Road Racing News

Age Cap Of 40 For Future Prospective TT Newcomers

An age cap of 40 has been placed upon future newcomers to the TT Races, as part of new entry regulations enforced by the ACU (Auto-Cycle Union).

The regulations which have been in place at the Manx Grand Prix, essentially means any rider or Sidecar driver/passenger over 40 years of age will not be accepted as a debutant to the Mountain Course from 2018 on wards.

It’s fair to say online via social media the new entry admittance rules have gained a mixed reaction. In particular many high profile figures within the Sidecar fraternity are concerned about the effect it will have for the future of three wheel TT competition.

Amongst those to express their views included experienced TT competitor Nev Jones, who stated via Facebook:

“In 2003, we had the immense honour of winning the Best Newcomers and Fastest Newcomers trophies at the Isle of Man TT races. I was 35, my passenger was well into his forties.

The other lads competing for these trophies were of a similar age, and went on in the next few years to knock on the door of a podium and did 110 mph laps.

While encouraging young blood into the sport, it’s also a fact that many come into it at an age where they can afford to do it, after their kids have grown up and flown the nest. Indeed, given the £25k+ price tag of a competitive Formula 2 sidecar, it often takes a decent age before anyone can afford to run one.

Dave Molyneux, Roy Hanks, John Holden, Conrad Harrison are what most would consider to be senior, competing in their 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s.

So, even a newcomer at 40 has a good 10-20 years of competition in them. But now the ACU, known for their wisdom, have informed prospective newcomers that they are no longer welcome if they are over 40 years of age.

This means Chris Walker, who proved his ability when moving to three wheels in 2016, will not be eligible to compete at the TT, should he choose to show his talent at the world’s greatest races.”

In reply to Nev’s post on his Facebook racing page, ACU General Secretary and TT/Classic TT/Manx GP Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson stated:

“Despite what some of you who have posted on think, this is not isolated to the Sidecar class or the TT, we have had an age limit at the Manx GP for a couple of years.

The TT and the FOM are unique events – to be able to compete on the TT Mountain Course should be seen as a privilege and not as a matter of right.

What we are keen to avoid is those who want to compete to tick off their ‘bucket list’ – and I am not suggesting this applies to Paul but someone aged 54 is not the right age to start as a newcomer. So that is the reason an age limit has been put in place.

Now I know this age limit is not popular and I know the Sidecar ‘family’ has and will kick off but this is the TT – not a club event.

People may think we are being elitist and if they do they are correct, this is the TT after all and it is the most unique Motorcycle sport event in the world.”

Words by Stevie Rial