A Statement from Richard Usher

After much speculation over the past few months, I am delighted to confirm that I have sold Blyton Park to Ginetta, which is owned by motorsport enthusiast Lawrence Tomlinson.

As part of the sale, I was asked by Ginetta to stay on as Managing Director of Blyton Park, which I am very pleased to have accepted. Ginetta’s top priority is completely aligned to mine, which is to ensure Blyton Park continues to be the UK’s busiest circuit, enjoyed by drivers, motorsport fans and manufacturers alike.

I’d like to assure you that for us at Blyton Park, it is going to be business as usual boosted with the investment we need to make improvements for the benefit of all our customers. We’re proud of the flexibility the circuit offers and we will protect that.

For those of you who are unaware of Lawrence’s background, he is a passionate motorsport supporter and is a successful racing driver himself, having won his class at Le Mans 24 Hr in 2006 in a Panoz. The very first car he raced in was a Ginetta so it was only fitting that he should buy the Company in 2005. For Lawrence, the brand had a great heritage, linked to the foundations of British race car manufacturing, which deserved preserving and reinvigorating for the benefit of the sport. So over the past decade, he has taken it from a kit car manufacturer and raised the brand above and beyond the glory days of its reputation in the 1970’s. Now known for its motorsport ladder taking young and new drivers form their first race all the way into LMP racing, Ginetta has brought many new drivers into the sport.

None of this would have been possible without Lawrence’s commitment to the sport more broadly and the patient capital he was willing to invest personally. No-one has done more to make racing accessible to more competitors than Lawrence and Ginetta.

Ginetta is therefore approaching the investment in Blyton Park in very much the same way. Protecting and bolstering the fantastic motorsport industry in the UK, from cars to bikes – whatever the creed – Blyton Park will be a venue where ardour for the sport will continue to burn strongly in all its forms.

I’d like to thank you all for your continued loyalty. I am thrilled to have found such a perfect partner in Ginetta to share my vision and enable me to keep an active role in the future of Blyton Park.

Richard Usher

Winter 2016 Update

Another record breaking busy year draws to a close… and we now have winter-track temperatures and much shorter days.

Don’t forget that we are open for testing throughout December and January and Javelin are still running track days on selected weekends.

There are some great bits of film on the banners above… just see how quickly Mark Hales hustles the latest McLaren round the Outer Circuit.

It will be six years in February since we put the first new tarmac down at Blyton and there is a short video above which hopefully shows that we have changed the place for the better!

I would like to thank all our customers for supporting us in 2016 and wish you all a safe and happy Christmas as well as a prosperous, healthy and fun year in 2017.

For testing opportunities please email Richard or Russ or call us on 01427 628922.

Spring and Summer weekends are all sold out but if you want to do a club or corporate track day, there is limited weekday availability. Please use theabove contacts for details.

 

March 2016 Updates

Please click on the bold links to view more pictures.

It must be Spring because we have just had a day with our friends from the world of F500. These are some of the most eccentric race cars you are ever likely to see but their owners are a jolly crowd who have run a test day every Spring since 2012. This year they were joined by some Formula Juniors and a stunning pre-war short oval racer.

It seems incredible that the Winter months are behind us and the racing season has already begun with a great start to the F1 season in Melbourne and the BTCC kicking off next weekend.

Due to the remarkably benign Winter weather, we have been really busy right through from November to this Easter weekend and as usual we have been privileged to welcome a wonderful mixture of cars and owners.

Quite a few of these have been able to sample the mighty McLaren 650S which I have been entrusted with by those lovely people at McLaren Automotive… and how impressed have they been?

Here is Touring Car rising star: Tom Ingram… the guy who re-overtook the legendary Jason Plato in an epic duel at Rockingham last year… I think his facial expression says it all.

Le Mans Winner Guy Smith, seen here with his new Focus Rally car, also expressed amazement at the McLaren’s abilities… and after a practice day here, went on to win the Jack Frost Rally at Croft. I first met Guy at Blyton back in 1990 when Auto Windscreens (which my brother and I eventually owned) was sponsoring a team called First Time Racing… quite a lot has happened in the intervening 26 years and Guy has enjoyed a career as one of the UK’s most perennially successful drivers. He is of course still contracted to Bentley and races all over the world.

It will be five years in May since we built the first new circuit at Blyton Park and although we have invested in the place continuously, our good friends at Jordan Road Surfacing returned in December to carry out a whole programme of new developments.

On the circuit, many areas of run-off have been resurfaced (and painted yellow!) which will undoubtedly lead to faster lap times in the many Sprint events scheduled for 2016.

In addition, the entrance road and paddock have benefitted from substantial areas of new tarmac.

We have also bought a new pick-up truck from Jeremy and the team at Nunns in Grimsby and the Briefing Suite is now fully heated.

