Review: Lydden Hill track day

Review: Lydden Hill track day
We went to a track day at Kent's other circuit - here’s what we thought

YOU CAN be forgiven if Lydden Hill has never cropped up on your radar - the tiny track in Kent doesn’t host any large bike racing events and is best known for hosting the British round of the World Rallycross Championship.

However, it does put on a number of bike track days throughout the year, and we went along to one in June to test out a KTM 690 Duke R (which you can read about here).

Lydden Hill is located off the A2 between Dover and Canterbury, about 60 miles south of Dartford. Once in the paddock, you’ve seen the whole facility, which includes a scrutineering shed and a small control building.

There are no garages and the paddock in a bit of a makeshift affair, with people parking up on the concrete area to the left of the circuit, either parking bikes next to vans or bringing small marquees to help stake a claim over some space. It’s all quite old school and on the warm summer's day I was there, there was some charm to that but if it’s was cold and/or wet, it could be unpleasant if we had nowhere to shelter.

The briefing was concise and the approachable instructor on hand (there was only one on the day I was there) did a good job of detailing every corner, carefully taking us through what lines to take and what to watch out for. Lydden staff really took the time to talk inexperienced participants through the track and day with a longer, more detailed briefing for the novice group, and further attention paid to riders who’ve never been on track before.

The day was run very punctually – all the sessions ran on time and the handful of incidents that took place were swiftly dealt with so track time wasn’t seriously impacted.

There’s a huge amount of track time – a full day consists of eight 20 minute sessions. Because Lydden Hill is so short (it’s basically got four corners – a long right hander, a 90 degree left, a hairpin right, then another right to take you back on to the start-finish straight) a lap comes and goes in the blink of an eye. I wasn’t timing, but it must be around a minute, so it’s physical because there’s no chance to rest thanks to the lack of any lengthy straights.

Because of its short length, it was really well suited to the KTM 690 Duke R, and would no doubt be enormous fun on a supermoto. I spoke to a few 600 owners who said the circuit was a lot of fun on their bikes, but a litre sportsbike won’t get a chance to stretch it legs there.

The surface is pretty smooth, although there's a couple of patches in it. I'm not sure it's quite as grippy as a lot of other bigger, more well-known circuits in the UK but it grip levels were never a problem as I gradually went faster throughout the day..

There’s a burger van on site and although there’s no petrol at Lydden Hill, there’s a petrol station three minutes away in the local village.

There were a couple of guys taking photos when I was down there and £20 got me about 40 decent shots from my day.

The whole days costs £120 in advance or £135 the day (if there’s space left) but you can also turn up on the day and pay £25 per session – something that I think is unique to Lydden Hill.

All things considered, I'd had a great day at Lydden, and after doing all eight sessions, I'd had a lot of uninterrupted track time and went home happy.

Lydden Hill is offering you the chance to win a free place at its next bike track day on July 10. All you have to do is answer the following question:

What British Superbike champion honed his skills at Lydden when he was coming up through the ranks?

To enter, sign in and leave a comment with your answer underneath .

The competition will be open until midday Monday July 4. Entries after this time will not be counted. Lydden Hill will pick a winner at random and will contact you shortly afterwards.

Competition Terms & Conditions

Promoter: Crash Media Group. This competition is open from 30/06/2016 to 12.00pm 04/07/2016. Open to UK residents only - England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, aged 18 or over. Winners will be the first correct entry drawn at random after the closing date (unless otherwise stated). One entry per person only. Winners will be notified within 10 days of the closing date by email or phone. The name and county of residence of the winner(s) will be published on within two months of the closing date. The Promoter reserves the right to reoffer the prize to a runner up or use it in a future promotion if the winner cannot be contacted within 10 days of the closing date, unless otherwise stated. The prize does not include transportation or cost of transportation to or from Lydden Hill or food & beverages while in attendance. The Promoter does not accept responsibility for lost, delayed or fraudulent entries. Prize is as stated, no cash alternative. By entering this competition you are accepting that Crash Media Group will pass your details on to the prize provider who will then contact you by email/post with offers, promotions and other marketing correspondence. This promotion is subject to the laws of England.