Following the recent announcement that the new IMG contract for the FIA World Rallycross UK round of the championship will be awarded to Silverstone in 2018, Lydden hill circuit spokesman Pat Doran reported that he had mixed feelings regarding the decision.
Pat explained that after a long break, Lydden bought European Rallycross back to the UK, following this achievement went on to support IMG to winning and bringing the UK World Rallycross Championship round back into the UK and had enjoyed working with IMG over the last few years to put the UK event on the map and grow it into the success and standard that spectators around the world enjoy today.
Pat went onto say that the Lydden team have worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the sport over the last ten years. Previous circuit Directors Amy Doran, Willie Woods and the new Circuit Director Pauline Gevaux have done tremendous work to bring Rallycross up to where it is in this country today. However, I don’t think that we can ignore part of the initial contract discussions with IMG which included the delivery of a development plan at Lydden Hill. In 2015 the circuit applied to Dover District Council to build a new entrance, grandstands and hospitality centre which fell in line with the rising demands of the growing event and customer expectations. However the application has dragged on and although I have never based the new development on keeping the world championship contract, I feel sure our inability to deliver the new facilities in a timely manner may have slightly influenced the promotors decision to move the WRX . Having said that we do recognise the event has developed and grown faster year on year than the circuit plans by about two years. So in essence, it could be considered that we are a victim of our own success.
In the meantime, our eyes are on this years 2017 WRX event at Lydden on the 27th & 28th of May we anticipate that it will be the most memorable , particularly as it is the 50th year celebration of Rallycross at Lydden hill 'the birthplace of Rallycross'. However after this years event, I do wish Silverstone every success with their first WRX event in 2018.
So what next for us? The circuit, although sad to lose the world event, is looking forward with excitement and optimism that the planning application for the new facilities will come to fruition.
Rallycross is still a big focus for Lydden. We enjoy a fantastic working relationship with BARC who have worked very hard to bring the sport forward and we will continue to work with them helping to grow the British Rallycross championship as it goes from strength to strength.
Other events the Lydden team are currently putting together will include truck, motorbike, classic car shows, classic touring cars and cycling events to name a few of the areas under the teams focus in the new events calendar. We also look forward to working with event partners such as the BHP show who bring a fantastic ever popular event to the circuit each year.
I feel confident the circuit will to thrive and we look forward to being able to offer fabulous new facilities and an exciting events calendar to our customers in the near future and who knows, we may yet see the WRX World Rallycross event back at Lydden one day, as it will always be the home of Rallycross!
Photo Credit: FIAWorldRallycross.co.uk