The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is to sponsor the Newcomers race at this year’s Manx Grand Prix, further endorsing its commitment to the festival, which this year is currently showing a 12% increase in the number of motorcycles booked to visit the Island.

Forward bookings for the MGP fortnight are up overall on the same period last year, with cars and vans showing a smaller growth of just over 2%, and overall passenger figures are up nearly 4%.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘It’s great to see passenger bookings increasing for the MGP Festival, and particularly pleasing that the number of visiting bikes has risen so significantly. We’ve long supported the MGP, through offering discounted travel to competitors, marshals and paramedics.

‘To further endorse our commitment to growing this important event, we are sponsoring the Newcomers race, to be held this year on Saturday, August 27.’

In addition, the Company is once again sponsoring the Classic Bike Display, which will be in a marquee at The Grandstand from Saturday, August 20 till Sunday, September 4.

Mark explained: ‘Chris Wilson, who owns the collection, is part of a worldwide, membership-based organisation of racing bike collectors called Amicale which aims to provide genuine bikes at events and displays. The collection includes machines from the four leading Japanese manufacturers and bikes that have been ridden to world championships, as well as TT victories, and features machines that have been part of some of the most memorable moments on the Mountain Course’s 100-year history.’

As part of the ‘Party on the Prom’ events on Tuesday, August 30  the Vintage Motor Cycle Club will be holding a Concourse D’elegance on Douglas Promenade. The winner will receive the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s ‘best-in-show award’ of a return ferry ticket, for a bike plus two, to next year’s MGP Festival.