The legendary Manx Grand Prix has lost its iconic title as part of a strategic overhaul of the popular event by the Isle of Man Government.
As part of a rebranding exercise, the ‘Manx’ will now be officially known as the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling in a move that will undoubtedly anger the purists.
The decision comes on the back of proposals to raise the profile of the event, which will incorporate three Classic TT races in 2013.
Some of the current top stars from the TT are also being lined up to compete at the festival, including Mountain legend John McGuinness.
The races for modern machines will, however, still be referred to as the Junior and Senior Manx Grand Prixs for example, although the entire meeting falls under the new flagship ‘Festival of Motorcycling’ title.
The new-look race programme and regulations includes races for the traditional MGP 500cc and 350cc classes - rebranded as Classic TT races - along with new Formula 1 and Formula 2 Classic TT races.
The Formula 1 and Formula 2 events would run concurrently, representing the original FIM World Championship classes of the same title from the late 1980s and early 1990s and opening the festival to a new generation of machinery, including iconic bikes such as the Honda RC30, Kawasaki ZXR-750, Yamaha OW01, Suzuki GSX-R 750 and Ducati 888.
In September, Michael Dunlop - who won the Classic Superbike race at the Manx GP in August on a Suzuki XR69 - said he felt change was needed to breathe new life into the current model.
“I think it’s good that people are starting to look at the bigger picture for the Manx Grand Prix and although some people won’t like to hear this, the event needed a lift,” Dunlop said.
“It was flat this year and there was no-one there and I wasn’t for going back again, so it’s good that it’s changing.
“Not everyone will be happy, but it will help the Manx in the long run because it will bring more people to the event.”