World Rallycross bids a tearful farewell to Lydden Hill Circuit this weekend in what will be an emotional send off.
Situated in East Kent between Canterbury and Dover, Lydden Hill Circuit is a historic track with a fantastic, sweeping layout. A friend of mine once called it “The Monza Of Kent”. Yes a little enthusiastic, but I can see where he’s coming from.
It is the shortest racing circuit in the UK and from the late fifties it attracted stock-car racing and with motorcycles, grass-track racing. In the mid-sixties tarmac was laid and it attracted Formula Three attracting such drivers as Roger Williamson and Tom Walkinshaw. it was around the same time which Lydden Hill gave birth to Rallycross and the first race was won by a Porsche 911 driven by Vic Elford. James Hunt recorded his first race win at Lydden Hill, driving a Russell-Alexis Mk14 Formula Ford and returned just under one year later to record a second win.
Since that time, British Rallycross, European Rallycross and FIA Rallycross events have flocked to Lydden Hill and it is tagged with “The Home Of Rallycross”. It truly is.
Since 1993 the circuit was leased to the British Motorcycle Club and it allowed both cars and bikes to use the track.
World Rallycross came to Lydden Hill on 24th May 2014. In that first year names who will grace the circuit this season raced and won. Andreas Bakkerud won the final and it was one year later when Petter Solberg took the spoils. Last season Mattias Ekstrom reigned supreme in what was a fantastic weekend of racing.
Andrew Jordan, who returns this year for MJP Racing in place of Timo Scheider, won Heat 3 at Lydden Hill in 2015 and he would love to repeat such a performance in 2017.
Yes, World Rallycross is moving to Silverstone, the championship is growing not only in stature but in numbers and popularity. Many Rallycross fans are sad to see WRX leave Lydden Hill, I am one of them, but emotions aside it has to be said that if World Rallycross as an FIA event wishes to grow and move forward in the world of motorsport it needs a bigger venue. Is Silverstone the correct venue? That is soon to be found out.
This weekend I will be attending Lydden Hill with my good lady (as photographer) for what appears to be the last time for a WRX event. It is going to be the usual fun, chaotic weekend full of mayhem and excitement but behind the smiles there will be a tinge of sadness. I won’t stop going to Lydden Hill as it will still host some fantastic events and the owners of the circuit will already be working on how to promote the track further.
It is going to be a hell of a weekend. Join us tomorrow at @PitCrew_Online as myself – @world_racing and my photographer @viv_simmons enter the heat of the bowl.
The time has come. It’s Rallycross and anything can happen.
See you at the chequered flag.