What Nitro RX’s trip to Lydden says about its ambitions

Rallycross fans have been crying out for a return to Lydden Hill for years. Nitro RX's move shows how serious it is becoming

Mattias Ekstrom – Action

Rallycross fans rejoice! International rallycross is returning to Lydden Hill!

Nitro Rallycross, the series that positions itself as the future of rallycross, is kicking off its second season by going back to where it all began. The announcement is sure to thrill the often difficult-to-impress fanbase of the discipline, and it will be most welcome.

Aside from a visit by the TitansRX series in 2019, Lydden Hill hasn’t hosted international rallycross since 2017 when the World Rallycross Championship made the controversial (and short-lived) decision to move its UK round to Silverstone before canning it altogether. Global Rallycross was set to appear at Lydden Hill in 2018, but the series shuttered before it even had the chance.

Imagine IndyCar without Indianapolis, NASCAR without Daytona; rallycross without Lydden Hill is, and has always been, very, very wrong.

But while us fans will be jumping for joy at the prospect of international rallycross returning to the home of the discipline, there’s more to this than simply appeasing those that watch.

Going to an established rallycross venue, ‘the’ established rallycross venue, it will be directly compared to World RX now. Personally, I’ve never felt the need to compare one series to the other, but some people will, so if Nitro RX is going to win over the old guard, now is the time.

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Both are going electric this year, but putting that aside for a second, Nitro is keeping its Supercar class, meaning this year’s races will be viewed-side-by-side with those from the world championship’s golden era, when the likes of Andreas Bakkerud, Petter Solberg, and Mattias Ekström were the darlings of the English crowd.

If there was ever any doubt from the rallycross faithful that Nitro Rallycross was merely a show and not a serious international sporting series, those doubts are now long gone. Not that they were credible anyway – yes the big jumps and dirt-heavy tracks of 2021 differed from the norm, but the genuine, fair on-track racing showed that it was already a decent sporting contest regardless of the venues.

Nitro RX has always made no secret of its desire to be modern, forward-thinking, progressive, and not hung-up on the past, but in going to Lydden Hill it’s now bridging that gap between old and new. Nitro RX is no longer ‘rallycross 2.0’ – it’s rallycross, period.

Words:Dominik Wilde