Lydden Hill Race Circuit
Image Credit: FIAWorldRallycross.com
Lydden Hill Race Circuit is a hub of motorsport action in Kent. It is the UKs shortest road racing circuit at one mile long set in an amphitheatre style venue allowing great spectating views from all points of the track. There are a variety of motorsport events held at the circuit throughout the year including rallycross, motorbikes, cars, trucks and more.
Lydden was founded in 1955 by Bill Chesson with the help of the Astra Motor Club. From 1957, they promoted stock-car racing and grass-track racing for motorcycles. By 1962, Chesson wanted to progress and laid a tarmac track in order to promote motor and motorcycle road racing. The original plan was for a 1-mile circuit but this scheme had to be put on hold when the tarmac ran out at what is known as the Devil’s Elbow; the result was the short circuit, which is sometimes used by Legends and Hot Rods.
In 1965, tarmac asphalt was laid for hosting car racing up to Formula Three. Lydden became extremely popular, to the point that in 1967 a meeting featuring Formula Three was televised.
On February 4, 1967, the sport of Rallycross was born at Lydden, combining tarmac and non-tarmac elements; the inaugural race was won by Vic Elford in a Porsche 911. Since 1973, Lydden Hill has seen rounds of Embassy/ERA European Rallycross Championships and FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers. To this day, Lydden, as the so-called "Home of Rallycross", still holds British Rallycross Championship racing, especially with its popular Easter Monday meeting.
By 1986, Chesson was under pressure to erect armco barriers, but he steadfastly refused to do so, on the grounds that they would be dangerous to the motorcycle-racing fraternity, he put the circuit up for sale. Tom Bissett came up with the asking price and subsequently bought Lydden Circuit from Bill Chesson, marking the end of an era.
In March 1991, Mr and Mrs Bissett entered into a joint venture with McLaren. McLaren subsequently acquired the Bissett’s shares in Lydden and became sole owners. They bought the track and leased it to the British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMCRC) from 1993 on, thus allowing both cars and bikes to have full use of the track. BMCRC were based at Lydden until the end of 2007, and it formed their home track, playing host to the annual 'Lord of Lydden' and 'Sidecar burnup' races, together with a number of club motorcycle race meetings.
From 2008, Lydden Hill’s current owners took charge with an extensive plan of upgrades and developments for the circuit, including its brand new state of the art Race Control facility.
- Wootton, Nr Canterbury, Kent CT4 6RX
- Location on Google Maps
- Map Reference: TR 238468 Lat: 51.177073 Long: 1.200804
- Situated on the A2 between Dover and Canterbury - access to the Circuit is just off the A2