Building a Racetrack: The Richard Usher StoryRichard Usher has built his own track. We talk to him about how Blyton Park came into existence and how one man's passion for motorsport turned into a reality.
I guess I remember prep school spending a lot of time running around making car noises. But I was a somewhat [unk] kid so I never kind of saw myself as a racing driver. Even at that age I had a huge enthusiasm for the sport. And [unk] was my first grade racing hero. And I was lucky enough to end up for being one of the men managed by a team Auto Windscreens. And Auto Windscreens had a long history of being involved in UK Motorsports. I was involved with a lot of sponsorship programs, the BTCC in the mid-90s, British Rally Championship, the RAC Rally. So, over the years I've-- I've sort of stuck myself in the water being involved which is about all forms form of four-wheel motorsport. And that's been another great thing about this place is I've met a lot of old friends. Who-- who come here testing cars and we realize we haven't seen one another for 20 years. I started this in 2003. And-- and we finally signed a lease on Blyton in 2011. And we had quite a lot of full start along the way. I've lived to just about every this Tuesday I filled between the N40 and the M62. We spent a lot of time wasting time and wasting quite a lot of money on a volative projects. And there are times when I feel I'm never go let it off the ground. I'm gonna walk away from it. I guess the commercial challenge was the biggest challenge. This isn't just some sort of retirement dream, you know, I've-- I've put virtually everything I owned in to Blyton Park. And we have to stand up as a business and pleased to say that it's standing out very well. Blyton opened in 1942 is one of many bomber command bases in-- in Lincolnshire. It was mainly throughout the war's a training base for people to learn how-- to fly Lancasters. And the I think on wall behind me somewhere there is that picture of a pilot that we found, who's still alive. We have put a memorial up for them 'coz there's no buildings at all left. There were two and a half thousand people stationed here during the war. And there were awful lot of accidents because they were learning to fly these bloody great big heavy bombers. And a lot of them crashed and I never saw them alive. There were 18 known crash sites around the airfield. We feel it was appropriate to-- to commemorate these-- these brave people. We've seen a very expensive grown freak cars handed over to the new owners. We had Sterling Moses, 250F Maserati and 11 [unk] Tucson [unk] are here. Because we have a reputation for looking after people they seem to come back. We-- we do get a lot of fantastically interesting machine. And we ride from the sort of free first wheel who were out to have that so many years ago and then contemporary stuff as well. Yeah, I can get enthused about just about anything with four wheels. Suddenly in the windscreen business every-- car is given-- was given a number. And it worked incredulous galore. A number 21 is a Mini and a number 66 is a Morris 2000. And, I consider associate cars by their number and how many years these windscreens were used to sell. So, the Maestro in the barn, I was approached by an old boy in the village. He said, I've got an Austin Maestro and I didn't get too excited. But then, he said it's done 12,000 miles. I said what from new? So, in the end it goes I had to buy the Maestro. And then somebody else offered me a Ford Mirage. And the Mirage had done 17,000 miles from the new one. The new [unk] Blyton. And when everyone's gone hi because they would forget they really sat this [unk]. And I sometimes get them out. And I drive them Maestro around the truck and start to lit really how in-- incredibly ordinary it is. But, you know, it's going to live there for as long as I'm here. And then hopefully it will find the Maestro owners club. Somebody would want to buy them. The only Maestro in the UK which run a thousand genuine miles on the club. I hope to, I think it's a got spot about it. Except when I go up in the air and I look it down from-- from consider a few hundred feet above. When you look down, I think my goodness that's my circuit. The other thing this year was having as, I said, having devoted much full for 30 years but never competed. I did actually get my composition last year and it was in competing in our little spring championship. And my dad was actually involved in building a little spring circuit near Lichfield called Curver. So, he did what I've done on a slightly smallest scale. And I did feel a real goose bump when I said to draw up unto the stars to be in for the first time in my life. And I kinda feel the old man was probably [unk] to clouds smiling away to himself looking in that boy. I couldn't possibly have done this on my own, yeah. I-- I had a great bunch of people help me along the way. At least to [unk] my long suffering away [unk] is [unk]. What I mean, huge helper in life. But she's a partner. And I said without her a whole load of people including the landowner, the farmer that of the [unk], this just wouldn't be possible. And like many things in life, there were-- there were times when I feel, I never gonna make this happen. And-- and arriving here in Lincolnshire we have met some fantastic people who had been fantastically supportive. And you know, I'm actually proud to be part of this community. The whole point of this place is that it's not a racing circuit. I-- I actually believe we've got enough racing circuits. What I want Blyton Park to be is a place where if they want to come and learn to race they can come and do that and live on. But if likely all they want to do is to drive nice cars quickly but they can do that as well. And I-- I truly hope that it doesn't get overdeveloped and become somewhere where that personal touch disappears.