An additional sailing has been scheduled for the new Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling this summer, with motorcycle bookings at this point up 25% on last year’s forward bookings position for the Manx Grand Prix.

The Festival, which encompasses the new Classic TT, the MGP, the 2 Day and Classic Trials and the VMCC Rally, takes place from August 17th until September 1st.

To help cater for the increased demand, the Steam Packet Company has confirmed it will now operate an extra overnight Manannan sailing from Liverpool, departing at 03.00 on Saturday, August 24th to suit the start of the new Classic TT.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Bookings at this stage indicate that the increasing popularity of the MGP we have witnessed in recent years is set to continue. The number of visiting motorcycles climbed 13% in 2011 and a further 9% last year.

‘Now, with the rebranding to the Festival of Motorcycling by the Department of Economic Development, the number of motorbikes booked at this stage for 2013 is up by 25%, while demand for cars and vans is up 50% on the same point in 2012. Some of our of peak day inbound sailings are already full.’

Trevor Hussey, Director of Motorsport, Department of Economic Development, commented: ‘We introduced the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling concept, and the Classic TT event, to increase the number of visitors to the Isle of Man this year and the early indications are that, even in its first year, this will result in a significant increase in the number of visitors to the Isle of Man and a positive contribution to the local economy.

‘The Motorsport team is working hard on all aspects of the new Festival of Motorcycling to establish the event in the racing calendar and ensure the event's long-term future.’