The countdown to road racing season began in earnest when the Press Launch for the 2020 Colas Billown Circuit race meetings was held in Castletown on February 14th.
The venue was full as details were given of what is to stay the same and what is to change for this year. The main sponsors for the Pre-TT Classic and 14 race Southern 100 programme remain in place. Long term title sponsors Blackfords Financial Services and the IOM Steam Packet continue to be enthusiastic supporters of these events. The Post TT meeting has attracted a new title sponsor this year. Silicone Engineering, perhaps best known for sponsoring 2019 Senior TT winner and 3 times S100 champion Dean Harrison; have kindly stepped in to support the event. Early indications are that there will be a high quality entry list this year. The Sidecar Championship is to be sponsored by 3Wheeling; sponsors of both Sidecar TT races. The main grandstand has a new sponsor in the form of local home care services company Smiley’s People. All are very welcome, given the huge amount of money it takes to organise and run the race programmes.
The club’s reputation; the popularity of the races with fans and riders alike has ensured that the club’s sponsors remain loyal. Southern 100 Racing through its partner, Greenlight Television has coverage on ITV4 via 3 (one hour) slots and reaches a worldwide audience of nearly 1bn; including coverage on CBS in the USA. An innovation for this year is a series of podcasts; to be presented by Phil Edge; with Manx Radio the partner for this venture.
The solo and sidecar champions; Dean Harrison and Peter Founds were in attendance as were several of the leading contenders for honours. The consistent theme from the riders and sponsors in their interviews was that the club runs the events superbly and that the committee treats everyone with respect and makes them feel welcome.
The events need over 100 marshals trackside to be able to run. Attracting them is not easy and the club is fortunate to have Andy Brown (of Hunt’s Motorcycles, sponsors of the Solo Championship) as its UK Ambassador helping to bring over the over 60% of the marshals who are not resident on the island. Without the volunteer marshals there would be no racing for us to enjoy; they are the unsung heroes.
For the riders the preparations for the season are revving up; many will soon be off to warmer climes for testing; we wish them well.