made due to concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The event was scheduled to take place from May 29 to June 11, 2021 but the organizers do not have certainty that the novel coronavirus health crisis will be resolved by then. Though there’s still six months until the race, they called it early to minimize disruption of travel plans.
“The TT relies on thousands of volunteers and officials across a wide range of organizations, and we could not move responsibly towards operating to that date and commit to welcoming tens of thousands of people to the Island in June, despite the progress towards a vaccination program globally and on the Island,” said Laurence Skelly, Minister of the Isle of Man’s Department for Enterprise in a statement.
According to organizers, the race requires 500 marshals to manage the course, and that’s just a small slice of the logistic ballet required to keep the 37-mile race operating (somewhat) safely. The cancellation also factored the health of teams, fans, and local businesses. Currently the Isle of Man is not allowing any non-resident visitors, and it’s unclear when that ban will be lifted. The virus has seen a spike in recent weeks, and it’s unclear when a vaccine, currently under development, would roll out to the isle.
The 2020 running was canceled due to the pandemic as well, making it two consecutive years that the race will not be held. However, that’s not the first hiatus for the historic race, which was first held in 1907. The Isle of Man TT was canceled from 1915-1919 due to World War I, meaning it also didn’t have to deal with the last large-scale global pandemic, the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918. It paused again for eight years, from 1939-47 during World War II.
A final decision has not been made for the affiliated events of the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix, scheduled for August 21 to September 3. The organizers say they will know by the spring of 2021. As of now, the next Isle of Man TT race is scheduled for May 28 to Saturday June 11, 2022. For more details, the race has set up an FAQ about the cancellation.