In January, Dickie Meaden and the EVO boys returned with two amazing classics: the poster car for a whole generation in the form of the outrageous Lamborghini Countach and the utterly stunning Mercedes 300 SL. You can see them being driven on the EVO YouTube Channel.

Our Advanced Driving Academy Courses with Mark Hales have proved to be extremely popular with drivers taking to the circuit not only in the remarkable new MX5 but also a wide range of other machinery… from this gargantuan Rolls Royce to this sweet and unique Formula Ford by Ginetta.

Ginetta and their cars have been amongst our most regular visitors in 2015 and we were interested to see their new G57 when it dropped in with Mike Simpson to shake down: a very serious racing car!

Track days have continued throughout the Winter and the cars which participate are as eclectic as ever. I really loved this pristine Hillman Avenger and the Sunbeam which came on the same day took me back to 1984 when I owned a Sunbeam Lotus.

The revival of Rallycross is one of the “good news” stories of contemporary motorsport and it was a great privilege to welcome Petter Solberg to Blyton Park in January and admire both his driving and engineering skills in his World Championship-winning Monster Citroën DS3.

Of course Winter always brings out the rally cars to test and here is a Mark 2 Escort which should stir memories of the great Roger Albert Clark.

Experience days continue to delight hundreds of people who come to drive supercars of every sort. A unique take on this is Tom and Ceri Roche’s “Car Chase Heroes” who were here on Valentine’s Day with their unique fleet of film and TV star cars. Sadly Daisy Duke did not emerge in her legendary hot pants from the immense “General Lee”!

Talking of supercars, they seem unable to stay away… here is an expensive line up from an Owners’ Day in February and here is the new Ferrari 488 meeting its nemesis from the UK!

March 8th 2016 will always be a “red letter day” for me. Rob Hall finally appeared to shake down Lotus 72 chassis number 1, in my view one of the most iconic and beautiful race cars ever made. Chassis one was the prototype car, tested extensively by my all-time hero: Jochen Rindt and raced by both John Miles and Graham Hill.

Sadly of course, Rindt was killed in a similar 72 on 4th September 1970 when he decided that the car would be faster for qualifying at Monza without the front and rear wings. John Miles described the car in this form as virtually undriveable and Jochen died as a result of a massive accident on the approach to Parabolica.

However, having already won five Grand Prix that year, he became the sport’s only posthumous World Champion. Hall and Hall have made a stunning job (as usual) of restoring the car and I am extremely grateful to them for allowing me to sit in it. I was only 13 when Rindt was killed but I will never forget the moment I heard he had died only a few weeks after the equally tragic deaths of Bruce McLaren and Piers Courage.

Things were of course very different nearly fifty years ago… and in those days local motor clubs were the bedrock of motorsport and membership was essential if you were a car enthused youngster. For reasons which I don’t completely understand, “clubbiness” seems to be very out of fashion and many car clubs have ceased to exist or are facing a slow decline into obscurity. Fortunately, there are exceptions and we run club days in the week for enthusiasts to have a chance to drive on track.

Huddersfield Motor Club pioneered this concept with us in the early days and most recently Peterborough Motor Club joined us for a day of relaxed car enjoyment. The turnout of cars is always interesting as this assortment (a Sports 2000 Tiga, a Clan Crusader and a lovely racing “Anglebox” Ford Anglia) demonstrates. If you are a member of a club and would like to run a club day, please give me a call.

It’s Easter Sunday and the Scunthorpe and District MC have a huge autograss meeting in full swing whilst down on the tarmac we have the first motorbike track day of the year. For those of you racing or sprinting or even rallycrossing this year I wish you a fast, safe and above all fun season.

The Javelin Sprint Series kicks off here next weekend with a bumper entry… so if you want to dip your toe into the world of competitive motor sport, give Colin a call… you don’t need a competition license and the car does not need to be to full MSA spec as these events are run under a non-MSA permit. I have done them in the past and it’s fun, competitive and a bit more social than a track day… because there will be someone who is only a bit quicker than you… and also someone who is only a little bit slower, so inevitably rivalry of a friendly kind develops during the day for the glory of picking up a trophy! See www.javelinsprintdays.co.uk or call 01469 560574.

Now I am off to have a piece of Easter cake made by Vanda, the lovely lady in our clubhouse who keeps you all fed and watered.

Have fun, stay safe and we hope to see you over the Summer!

STOP THE PRESS!
Congratulations to Tom Ingram (pictured above in the McLaren) on winning the first round of the BTCC at Brands Hatch. We have been fans of Tom since we first met him 4 years ago and I am sure this win will be the first of many. Well done to the hard working team at Speedworks Motorsport led by the ever enthusiastic Christian Dick.

Similarly, congratulations to Adam Morgan and Wix Racing on their win in race three: Adam has done many laps round Blyton Park. Finally: well done to the Rob Boston Racing team based just down the road from Blyton who had a win and two seconds in the Ginetta GT4 Cup and came away from Brands leading the championship. Clearly there are major benefits from testing your car at this venue!

