The Isle of Wight's MP and the chairman of Brighstone Parish Council have expressed concerns about the Diamond Races motorbike event announced yesterday.

Up to 40,000 people are expected at the event around the west of the Island and centring on Brighstone, Shorwell, Chale and the Military Road.

Safety, consultation processes and effect on other road users are among the points of concern.

The Diamond Races are modelled on the Isle of Man's world-famous TT event and will see motorbikes roaring along the Military Road at speeds of up to 210mph.

Read more: 200mph bike event will put Isle of Wight on motorsport map

Isle of Wight County Press:

Island MP Bob Seely said: "Before I reach a view on this, I want to see more engagement with local residents and I would like to hear from parish councils, IW Councillors and Islanders. Press releases do not amount to community engagement.

“I am aware a lot of preparatory work has gone into this and I am grateful for the interests of the organisers.

"Have cyclists been consulted? Have horse owners and riders?

"We accept some occasional disruption to life brought by big, one-off events, but we need to make sure that the benefits outweigh the costs.

"We have significant noise and speed issues on the Military Road as it is, which affect the lives of residents along and near it and damage businesses. There are also noise and speed issues on roads elsewhere on the Island.

"Unless long-term funding for noise and speed measures are included on at least the Military Road section, I fear this race may turn the route into a race track all year round.

"I want to know what the organisers and the council will do to address this. I want more than vague assurances.

"I want more information on how this race will impact on cycling, not just over one weekend but in the build-up too. The Military Road is popular cycle route and encouraging cycling is important both for Islanders but also for visitors.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Rural Brighstone, Isle of Wight

John Cirrone, chairman of Brighstone Parish Council, said: “The first I heard of the details of the event was last Saturday when I was told by the chair of another parish council.

“I find it discourteous that there has not been proper consultation before this was announced. It goes right through the heart of the village.

“I would not want to say whether we approve or not without taking the views of our parishioners and that is hard at this time because of Covid restrictions.”

“I would say though that I worry we have been trying to deal with a speeding issue in the area.”

Isle of Wight County Press:

Will Myles, Visit Isle of Wight

But a warmer welcome came from Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight, who said:

"We’re looking forward to this exciting event, which we’re sure will raise the IW’s profile even further and provide a welcome boost to tourism in the traditionally quieter ‘shoulder’ season.

"With such a respected and well-known team behind the Diamond Races event, we hope that this will become a firm fixture in the racing calendar."

The weekend of racing will see a number of different classes of bike compete in time trials along a 12.4-mile course.

The course would be closed for periods and massive amounts of work would be done to make them safer for riders, such as temporary removal of bus shelters, road signs and other hazards.

Paul Sandford, CEO of the Diamond Races, who lives at Blackwater, stressed the enormous benefits to the Island.

He said: "The Isle of Man nets £50 million from the TT Races...we estimate the event here could bring in up to £10 million per year.

"Aside from that it brings massive exposure to a new audience. The Manx TTs are on TV in 83 countries and since our launch this week we have already had interest from Holland, France, Italy and the USA.

"Great event as the IW Festival is, the audience is largely enclosed in the site, while ours will be out and about, using pubs, restaurants, camp sites etc.

"There are 44,000 tourist beds on the IW and it would be a great post-Covid boost if we could fill these for an autumn weekend next year."

Asked about the dangers of the event, particularly on an Island where there is a perceived problem of speeding motorbikes already, Mr Sandford said safety was paramount and no-one wanted to be associated with a dangerous event.

The Diamond Races team would work with local bikers to encourage safer riding.