It’s been almost two years since Blyton Park Circuit opened the gates to its freshly laid tarmac and invited track-day enthusiasts to tackle the likes of The Wiggler, Twickers and Bunga Bunga. Look further back into its history and you find that Blyton was a RAF base with three runways and all the facilities needed to keep Wellington and Lancaster bombers flying sorties into enemy territory.
The bombers are long gone now but Blyton Park recently returned to military service to help out some of the soldiers recovering at Phoenix House in Catterick. But how does a race circuit help out injured servicemen and women? By letting them get out on track either behind the wheel or in the passenger seat of a variety of track-prepared cars.
The event was hosted by Mission Motorsport, the Forces’ Motorsport Charity, with the aim of introducing wounded service personnel to the world of Motorsport as part of their recovery and rehabilitation.
The programme has been incredibly effective, and has also been very successful at launching servicemen into second careers. “That vocational element is very important” explained Mission Motorsport founder, Maj James Cameron “but we often find that guys and girls have little or no idea of what they can do when they leave the military. It can be hard enough leaving the Services on your own terms, but for those leaving through trauma, or traumatic injury it can be extremely daunting. We do a lot of work on rebuilding confidence and team skills, and the support of a venue like Blyton Park Driving Centre who understand our needs is just invaluable.”
Mission Motorsport have found work in some high profile teams including Derek Bell’s support crew at the Le Mans Classic, as mechanics for Aston Martin’s World Endurance Racing team, or even racing the epic Britcar 24hr race in a Nissan 370Z. It’s not just about motorsport too, there are many roles to be found in rest of the motor industry, from small companies to international giants such as Nissan, Ferrari and Bentley.
Richard Usher, the MD of Blyton Park Driving Centre, said “We are delighted to hand the circuit over to Mission Motorsport as part of our charitable activity and it is very humbling to witness at first hand the courage of men and women who have been grievously wounded whilst carrying out their duties.”