Finally, you may have read about an elderly circuit owner taking up Rallycross: here is the pictorial proof!

Buy a Mini and join me in October!

Richard

October 2015 Update

Please click on the bold links to view the pictures.

It’s been a busy Summer at Blyton Park and when it eventually arrived, we have enjoyed long dry spells and warm sunny days. The wheat which was green back in April, has now been harvested and the fields in the middle of the track are now being ploughed ready for the 2016 crop of Linseed Rape.

On track, it’s been the usual blur of events: busy track days, busy driving experience days, some excellent club weekends and of course sprints in many different guises. In the week, the track has been used for the testing and evaluation of virtually every sort of four-wheeled vehicle… as well as the ever popular British Superbike School and bike track days with “Bikedays” the two-wheeled arm of Javelin.

On May 17th, I fulfilled one of my ambitions by competing in a round of our sprint championship in a single seater. I would like to thank Simon Baldry of SWB Motorsport for patiently coaching me and Peter Bromwich for letting me win the class!

Track days in 2015 have been busier than ever and the variety of vehicles has been a joy. Here are a few of my favourites: a Lotus Excel, a V12 E-Type Coupé, a lot of Porsches, a Vauxhall Carlton, a Hillman Imp, a Jensen Interceptor FF and a Triumph Vitesse.

Thanks to Porsche Club GB Region 4, MotorPunk, Javelin Track Days, MOT Track Days and Lotus on Track for making these days such a success. Remember that Javelin, who are our official track day partner, will run days right through the Winter and already have a full programme booked for 2016.

Our sprints have also attracted bumper entries and at our last meeting of this year on September 13th, we welcomed the British Sprint Championship for their only round not run on a full-blown race track. It was a lovely sunny day and the competition was intense at the front with the two fearsome goulds of Colin Calder and John Graham fighting over fractions of a second for overall honour. In the end Colin set a new outright course record of 54.77 seconds with John doing a 55.13. The record for this course at the first ever sprint in 2012 was 63.71 so that is certainly progress (1, 2, 3).

Down amongst the road-going ranks a certain Richard Usher entered a McLaren 650S achieving a 69.45 second lap in an absolutely standard car which is a testament to the car and not the driver! More on the McLaren in a bit…

Other cars sighted in the paddock which have caught my eye include this lovely Datsun 240Z, a bevy of Loti, this mad Reliant Kitten and this lovely Mini Sprint.

Test days have been another source of joy: Cliff Dempsey was enjoying running Jordan Kane, HHC continued to test even when they were winning (which was much of the time in 2015). Mazda brought us a very famous RX7 and Rick and Rob Hall delighted us on many occasions

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

On the media front, we have enjoyed looking after our friends from Auto Express now including Steve Sutcliffe on their team, as well as EVO, Autocar, Classic and Sports Car and Car Magazine. The Classic and Sports Car feature on the XJR9 and Andy Wallace has just hit the newsstands and Martin Brundle driving the McLaren P1 GTR for Car was particularly memorable.

We are indebted to our partners for the success of 2015: Skoda for the supply of the excellent Superb, Fuchs for supply of lubricants and chemicals and finally McLaren who have generously lent me the 650S in return for some consultancy work. Not since I sold my Diablo back in 2010, has driving a road car given me such pleasure: the 650S is an epic machine built in Britain by a British company. I was fortunate to drive the 675LT recently which is even more astonishing and I look forward to trying the 570S very soon.

Finally, I would like to thank the team here: today we are doing EVO Magazine’s Track Car of the Year and Russell has returned from leave due to the safe arrival of Oliver Thompson three weeks ago. Oliver has already visited Blyton Park and was a spectator at yesterday’s autograss racing.

Very finally, thank you for reading this and for visiting Blyton Park. Track days and testing will continue through the Winter so call 01427 628922 or e-mail if you need to get on track.

Richard

May 2015 Update

Please click on the bold links to view the pictures.

Exactly 4 years since our opening day back in 2011 and today is a Bank Holiday with yet another full track day run by our friends at Javelin Trackdays. This update is a little overdue as when I last wrote we were in the thick of Winter and a long, cold and damp one it proved to be. Continued investment here involved buying a spreading attachment for the tractor, pictured with our much valued groundsman Steve at the wheel, trialling both the attachment and the LNT Group product we use for ice dispersal. The next picture taken on December 28th shows Colin from Javelin inspecting the track before their ever –popular post Christmas Trackday and our last customers of 2014 were Neil Fowler Motorsport with Neil pictured here supervising adjustments on another chilly Winter’s day

True Racers don’t take much of a break and visitors early in the New Year included old friend and touring car star Adam Morgan with the Wix Racing BTCC Mercedes and Adam Gore with his very fast Rob Boston prepared Lotus Exige. We also welcomed our old friends SWB Motorsport with one of the first of the new MSA Formula 4 cars now being driven by rapid Brazilian Rafa Martins.

