The Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling brought a record-breaking number of motorcycles to the Isle of Man for its two-week period, official figures from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have shown.
The fortnight-long Festival incorporated the Manx Grand Prix, celebrating its 90th anniversary, Classic TT and a number of other biking events.
Figures show the Steam Packet Company carried 3,324 motorcycles, the highest number on record for this period and 15% up on the 2012 figure. With the increased emphasis on classic racing, it is expected many machines may have been transported in vans, meaning the number of motorcycles actually carried may have been even higher.
Total passenger numbers increased by 4% to 28,360 – the highest number for five years – and the number of cars and vans carried was also at a five-year high of 5,547, up 1.1% on 2012.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: “The Festival of Motorcycling proved a very busy period for us, with a record number of bikes and higher numbers of passengers, van and cars. It appears the enduring popularity of the MGP has been enhanced by the Festival of Motorcycling, bringing more people to the Island.
“We were pleased to support the Festival by continuing to offer discounts for competitors, this year in the MGP, Classic TT, 2 Day Trial and Classic Trial, as well as the VMCC Club. We also continued our assistance for marshals and paramedics travelling to the Island, and organised additional sailings to meet demand.”
He added: “We were also delighted to become title sponsor of one of the highlights of the Festival, the re-enactment of the 1967 Senior TT which featured John McGuinness and Giacomo Agostini, continuing an involvement which saw us sponsor the MGP Newcomers race in the previous two years.
“Our chief role in ensuring the success of events like the Festival of Motorcycling, as well as events like the TT and Southern 100, is to ensure we provide the capacity to meet demand, which means long-term planning and additional sailings.
“The growth in visitor numbers benefits our whole community, creating additional demand for accommodation, shops, restaurants, bars and so on, helping to increase turnover across the Manx economy.
“With this is mind, and looking ahead to increased interest in the Festival of Motorcycling, we are already formulating plans for extra sailings in 2014 to accommodate what we hope will be yet another record-breaking year.”
Isle of Man Tourism Political Member Laurence Skelly MHK added: “It is reassuring to see the figures from the Steam Packet Company that support the feedback that we have received on the success of the event.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners in the event including the Manx Motor Cycle Club, the Classic and Two Day Trial Clubs and the Vintage Motorcycle Club. I would also like to thank all the officials, volunteers, the TT Marshals and the other Government Departments as well as the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in delivering such a strong festival.
“The Isle of Man Treasury Department is currently completing research which will allow us to evaluate the overall economic contribution that this year’s event has delivered and the increased number of visitors through the ferries are likely to indicate growth in this area as well.”