Introduction by Chris Martin:
I first met "Berserko Bob" Doerrer at the 1975 NHRA Summernationals
in Englishtown, N. J. National Dragster staffers Jim Edmunds and Les
Lovett had told me that Bob and I would hit it off - given our predilections
for good times and our appearances. They also said he was a socialite
of legendary status and that he was the guy who unofficially pulled
the strings at Raceway Park. They said you'd know him if you saw him
- Bob wore dark glasses, was mustachioed and had (at least at that
race) a turned up baseball cap on all the time. Me? My hair was shoulder
length with a Frank Zappa goatee and a psychedelic gleam in my eyes.
Actually, Edmunds and Lovett didn't make the intro.
I was staggering through the E-Town pits and I came across a mobile
home with a sign that read "Bob's Berserko Lounge. It's Weird." I
went up to the door and introduced myself, went it, and it was weird.
Weird enough that Bob and I have been long distance friends for 25
years. He's the genuine article and a very knowledgeable guy on East
Coast drag racing. At the '75 NHRA Winston Finals, he tipped me that
Bernie Agaman's SS/CA '71 Corvette was going to be the Super Stock
World Champ at race's end and I took his advice and drunkenly bet
on the "Bayonne Missile." I won $20.
I know I'm a little late, but the next time you
see me, Bob, you got a beer (or two) coming. Now, DRO readers…enjoy
a little kid growing up in central New Jersey in the 1950s, I was always
enamored with cars and racing, specifically drag racing. I often thought
how cool it would be to live in California where there were, it seemed
like, drag strips in every city.
In 1956, the NHRA announced that their Safety Safari would hold a major-league
drag race on the runways of Linden (NJ) airport. This was it, my nirvana,
I had to be there! Being 10 years old and having no way to get there,
I talked my Uncle Carl into taking me in exchange for a tank of gas
(about three or four bucks back then). We hopped into his '55 Chevy
hardtop with a power-pack 265 and took off. When we got there I thought
I'd died and gone to drag racing heaven.
Rail jobs everywhere! I'd never seen in person one of these diggers,
only in magazines. Plus there were gassers, modifieds, altereds, stockers
and (Gasp!) sportscars!