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 Molly Calls for Prize Money Rollover

Seven-times sidecar TT winner Dave Molyneux said top riders should be given the chance to win the money they could have won this year but for the cancellation of racing. But he doesn't believe the prize money, about £750,000 in total, should be shared out among all the riders because most would never have had a chance of winning the cash.

Dave, who stands to lose £40,000 from the TT's cancellation, said: 'It is obvious I believe the money should be rolled over as I am biased, although I don't think the prize money for next year should necessarily be doubled.

'The top riders and their sponsors are the one who lose out. The money is allocated as a prize fund and that's what it should be. It's not a hand-out and should be earned.' He said that, on a smaller scale, a similar thing happened in 1998 when the first sidecar race was cancelled.

'The prize money was rolled over for the next race,' he explained. 'I then picked up £10,000 and I was hung drawn and quartered as the other guys felt the money should have been divided between every rider.' But Tourism and Leisure Minister David Cretney believes rolling over the prize money will attract riders who have no TT experience to next year's races. He said: 'I am not a supporter of doubling the money for next year. We may improve the perceived quality of the field but we may get people who are just in it for the money.

'We have deliberately encouraged new road racers to take two or three years to get used to it. 'Clearly we will be looking into this in due course but it is not the priority. I am focused on the activities for this year's festival and the hotel compensation issue.'

But Dave, of Regaby, disagrees with this view. He said: 'It is up to the discretion of the Auto-Cycle Union to accept these people. It is obvious if a rider has just come for the money.

'The ACU can afford to turn them away and it is all about common sense.'

Onchan MHK and TT commentator Geoff Cannell doesn't believe the prize money should be rolled over but does feel next year's pot should be increased. 'Some of it could be added to next year,' he said, 'but the prize money is part of a TT fund. We must be careful not to get people who come over just for the money.'

He also believes the starting money normally handed out to competitors should be invested into making the most of the 'festival' of events which will take the place of races.

He said: 'In regard to the top riders, perhaps they could be given some money to come to the Island and act as public relations agents and carry out exercises such as pit stops, demonstrations, meeting the fans, forums and book signings.

'I suggest a portion of the starting money should be given to each competitor, perhaps 50 per cent, for their trouble in preparing for the races.'

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