Given the fanfare that accompanied his departure as Formula 1’s deputy race director in 2016, you might imagine that Herbie Blash – gofer at Rob Walker Racing, number two mechanic to Jochen Rindt at Lotus and long-time Brabham team manager, among other things – would have spent the past few years with his feet up, looking back on a life he acknowledges to have been “privileged”.
He was barely out of his teens when he began travelling around the world with the sport he loves, but he hasn’t exactly applied the brakes since stepping away. He has always had a habit of wearing different hats, has worked with Yamaha for some 30 years and maintains a role with the Japanese firm as a consultant to its World Superbike team. He is as busy as ever at 72 and it took several months to prise him away from endless conference calls as he and his counterparts fought to shape a workable WSBK calendar in a Covid world.
We meet in West Sussex to chat about his life, some elements of which might surprise. For instance, Chichester University awarded him an honorary business doctorate for services to motor racing. “Not sure why,” he says. “I’ve never mentioned that to anybody.”