Since 1907, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy has stood as one of the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world, seen as the ultimate test of both riding and engineering skill since its inaugural race over 100 years ago. More than a race, or a test of wit, stamina and skill, it is also a massive draw in terms of tourism. Fanatical racers and spectators alike flock in, year after year, to the Isle of Man to test their metal, or watch others do the same. This two week long event alone in 2010 attracted over 19 million Euro ($27.7 million AUD at the time of writing) for the Isle of Man. Over 30,000 visitors flew in from around the globe to watch bikes go fast – really, really fast. Now, there’s talk of bringing that spectacle to our front door steps. That’s right, our very own Tourist Trophy, right here on the Sunshine Coast with the initial race pegged for December 2017.
The race is backed by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (the world motorcycle sport governing body), and would be televised the world over. This event could be a game changer for the Sunshine Coast, bringing us notoriety as a tourist and riding destination to the world’s motor-sport fanatics. There has already been a surge in local neigh-sayers, who believe such an event would be disastrous, disturbing local business and the way of life of the Sunshine Coast. But when you consider the mass potential economic benefits for our glorious region, it all seems a bit silly. How could anyone object to an event, whose older, European brother brings in some 30,000 tourists and their $27 million in just two weeks? Seems like a few days of light travel disruption would be more than worth the trouble, considering such benefits.
Elite motor-sport events are serious crowd pleasers, and one of the biggest draw cards for many of the world’s tourism hot spots. If it isn’t obvious already, I’m personally very much in favour of this proposition as both a fan of motor-sport and a local resident of the Sunshine Coast. I love not only the adrenaline of such events, but also the fantastic atmosphere amongst the fans. Unlike some sports, like football (Soccer), there are little to no violent rivalries – we don’t have hooligans. It doesn’t matter if you like Honda or Kawasaki better, are a Rossi or a Stoner fan, you’re a biker and a fan of the sport first.
It’s a different crowd from events like NASCAR and the V8s as well – bikers are a more sophisticated lot, and tend to refrain from burn outs and drag racing in the streets between races. If you venture out to local cafes much, you’ll probably have seen us in our leathers and helmets, having tea and chatting with our friends, or at the bar talking to locals; we’re a different breed of adrenaline junkies.
Personally, I believe the Sunshine Coast Tourist Trophy will be a fantastic addition to our calendar of events and will balance out all our amazing art, food, shopping and music festivals that we’re so famous for, not to mention the fantastic publicity. To learn more about the event, see this article from motorbikewriter.com that gives a full spiel on the events going on. Or you can check out this Facebook page.