Other nice new shiny race cars came in the form of this pair of Porsche Carrera Cup car from GT Marques. Academy Motorsport brought their new pair of GT3 Aston Martins to shake down and film whilst Matt Nicol-Jones’ Dad was tending this wonderful Ford Capri.

The arrival of March brought no let up in the chilly conditions, with this photo showing the Clubhouse on March 2nd.

However, the teams at the top never stop testing and here is Alan Mugglestone (Muggo) from HHC wielding the lollipop as the team go through a routine of practice starts..

The Blyton Park Motorsport year started on March 8th with a round of the BTRDA Clubmans’ Rallycross Championship and the weather was kind even if temperatures remained cool.

The sprinters were also waking from the Winter season and here is outright lap record holder John Graham testing on March 12th complete with new paddle operated power gear shift. I inadvertently equipped John’s car with the wrong engine last year…it is of course powered by the phenomenal V8 made by legendary builders : Nicholson-McLaren.

The end of March also marked the first Goodwood Members meeting of the year and frequent visitor Mark Hales is pictured here with two of Nick Mason’s beautiful cars. Picture 2.

You may have missed the traffic news on March 18th but this picture confirms the nasty accident on the M1205 near Blyton and this picture shows that in fact we were glad to welcome some of the UK’s Traffic Officers to the site for a month of intensive training.

The weather remained stubbornly chilly but even that hat cannot disguise Richard Frankel’s pleasure with his latest historic purchase – this lovely MG K3 which Earl Howe drove in the 1933 Mille Miglia.

Mrs U’s daffodils finally flowered on March 22nd and this Metro took me back to the frenetic racing in the Metro Series back in the mid 1980’s. It was good to see former F1 driver Ian Ashley again driving this monstrous Lola F5000 car from the early 70’s. Ian was a multiple champion driving these Chevy powered monsters and yes that is Fowler Pere et Fils with Rob looking a bit windswept up on the bank.

Another treat at the end of March was James Baxter in this beautiful ERA on one of the Huddersfield Motor Club Track Days. I was honoured to attend the HMC annual dinner in February and slightly surprised to find frequent Blyton visitor Tim Sugden also in attendance. Tim brought Will Stevens here a couple of years ago and so Will is the only one of the current F1 drivers to have driven round Blyton Park. We wish him very well for his 2015 season with John Booth’s Marussia (but really South Yorkshire) team.

The chilly weather did not prevent the 500 brigade coming for their annual test day and as usual they kept us well amused with the diminutive methanol powered machines. Picture 2.

Bill Gwynne has not aged in all the years I have known him and the man who was multiple “Motoring News” Road Rally champion was up here in mid April still teaching the art of driving sideways without over stepping the limit. It was appropriate that Simon Malins was also here that day with this historic Vauxhall Firenza.

They were accompanied by this TVR Tuscan which was a credit to its owners and took me back a couple of decades as my Brother raced in the Tuscan Championship.

Adam Thorby and his Supercar Driver Club bring us many great new cars and I was pleased to see the New Corvette in the flesh : it looks great and it really did go and handle better than any I have seen before.

Sadly, I didn’t compete in the first round of our Sprint series (I hope to do round two), but the entry was as eclectic as ever as the following pictures. Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4.

The end of April saw the weather finally relent as we had some warm Sunshine and the Aubretia around our memorial finally broke cover. I was delighted that the BRM Association had a lovely Sunny day for their gathering and it really was fantastic to see so many of Lincolnshire’s finest back on the circuit.

Particular highlights were the awesome Rover BRM Gas Turbine and of course the H16 BRM engined Lotus (Picture 2) (Picture 3) with which Jim Clark won at Watkins Glen. Many thanks to all the owners , the National Motor Museum , The Gaydon Heritage Motor Centre and of course to Rick and Rob Hall for making it all possible. Picture.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has made the last 4 years possible. Firstly, my hard working and long suffering wife who may be the lady who serves you breakfast in the Clubhouse. Secondly all our customers and in particular Colin and all his team at Javelin Trackdays and Eddie and MOT Trackdays who have been with us from day one.

Last but not least, Russell,Steve and Vanda who work for us full time making sure we do our very best to look after all our customers and of course all the Marshalling and Safety Teams who work to ensure that we run the venue as safely as possible. My final picture shows Roy Richardson, our longest serving marshal clearing up the track on BRM day on the approach to Bunga Bunga. Roy is a role model for us all: kind, considerate and indefatigably hard working, with an enthusiasm for cars and Motor Sport which more than matches my own. Thanks Roy and may your petrol flow for many years yet.

Richard