Back in December 2015, Lydden Hill Race Circuit took the decision to close public drift days. Not an easy decision to make but complaints from the surrounding residents as well as a few people not being respectful on the local roads made is unfortunately necessary. Lydden Hill can’t really be blamed for taking this decision, it was putting the reputation with sponsors at risk
I don’t drift myself but I do photograph my fair share of drifting, so as minor grumble, I lost my “practice” days. There was also the social aspect of it, I have a lot friends that drift themselves and it was always good to catch up at the circuit and see how their home grown cars were progressing.
But rather spend time talking about seemingly meek complaints, I thought it would be good to get some perspective from someone who was affected. A good friend of ours at Fueltopia is Paul Beechey who drifts with a group of friends under Team Lowmileage.
Paul, cast your mind back to late 2015, Lydden Hill regrettably makes the decision to shut public, what does this mean for you?
PB: I remember thinking this is real bad for drifting in the UK, with many venues shutting their doors in the past 5 years this was another one on the list. There was always whispers in the background that it would make a comeback just not in the current form which would always be a good thing for me personally.
Clearly this was bigger than just a single venue closing it’s doors, more of a general decline nationwide. What was it about the “current form” which wasn’t a good thing for you?
PB: The old way Lydden used to be was some what chaotic with tons of “missiles” in wrong groups etc. Impacting on seat time due to many red flags and stopped sessions. There was none of that on Saturday, the open pit format worked so well, option of twinning and trains if wanted. Otherwise it was solo passes which really took the pressure off.
Wow, so in the time they shut public drift days, they revised how the sessions would have been run.
It is fair to say that when Lydden announced the return of public drift days but at a revised and higher price point, it was met with scepticism. What would you say to those people after testing the new format?
PB: So far the new format appears to be working, the last practice day was seat time central and the new pricing was totally justified with the amount of time on track. I think Lydden will be improving on the format and all the time we are heading in this direction it’s a winner for the UK scene.
Glad to hear that it has come back stronger than before. So what happened with the noise complaints? Did Lydden have to make a deal with the local council to shorten the drift sessions? Or have they introduced tighter noise limits?
PB: The noise complaints will always be there. Lydden are running only 4 cars at a time max now and there is no drifting on chessons corner which is a real tyre saver. I know it takes the whole matsuri kinda vibe away from full circuit drifting but it still works. They have released another date with another new format. It looks promising and Lydden have really hit it on the head with an open track format. Good work Hannah and the team!
Sometimes your hand is forced and you have to go back and rethink things. Lydden Hill’s drift days were nothing short of popular in the past but there was always room for improvement. Having to call an early halt to them allowed Hannah and the team to sit down and re-evaluate things. Judging by Paul’s feedback it would see this was time well spent. I am happy to see the drift days return. The South East has a large drift community and it would be a shame to have it taken away.
I just need to get down there and see the new format for myself.