2022 would have marked the 100th year the famous and historic TT scoreboard had stood in its latest position on Glencrutchery Road. After a brief spell on Bray Hill, and then another few years at St. Ninian’s crossroads, it was moved to the middle of Glencrutchery Road in 1922, where it stood until it was dismantled in 2020 to make way for a new, much more modern version. Are you sad to see the back of a genuine piece of motorsport history? Or do you think it’s time the TT was dragged into the 21st century?
I’m all for tradition. And I know, for a lot of motorsport fans, tradition is mega important. Especially when you are talking about an event like the Isle of Man TT, which has been around since 1907. And the old scoreboard, operated by local Manx Scouts, is for some, one of the most iconic and traditional things about the TT races. It’s true that is one of the only things about the TT that’s remained largely unchanged, in the last 100 years. The circuits been altered, the bikes might as well be from another planet, and there’s not one current TT racer that was alive when the old scoreboard was originally constructed.
In with the new
But there has to be a point when you say enough is enough. There has to be a point where a sport has to ‘get with the times’. And unfortunately, the old scoreboard wasn’t really fit for purpose in modern-day TT racing. I don’t know whether it was because there has been too many bikes on the course, that they’re too fast these days, or that there hasn’t been enough Scouts willing to man the scoreboard, but the old fashioned system wasn’t particularly reliable. A pit crew certainly couldn’t rely on the old system to let them know when their rider was about to enter the pits.
And after a recent survey found the old scoreboard to be irreparably damaged through corrosion, it’s probably about time it was retired. It was decommissioned in 2019 and then, with oversight from Manx National Heritage and the Department for Enterprise, carefully dismantled in 2020 with a lot of it’s more historic features being transported to the Manx Museum. Sections of the old scoreboard, as well as other TT artifacts, will feature in the new TT Gallery at the Manx Museum, set to open this year (2022).
For the 2022 TT, there’ll be some big screens showing the live timings and streaming the action from around the TT course, but that’ll just be a temporary measure. Plans are in place to have a new, much more modern scoreboard designed and constructed, to be ready for the 2023 TT. The Manx Scouts will still play a part in it, and there’s said to be a few little features carried over from the old TT scoreboard, like the Cronk-ny-Mona light, for example, which is illuminated when it’s rider reaches Cronk-ny-Mona, about a mile before the finish line.
Manx Politician Rob Callister (who’s partly responsible for tourism and motorsport on the Isle of man) had this to say about it.
“Our plan remains to deliver a new fit for purpose TT scoreboard for 2023 that reflects the heritage and tradition associated with over a century of TT racing. The requirement is now clearly defined following extensive consultation with all relevant parties including the Scouts Association – Isle of Man and I look forward to seeing the new scoreboard in place for race fans by 2023.”
I can understand why some think it’s a shame to break with tradition, but I really think this is good news. With the new live TV coverage, new scoreboard, and massively improved safety features announced in the last year or so, the Isle of Man TT, I think, is really investing in the future. Long live the TT.