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Lydden Hill Race Circuit: Wikis


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Lydden Hill Race Circuit
Lydden Hill Race Circuit track map.svg
Location Wootton, Kent, United Kingdom
Major events European and British Rallycross Championship, club meetings
Length 1.609 or 1.400 [Rallycross only] km (1.000 or 0.870 [Rallycross only] mi)
Turns 4
Lap record 38.3 (Rob Cox, Lola LC88, 1989)

Lydden Hill Race Circuit (formerly known as Lydden Circuit) is the UK's shortest road racing circuit (many shorter oval tracks exist) at exactly one mile (= 1.609 km), based at Wootton about half-way between Canterbury and Dover in Kent. The track is mainly used for rallycross, drift, saloon and sports car racing as well as motorcycle racing. It may be only a mile long, but Lydden is a testing circuit, with many undulation changes.



The track was founded by the late Bill Chesson († 1999) and the Astra Motor Club in 1955. They promoted stock-car racing and grass-track racing for motorcycles, and it wasn't until 1965 when asphalt was laid for the circuit, for hosting car racing up to Formula Three.

On February 4, 1967 the sport of Rallycross was born at Lydden, thought up by TV producer Robert Reed (for ITV) and race organiser Bud Smith (750 Motor Club – Tunbridge Wells Centre) in cooperation with Chesson. Combining tarmac and non-tarmac elements, the inaugural race was won by Vic Elford in a Porsche 911. Between 1973 and 2009 Lydden Circuit saw a total of 24 rounds for the Embassy/ERA European Rallycross Championships and FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers, the first 23 (till 1996) all organised by the Thames Estuary Automobile Club (TEAC). To this day, Lydden, as the so-called "Home of Rallycross", still holds British Rallycross Championship racing, especially with its popular Easter Monday meeting.

View of Dover Slope and Devils Elbow on Lydden Hill Race Circuit

In 1989, after disagreements between venue owner Chesson and the RAC MSA about the safety precautions of the track, the circuit was bought by plant-hire entrepreneur and regular rallycross competitor Tom Bissett.

In 1991, McLaren 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 have been based at Lydden since, and it forms this home track, playing host to the annual 'Lord of Lydden' and 'Sidecar burnup' races, together with a number of club motorcycle race meetings.

Another piece in the history of Lydden came in 2003, when McLaren had an application turned down for Lydden to become a private testing venue.

From 2008 on the new lease holder of the circuit will be, for at least five years, the Waste Recycling Consultant, former MSA British Rallycross Champion (2002 and 2005) and FIA European Rallycross Championship runner-up (1992) Pat Doran. Doran, an Englishman of Irish origin from Thorverton in Devon, is planning several improvements for the venue as well as an extension of the racing programme (for cars and bikes alike) and his oldest daughter Amy Doran has been appointed as director for day-to-day running of the circuit.

Rallycross Track Record

Current events


Major events

  • FIA European Rallycross Championship (in English and German)
  • British Rallycross Championship
  • MSA British Rallycross Championship
  • BHP Performance Show

Local meetings

  • South East Motor Sport Enthusiasts Club (SEMSEC)
  • Tunbridge Wells Motor Club (TWMC)
  • Rochester Motor Club (RMC)
  • 750 Motor Club
  • British Automobile Racing Club (BARC)
  • British supermoto practice days and races

External links

Coordinates: 51°10′38.59″N 1°11′58.69″E / 51.1773861°N 1.1996361°E / 51.1773861; 1.1996361


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