Picture by SWpix.com - 10/09/2021 - Cycling - AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 6 - Carlisle to Gateshead, England - Daniel McLay of Team Arkéa Samsic at the front of the breakaway during stage six of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain

Mud, sweat and gears: new events for 2022

The Isle of Wight is certainly no stranger to spectacular sporting events – and our choppy seas, scenic pathways and winding roads provide the perfect arenas to host them.

We’ve got everything from Walk the Wight – where thousands of people trek the length of the Island, starting by Culver Down and ending at the colourful cliffs of Alum Bay – to Cowes Week, one of the largest sailing regattas in the world which has been running since the year 1826. Then there’s the Isle of Wight Challenge, the Festival of Running and the momentous Round the Island Race (which involves 1,400 boats and 15,000 sailors racing to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight counterclockwise!).

But stop! Before you grease up that bicycle chain or invest in a new sou’wester, don’t make any firm plans just yet – we’ve also got three exciting new sporting events to tell you about, which all make their Isle of Wight debut in 2022!

A man in a high visibility vest waving a black and white chequered flag

Isle of Wight Speed Trials

First out of the starting grid in April is the Isle of Wight Speed Trials – a thrilling motor racing spectacle whizzing its way to Sandown Bay. Not seen on the Island’s roads since the late 1950s, a change to the law has meant public roads can now become temporary race tracks and racing cars can take to the tarmac once again. The competitive event is run using a point-to-point sprint format and will feature a diverse range of cars. Also known as “The Sandown Sprint”, you can expect chequered flags, shining trophies and precision performance driving along the Culver Parade track.

Picture by SWpix.com - 05/09/2021 - Cycling - AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 1 - Penzance to Bodmin, England - Qhubeka Nexthash's Nicholas Dlamini at the front.

Tour of Britain

If sprockets and peletons are more your thing, the arrival of the Tour of Britain in September should be right up your street. Comprising eight stages and stretching from one end of the UK to the other, to describe this prestigious pro cycling race as ‘gruelling’ would certainly be an understatement. Last year the race covered over 800 miles with the fastest cyclist completing the tour after more than 31 hours in the saddle (ouch, that’s got to chafe!) Not for the faint-hearted, previous winners of the leader’s blue jersey have included none other than Sir Bradley Wiggins and Lars Bloom.

The route for 2022 sees the cyclists setting off in Aberdeen on the Scottish east coast before working their way down the country, via Nottinghamshire, before a final leg on the Isle of Wight. Whilst the Island has seen its fair share of professional cycling in the past (including the Sealink International in 1985 and Tour Series in 2015), this year will be the first time the Tour of Britain has visited us – and it’s set to be our biggest cycling event ever! With up to 150,000 spectators attending a single stage of the course in previous years, we’d recommend arriving super early if you want to see the race in person.

Rugby sevens

Hands setting up a rugby ball

A sport that is gaining more and more attention across the world with annual tournaments in places such as Dubai, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, Rugby Sevens is a fun sport to watch with a fantastic family friendly atmosphere. Games are seven-a-side and played seven minutes each way – at full speed on a full size pitch. On 21–22 May Ventnor Rugby Club will be home to South Island Sevens. Over the weekend, 16 elite men’s and eight elite women’s ‘sevens teams’ will be rucking on over for the Saturday. Expect to see representation from Fiji, South Africa and Nigeria. Keen rugby players from all over the UK will be getting together on the Sunday for the Sunday Social Tournaments.

There’ll be plenty of food and drink and of course a cracking line up of elite rugby. Saturday will be a ticketed event, with numbers limited to around 2,000, so if you want the opportunity to see top quality rugby players on our Island home and a little bit of history in the making, this is the place for you. With the Sevens World Cup taking place in South Africa in September it’s a great way to whet your rugby appetite.

So as you can see, there’s no shortage of amazing Isle of Wight sporting activities to get those gears shifting, sails billowing and muscles pumping. What’s more, whatever you choose to take part in, whether you’re coming to the Island as a participant or spectator, in your car, on your bike, or simply in your hiking boots, then book a ticket with Wightlink and we’ll make sure you get there safely.

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