Lydden Hill



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.


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


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.


John Surtees finished 3rd on a 500cc Vincent.


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.


Barham Club ran their last ever meeting.


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.


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.


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.


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


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’.


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.


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


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.



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.


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


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


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.


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


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.




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.


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.


Lydden Hill Race Circuit (LHRC) wins the tender from Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship from 2020 with Lydden Hill Motorsports Club (LHMC) to be the organising club for all events. The championship was renamed to the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship, with the first calendar draft including rounds in 5 different countries England, Wales, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland & Scotland. LHRC & LHMC will be holding the tender for three years kicking off in 2020.


The Lord Of Lydden and Sidecar Burnup revival continued with its second year, crowing Tom Ward the 2019 Lord Of Lydden as well as Tim Reeves with passenger Mark Wilkes as the Sidecar Burnup champions.


Planning permission was granted to the circuit by Dover District Council, enabling construction of a new VIP/office building to replace the current office and an extension on the number of days the circuit can be used for quiet events E.G cycling, advanced driver training etc. This approval can pave the way for development that the circuit has been needing for a number of years and we are excited to see where it will take us.


The first year of the circuit’s British Rallycross Championship tender wasn’t without its difficulties, with the first round of the newly managed Motorsport UK 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship presented by Cooper Tires due to take place on the Easter bank holiday weekend in May but was unfortunately postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Organising the championship around the unpredictable virus, lockdown restrictions and added responsibilities for sports venues came with some setbacks but eventually the first round of the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship was held here at Lydden Hill on the 30th/31st of August with a fantastic competitor entry list and a sell-out spectator field.