Mario Baer - Man of the year 2016 in 2litre Hot Rods
This year will be one of the most memorable for the Baer's. In the third year of 2litre Hot Rod Racing on the Continent, Mario Baer managed to grab the trophies which had been in the hands of Dutchman Martijn Vowinkel for the past two seasons.
Mario, a 36 years old owner of scrap metal enterprise which he runs with his father Anton, lives in Moenchengladbach and is one of the many local racers there. The Baer's and Albrecht's are well known on many short ovals in Holland and in the UK. His cousin Peter Baer became a World Cup Winner in Brisca F2 stockcars in 2012 beating Gordon Moodie by the length of a wheel on the line.
Mario started his motor sport career 1991 in Ministox at Posterholt Raceway at the age of 12 with a fine third place in his first meeting. Due to lack of money and towing cars available, he could not compete at all meetings to follow before he got 18 but got lots of experience in Ovalracing. In 1998 the racing family joined the 2000cc Standard formula with Dirk Albrecht, Christian and his cousins Sascha & Peter Baer.
They kept racing for a couple of years before Mario had to invest more time in his business and his family with wife Alexandra and two lovely kids Mira and Phil. In 2012+2013 NNO Ter Apel had revealed plans to introduce the 2litre Hotrods in Holland. Mario's brother Christian Baer, Helmut Laumen and Dirk Albrecht were the first German drivers to show enthusiasm for these plans. In September 2013 Mario and Dirk made a trip to Austria to take part in an F2 Stockcar meeting in Natschbach. On their way home Dirk informed Mario that he was to sell his F2 equipment in order to buy a 2litre Hotrod.
In 2014, the first full season started. After a few meetings, Mario felt ready to rejoin racing and purchased the Nova from Rusty Madden (#115) in August 2014. The main advantage of the formula has always been that race cars can be used in Mainland Europe and in the UK likewise without putting major changes to them. So Mario just had to stick on his number 291 onto the car and was ready to race. "Rusty sold me a very good and fast car at a reasonable price which I am still running with only slight adjustments. This advantage when starting racing providing the title now and I am grateful to Rusty". A huge compliment to be used with most of the cars sold to our German and Dutch friends in the past.
On August 31st Mario was ready to go for his first 2litre meeting. Only one month later, the Dutch Open 2014 should turn out to be the highlight of the 2014 season with 18 cars on track. The winner of the inaugural Dutch Open Trophy became Charlie Jowers with Mario Baer coming home in 8th spot in his very first major race. His season ended with winning the meeting final at the Midland Circuit Lelystad
The winter month provided time to give the Nova an all new black & red paint scheme. Beside the new colours it was Geert Roubroeks applying an old school sign writing. The names on the car look like those of sponsors but indeed they are the names of friends and companies they run. "Sometimes a friend is worth more than a few Euro's so that's my way to thank them" Mario points out.
The next season went well, highlighted by winning all four heats in May. The Speedweekend 2015 saw very strong contenders and more than twenty cars on track. Mario had to take a DNF in the National Championship on Saturday 3rd and finished 11th in the Dutch Open on Sunday 4th of October. The final standings 2015 showed Mario ending in 6th with just three points behind his friend Dirk Albrecht.
Mario, Sascha & Christian Baer
In 2016, after two years of domination by Martijn Vowinkel, Mario made the right choices and became Mr. Consistency. "The key to win the Championship is probably based on the reliability and good preparation of my car" is the conclusion drawn by Mario. The car was prepared in his own shop nearby his house. With the help from his mechanics Frank and Juergen Loupen the 291 was always able to go the speed of the frontrunners. But Mario got very experienced throughout his 2litre career too and he could hold off his opponents even having the mirrors full of them rubbin' on his bumper. In the end, Mario Baer is a deserved winner of the 2016 Open Dutch Ovalracing Championship and the 2litre Hot Rod Series as well. He has become the Track Champion in Ter Apel and in Lelystad too.
A perfect season comes to an end for Mario with the thoughts about 2017 : "I would like to sell the Nova for around 8.500 Euro to enable my team to build a new car. We cannot afford to buy a ready to race one and will therefore do a lot of things in our shop. If it does not turn out with the sale, we will give our Championship winning Nova a rebuild to return even stronger to defend my title at Ter Apel Raceway."
We will see what develops, as the silver colour mixed by his friend Daniel Krueger touches the roof of a 2litre Hotrod in Moenchengladbach this coming winter.
Till then, Mario's greatest fan, his 7 year old son Phil will do his best to convince dad to allow him to start with carting - in order to follow in his father's footsteps as early as possible...
for 2litrehotrod.nl Nov. 14th 2016
Phil & Mira joining her Dad on the Parade lap for the Dutch Open 2016