Lydden Hill

History

1947

10th August at 14:30

This is the year that the first race took place at Lydden Speedway which was a grass track owned by Farmer Skinner who lived at Geddinge Farm. This race was on the 10th August at 14:30.

1947

Tom Arter was the circuit manager who was from the Barham and District Motorcycle Club.

1948

Jack Surtees (whose father was passenger) raced Vincent Sidecars. Jack Surtees was an accomplished grasstrack competitor and in 1948 was the South Eastern Centre Sidecar Champion. John Surtees then entered his first race at 15 in a grass track competition.

1950

John Surtees finished 3rd on a 500cc Vincent.

1955

Lydden Race track, later to become Lydden Hill, was founded in 1955 by Bill Chesson with the help of the Astra Motor Club when they rented the land from farmer Skinner.

1956

Barham Club ran their last ever meeting.

1957

This was the first sidecar race since Bill Chesson took over which took place at Geddinge Farm and was ran by the Astra Motorcycle Club.

1962

Bill Chesson managed to purchase the land from Farmer Skinner and began laying the tarmac track, unfortunately Bill ran out of money and had to lay the track shorter than planned, this loop in the track can still be seen and is used today.

1965

The tarmac circuit opened and was ¾ of a mile long, this was done in preparation for the first bike road race which took place on the 4th April. Derek Minter (former world champion) performed an opening ceremony on a Norton.

1966

The first Lord of Lydden was held and Charlie Sanby gained the title ‘Lord of Lydden’ on a 500cc Norton.

1967

The track was lengthened to 1 mile which resulted in the 70mph barrier being smashed by Weil. Lydden held the first ever Rallycross event on the 4th of February, conceived by ITV it featured a mixture of tarmac and loose surface racing for cars. This is when Lydden earned its title of ‘Home of Rallycross’.

1968

Britain’s first ever international grass track race was won by Don Godden. Single seater and saloon car racing became very popular. Many club drivers went on to become champions in including James Hunt, who won his very first race win here in 1968. The late James Hunt F1 world champion in 1976, famed for his playboy lifestyle, who went on to commentate with the irrepressible TV commentator Murry Walker who has also strong connections with Lydden Hill as a Rally X commentator, won his very first race at Lydden Hill in a Formula Ford in June 1968.

1970

Mick Grant (future isle of man TT winner) raced as part of the Lord of Lydden however couldn’t snatch the title from Ashwood.

1986

Bill Chesson was refused his Race Circuit Permit because he was told he had to erect a new form of barrier, however he refused to do this claiming it would be dangerous to the motorcycle sport. Rallycross driver Tom Bissett Brought the track from Bill Chesson for over one million pounds which was the asking price at the time.

 

1991

Mr and Mrs Bissett became partners in owning the circuit with McLaren, shortly after they became joint owners, McLaren brought Mr and Mrs Bissett’s Shares and became sole owners of the circuit.

1993

McLaren leased the track to the British Motorcycle Racing Club (BMRC) and they continued to run events at Lydden for around 14 years.

2003

McLaren applied to have the circuit as a private testing venue for themselves however this was turned down by the council.

2008

In 2008, British Rally X Champion and FIA European Rally X Championship runner-up Pat Doran obtained the lease for the circuit from McClaren and later became the owner.

2014

During May time Lydden Hill became host to the newly formed FIA World Rallycross Championship, this continued until 2017.

2015

Lydden Hill applied for the planning of new developments on the grounds which are pending approval, and with on-going major improvements, the circuit has a very bright future and is becoming a premier circuit in the world of British and World Motorsport.

Jenson Button swaps his McLaren Formula 1 car for a 600 horsepower VW Beetle Rallycross car as he takes on David Coulthard in the sport his father loved.

 

 

2017

Lydden Hill hosted the final FIA World Rallycross Event which commemorated 50 years since the start of Rallycross.

Lydden Hill began the their journey to re-surfacing the mile long track, starting their mission at the ‘Devils Elbow’ during the summer time of 2017.

2018

Lydden Hill Motorsport Club (LHMC) was formed in 2008 and operates in two disciplines – Car Racing and Rallycross, their first Circuit Race Meeting was on the 7th of April 2018. LHMC is a fully MSA Registered Club allowing it to operate events throughout the year, the club is also an ACU Affiliated Promoter allowing it to organise two-wheel activity as well as four wheel. Anyone can be a club member, you don’t have to be a racer. Please follow the link for more information. LHMC 

The lord of Lydden was revived, and the new title as ‘Lord’ was rewarded to Danny Webb.