A new motorcycle road race on the Isle of Wight is being launched for 2021.
The inaugural Diamond Road Races is due to be held in October on a 12.4-mile time trial road course on the island off the southern coast of England.
Set to become only England’s second motorcycle road race after the Oliver’s Mount circuit in Scarborough, the event has a number of high-profile backers that should stand it in better stead than other failed attempts to expand the sport beyond its traditional stomping grounds of Ireland and the Isle of Man.
The late October slot has been chosen to benefit from the island’s long summer, with the exact date to be confirmed once the 2021 British Superbike calendar is announced as it will be scheduled to take place one week after that season concludes.
It will feature an Isle of Man TT style time trial race on a 12.4-mile course on the south of the island, stretching through the villages of Chale, Kingston, Shorwell and Brighstone as well as along the coast for a five-mile run.
If the plan gets underway successfully, the race would be the first motorcycling event to benefit from relaxed rules introduced into English law last year regarding road closures.
However, while other planned events have been announced but never materialised, the team behind the Diamond Races bring serious organisational clout.
Spearheaded by former British Army Brigadier Eddy Forster-Knight, a series of leading names from British motorcycling are also involved.
Isle of Man TT and North West 200 winner Steve Plater will lead rider safety and development, three-time British Touring Car champion Matt Neal will act as an advisor, and rider recruitment will be led by Neil Tuxworth, formerly the team manager of Honda’s championship-winning World Superbike and dominating Isle of Man TT teams.
In a major coup for the race, Isle of Man TT clerk of course Gary Thompson will also take on the same role on the Isle of Wight. In his dual roles as TT boss and secretary general of British motorcycle racing governing body the ACU, Thompson’s appointment adds legitimacy to the event.
There is also substantial input from the local council, with council leader Dave Stewart keen to capitalise on the potential economic boost for the Isle of Wight.
“We have been working behind the scenes for quite some time now with event specialists looking into the feasibility of such a race meeting, and we are very excited that we can announce another first for the Isle of Wight,” he said.
“We are committed to developing and expanding the island’s economy and this event is sure to thrill local enthusiasts as well as 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.”