Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Return of Baby Bertha

Baby Bertha and a distant relative, the VXR8
Older visitors to our site will remember the irreplaceable Gerry Marshall and his famous Vauxhall touring car racer "Baby Bertha". It was a heavily modified car powered by a huge V8, and it raced in Modsports.

And now, thanks to the Classic Sports Car Club, It's back with a revival event at Mallory Park. The cars and name are back including Marshall's famous car itself. It's also great to see Vauxhall throwing it's support behind a national motorsport event, much like Toyota has done with the MR2 championship.

We're really looking forward to this. Mallory Park will never have sounded so good!


MODSPORT MONSTERS STORM MALLORY TO REVIVE EPIC RACE SERIES



The legacy of the late, great Gerry Marshall will be alive and kicking this August Bank Holiday Monday when over 30 original Modsport and Thundersaloon race cars from the 70s and 80s will once again drift around the demanding Mallory Park circuit in Leicestershire.

Created by the Classic Sports Car Club, the race will mark the start of what the organisers hope will become a full-blown series in 2012, reuniting some of the greatest V8 saloon racers and drivers that ever competed in the UK.

Dave Taylor, Mick Hill, Vince Woodman and Alistair Thompson will be just some of the star racers from the Modsports era who’ll be attacking Mallory on Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, exactly 35 years ago to the day since Gerry Marshall took the 1976 Modsports Championship in Vauxhall’s DTV-sponsored Baby Bertha


In addition to Bertha, the Daf V8 and the Chevrolet-powered Beetle, other original cars set for a competition renaissance include Chris Tilly’s MGB GT V8, Simon Frowen’s 4,000cc Reliant Kitten, Simon Lane’s Chevrolet Camaro and Dave Teley’s Stars & Stripes Opel Manta.

The CSCC’s Richard Wos is passionate about bringing the series to a younger generation of race-goers: “This is the first bespoke race series of its kind this century and, with its noise, speed and drama, it’s sure to appeal to a younger generation of motorsport enthusiasts, as well as those spectators who have fond memories of the original Modsports race series.

As a prelude to the event, the CSCC will be running a press and test day at Mallory on June 29, where all the cars racing in August will be given a shake-down. Many cars, like Dave Taylor’s V8 ‘Dafnee’, have not been driven in anger for more than a decade, so the day promises to be exciting and maybe a little unpredictable!

Baby Bertha, the V8 Beetle and Dafnee pose with the VXR8
Vauxhall Motors, who sponsored Baby Bertha’s mighty campaign in the 70s and 80s, is giving the series its wholehearted support, and has kindly donated the latest 6.2-litre, 431hp VXR8 to act as course-car throughout the event. Perhaps the ultimate spiritual successor to many of the V8 behemoths gathered at Mallory this August, the VXR8 will act as safety car, following the grid around for the first lap of the race and providing emergency back-up in the event of an accident.