The International Southern 100 Road Races will have a new grandstand in time for this year’s 60th anniversary meeting, with help from long-time sponsor the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.
Organiser the Southern 100 Club has purchased a 171-seat mobile grandstand which will give fans greater comfort and, as it is covered, protection from the elements. The £70,000 needed to buy the grandstand was raised through donations and from Club funds.
It will initially be placed adjacent to the Club’s headquarters for the Diamond Jubilee running of the Southern 100 in July, but will be moved next to the start/finish line for next year’s races. The grandstand will be used for all meetings on the Billown course, and, as it is mobile, it is hoped it may be used at community and charity events around the Island when not needed by the Club.
The Steam Packet Company, which continues its long-standing headline sponsorship of the Southern 100 this year, has agreed to transport the grandstand to the Island for free. Manx Independent Carriers will take the grandstand from its manufacturers in Ross-on-Wye to Heysham, and then from Douglas to Castletown, also for free.
Southern 100 Club President Derek Nicholson said: ‘This new grandstand will be more comfortable for spectators, and with a cover will protect them from the elements. It is a major investment for us, but we have been fortunate enough to receive wonderful support, especially from the likes of the Manx Lottery Trust.
‘Bringing the new grandstand from the factory in Ross-on-Wye would have added to the expense, so we are extremely grateful to the Steam Packet Company, which has been a loyal supporter for many years, for bringing it to the Island for free.’
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘The Southern 100 Club does a marvellous job of putting on well-run and popular race meetings every year, and we’re always proud to be involved. It has been a magnificent effort to raise the money to buy this new grandstand, and I’m happy we have been able to help.
‘I look forward to seeing the new facility in place when the Southern 100 gets under way in July.’
Dean Harrison leads Guy Martin during the 2014 Isle of Man Steam Packet Company International Southern 100 Road Races (Glynne Lewis)