Gary Thompson MBE is the Clerk of the Course for the IOMTT. He tells BikeSocial about the challenges of TT 2019 and how he’s turning it around.
Rain, more rain, mist and more mist: conditions at TT 2019 have played havoc with the practice week and race week schedule. So far, out of two weeks on the island, competitors have had only two full practice sessions and one short session. Only three out of nine races have run so far - ordinarily - had the schedule gone to plan, we would now be preparing for race number eight tomorrow.
The ACU’s Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson MBE said: “This has been the worst TT I’ve ever experienced in terms of weather. I have never known it like this, ever. We’ve had some bad TTs but you usually get a window to fit things in. This has just been constant.”
“We’ve had only two proper qualifying sessions out of nine, which makes this the worst TT on record.”
But the ACU and TT organisers - the Isle of Man Government - do have a plan B, as Thompson explains. “We have a contingency day, which is Saturday but that brings about other issues - such as the number of available marshals. Hopefully we well get some races underway before the end but it looks like we will be cutting races short.”
Paul Phillips, the Isle of Man Government’s motorsport manager, said: “The forecast for Friday is poor but not poor first thing so the intention is for it to run on Friday but the forecast for Saturday is not great but the way the forecast has been I think we will do think on a 24-hour by 24-hour basis. At the moment the only contingency day in the road closure order is Saturday at the end and then after that that the TT is finished.”
The ACU and organisers are now running a full race schedule today with Superstock, Supersport, Sidecar and Zero TT but the laps have been reduced to two and three out of four.
The question now is whether organisers adapt the schedule in the future to accommodate the inclement, unpredictable Manx weather. However, Paul Phillips said: “I think that is for a debrief but we mustn’t get too hung up on one year. I’m 40 and I can remember 30-odd TTs and none have been like this. I think it would be wrong to try and do something too dramatic based on one TT. Last TT was sensational and then before that was poor in 2017 but then the year before that was sensational. You will get some bad weather but usually across two weeks you will get some good weather to put some racing on.”
The latest Thursday plan is shown below, but watch this space for updates on the ever-changing TT schedule.