As the Isle of Wight emerges from two years of Covid restrictions, the summer sporting calendar is filling up with a national and international array of events, promising much for residents and visitors and capitalising on the coastal and inland treasures of the Wight.
The Island’s Randonee, organised by Cycleisland, returns on Sunday, May 1, and promises to attract clubs and teams from around the country alongside individuals keen to complete the 55 or 100 km (34 or 62 mile) routes, with thousands of cyclists enjoying our outstanding countryside en route.
This provides a foretaste of the jewel in the crown of UK cycling, the finishing weekend of the Tour of Britain, an international event that starts in Aberdeen on September 4, winds its way through North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Dorset, before reaching a climax on the Island on Sunday, September 11.
ITV has covered previous events, with international coverage on Eurosport. Last year’s star-studded race was won by Belgian, Wout van Aert, with reigning world race champion, Julian Alaphilippe, third overall.
Planning for the race has taken 2 years, with the IW Council and Visit Wight as stage partners; the Island has evolved as a venue since hosting an opening round of the tour series.
Shanklin’s 150th anniversary celebrations includes a week of cricket from June 29 to July 4, with the undoubted highlight being the IW v MCC limited-over game.
In August, Newclose welcomes the Northamptonshire Steelbacks playing Hampshire in a midweek Royal London Cup match. Northamptonshire have already signed New Zealand short format Internationals, Will Young and Jimmy Neesham, as well as Ben Curran.
The fixture follows the success of the 2019 match against Nottinghamshire.
June 25 sees the return of the Round the Island Race, one of Britain’s favourite yacht races, attracting over 1,200 boats and 8,000 competitors in 2021, and its international appeal ever-growing.
This is followed by Cowes Week, from July 30 to August 6; the world’s oldest and largest annual sailing event is not to be missed. With 8,000+ competitors racing, and 100,000 spectators, enjoying a fantastic line-up of day and night shore-side entertainment, this family friendly event is an attraction for all. Fireworks are planned to take place on the final Friday of the event, weather permitting.
There are also plans in hand for the 50th sailing of the Fastnet Race in July 2023.
Ventnor plays host, from Saturday, May 21, to Rugby Sevens, with representation from South Africa, Fiji, Nigeria, the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force amongst the elite sides participating.
The South Island Sevens, promises to be an action-packed weekend of elite rugby, with 16 elite men’s and eight elite women’s ‘sevens team’ battling for the trophy. Keen rugby players able to get a team together will be playing social games on the Sunday. Local schools are getting involved, and there will be a fun-packed festival running alongside the sporting showpiece.
Final arrangements are being made for the first event of the Island Speed Trials, with the Island Car Centre’s 2022 Sandown Sprint held over the weekend of April 2 and 3. For many it will bring back fond memories of the 1950s and ’60s, when speed trials and rallies were a regular feature on Island roads, including Sandown Esplanade before the introduction of speed limits.
All in all we can look forward to a spectacular summer of sport, showcasing all that is best about the Island. This will supplement and take place alongside the annual programme of sport that the Island maintains – a programme that embraces all areas of the Island and offers something for all.