Bill Chesson

by Tim Whittington |

The entrepreneurial and visionary circuit owner who provided the stage for the first rallycross event at his Lydden venue, and who encouraged and nurtured rallycross through its growth from television concept to fully fledged motor sport speciality.
Chesson and event organiser Smith were kindred spirits and the Lydden founder fell immediately in love with rallycross. It would have been easy to have given up on rallycross in the days after TV had, if not given up, then dramatically reduced its coverage, but Chesson believed in it absolutely. “It’s troublesome like a teenage child,” he once said.
Lydden was home to Britain’s European event, a part of the British Championship right from its 1976 inception, and also ran a very successful local championship for many years.
While he cared deeply for rallycross, his individual style of running Lydden brought him into conflict with the RAC (now the MSA). Eventually a dispute with the governing body led to Chesson putting the circuit up for sale – “…they don’t respect circuit owners like they used to…” he said.
Chesson’s reign at Lydden came to an end when he sold the circuit to Tom Bissett in 1988.  Bill Chesson died in 1999.
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