The number of motorcycles which travelled to the 2017 Isle of Man Steam Packet Company International Southern 100 Road Races was up 12.5% on last year, it has been announced.
The Steam Packet Company has confirmed 997 motorcycles were brought to the Island for the four-day road racing event held around the 4.25-mile Billown Course near Castletown, an increase on the 883 carried in 2016.
Total passenger numbers were also up, by 4.8% to more than 7,700, as were the number of cars, vans and trailers, with an increase of 4.5% on 2016.
Fans were treated to outstanding action at the ‘friendly races’, which saw lap and race records tumble between 10th and 13th July.
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The Southern 100, which we have proudly been title sponsor of for almost two decades, is attracting more and more fans eager to see thrilling, close road racing and enjoy the unique atmosphere of one of the most popular meetings of the year.
‘The numbers which travel are still quite modest when compared with the TT, for example, but it is clear the Southern 100 is growing and a real asset to the Isle of Man’s visitor economy. To put the numbers in context, we have carried almost 1,000 motorcycles to the Island for the Southern 100 this year, compared with a total of just over 4,000 which travelled to the 2016 Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling, which incorporates the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix.’
He added: ‘Yet again, the Southern 100 delivered brilliant racing across all the classes and we were delighted to see Manxman Dan Kneen, who we sponsor, take three podium finishes, including runner-up in the blue riband Solo Championship.’
Alongside its long-standing title sponsorship of the Southern 100, the Steam Packet Company has worked with the organisers on a series of initiatives to boost attendance and safety, including the introduction this year of a travel discount scheme for marshals.
Photograph: Dean Harrison leads Michael Dunlop and Dan Kneen in the Solo Championship race at the 2017 Isle of Man Steam Packet Company International Southern 100 Road Races (Ryan Crawley