A couple of weeks ago details emerged about the first Isle of Wight TT – the Diamond Races, planned for October 2021.
The news has been widely well-received across the Island, but with some obvious concerns raised about safety of the event, this podcast interview News OnTheWight did with Gary Thompson MBE – the man in charge of safety at the event – could provide reassurance.
A reputation for being “very cautious”
Gary’s experience and expertise is second none. He’s been the Clerk of the Course at the Isle of Man TT for the last ten years and explained to News OnTheWight how road safety will be at the heart of the Diamond Races.
Safety of all spectators around the course will be Gary’s first priority, second comes the safety of the riders and the third is putting the show on.
With a reputation for being “very cautious” in terms of safety – for example, he is the first person in TT history to cancel the TT Senior Race – residents and visitors can be assured this is something Gary takes very seriously.
Minute level of detail
In our interview Gary talks us through the level of organisation that’s involved with putting on a TT race and how long the process takes.
For example, the risk assessment for the Diamond Races took three months to complete, with a huge level of detail being considered. Such as driving the course at a snail’s pace, getting in and out of the car to look forward and back at any potential risks, marking telegraph poles that need re-positioned (four on this course) because they are in the line of fire of a racing line, counting the 2,500 white lines that will be treated with anti-slip paint, the 177 manhole covers, marking out the 1,050 cat’s eyes to removed and where on the course new lines will need to be added.
Countless plans and documents
As well as this, Gary explained there are countless other plans that need to be prepared well in advance of the Races taking place, such as the event safety plan – which includes communication plan and traffic management, restricted area briefing, rider briefings, equipment manual, safeguard protection around the course, road closure manual, practice and race day schedule – broken down minute by minute.
And relax … sort of
“The worse thing for me is once roads are closed, the most intense period is when everyone is in place, marshalls are getting all traffic signs out of the way and turning it from a public road into the race circuit, and once we set the first bike off, although it sounds really, really silly, that is when I can relax.
“We have done the prep, the race has started and we now react to whatever comes next.”
There’s lots more to hear during our 23 minute interview with Gary, sit back and listen by clicking on the play button (triangle on the left) below.
9:14am 12th Aug 2020 – Corrected typo and added instructions on how to play audio