Allen Berg Inducted Into Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame Class Of 2020

Allen Berg Inducted Into Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame

Calgary, ALBERTA (January 7, 2020) – On the morning of November 19, 2019, Allen Berg’s phone rumbled with a call from an unknown (to Allen) number in the 416 area code. It was Dr. Hugh Scully, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, calling Allen to congratulate him on his unanimous selection to enter the esteemed Hall during a ceremony at the Canadian International Auto Show on February 15, 2020. Allen and six other inductees will be recognized for their significant accomplishments and the extraordinary contributions they have made to the advancement of motorsports in Canada, and they will join the over 200 who have come before them.

Journey to the CMHF

Allen’s journey to the CMHF is not unlike most of the honourees in that it was driven by a burning desire to make a life from an innate passion for speed and to capitalize on the gift he was given.

As with anyone involved in motorsport, whether it be a racing fan, a mechanic, engineer, team owner, driver, sponsor or another willing enthusiast, it starts with exposure to the sport.

Digitizer AA Fuel Dragster

For Allen, that exposure came in the mid-sixties when he was six years old. Allen’s father campaigned the iconic “Digitizer”, a 2,200HP front-engined AA Fuel Dragster at Shepard Raceway in Calgary, and Allen was hooked.

Young Allen Berg

As Allen was a tad young to pilot the dragster, his persistence paid off when his family acquired his first go-kart.

First Years of Racing

By age 15, Allen was Junior Champion in the Alberta Kart Championship and followed that up a year later with a Senior Championship.

First Year of Racing for Berg

By 1979, at the age of 18, Allen had his first foray in race cars, where he finished 2nd in the Canadian Formula Ford Championship, and grabbed 3rd and Rookie of the Year honours in the North American FF Championship. 1980 was also the first year that Allen shared his knowledge as a racing instructor at Mosport Racing School.

“Formula Ford really laid the foundation for me,” explains Berg, “I had moved away from home to pursue my passion, and my first few laps of Mosport were exciting, intimidating and terrifying! Racing against the likes of Chip Ganassi, John Paul Jr., Scott Goodyear, Ludwig Heimrath Jr. in Formula Fords was some of the most intense racing I’ve ever had, and memories and lessons I cherish to this day.”

Allen’s ascent continued in ’81 and ’82. Moving up to the North American Formula Atlantic Series in ’82, Allen captured the Rookie of the Year honours and earned his first of two consecutive “Canadian Driver of the Year Awards”. Allen was also named the Deutsche Automobile Club Driver of the Year.

1983 New Zealand Championship

In 1983, Berg captured the Championship in the New Zealand / Australia International Formula Pacific Tasman Championship.

Ralt RT-4

Later that year, Berg claimed a hard-fought 5th in the ultra-competitive British Formula Three Championship. Maybe “ultra-competitive” is insufficient, as the four racers that finished ahead of Allen in British F3 were Ayrton Senna (Champion), Martin Brundle (2nd), Davy Jones (3rd), and Calvin Fish (4th).

“That year in British F3 was incredibly intense. Of course, at that time, we didn’t know what Ayrton and Martin and the others would become, but we all knew that we were involved in something special,” enthused Berg. “The rivalry between Martin and Ayrton affected the entire Championship, all of the teams, all of the drivers, race control, the corner workers, everyone. I vividly recall a race at Thruxton where on lap 1, corner 1, I went off (maybe I was helped off). I had started 5th in that race, but my race was over. After the race – which Ayrton won – he came up to me and said: “What happened to you on Lap 1?, I saw you going into the corner in 5th place but coming out of the corner you weren’t there anymore?”

British F3. Podium

To this day, I am amazed at the awareness that he had. Here he was battling for the lead, and he knew that I was out of the picture. It was a great lesson in intensity, preparation and a Champion’s mindset that I try to pass on to my students today. And of course, driving for Eddie Jordan means that I have many stories…. which we’ll save for another day. And, I did learn a lot about the business of motorsport from Eddie. I’ll leave it at that.”

Following the 1983 season, Allen and many others from the ’83 British F3 season all converged on Macau. “I went out for drinks the night before on-track activities with Ayrton and Joe Stoup, and Ayrton bettered me there too. Before long, I was a lap down and headed to my hotel while Ayrton and Joe carried on. Ayrton won Macau that year.”

In 1984, Berg finished runner-up to Johnny Dumphries – again in British F3, and again driving for Eddie Jordan.

1984 Berg Earned His Superlicense

At the end of 1984, Berg was invited to test with Arrows F1 team and as a result earned his Superlicense, as well as invitations from several teams (Arrows, Tyrrell, March, Osella, Minardi, Arrows, Tyrrell, Larrouse, Brabham) to join them for the 1985 season. Unfortunately, Allen was unable to raise the requisite sponsorship.

Beginning in early 1985, when his classmates as it were – Senna, Brundle, and others – were off to Formula 1, Allen also set his sight on joining the World Championship and began the hard work that it took to raise his profile, and the sponsor partners as required. Parallel to that, Allen competed in the ’85 Mexican F-K Championship, capturing three victories and two podiums in five events.

1986 Berg’s First Formula 1 World Championship

In early 1986, Allen had captured the attention of Labatt Breweries – may be the holy grail of motorsports sponsors at that time – at least for an aspiring Canadian.

Formula 1 World Championship

And in June of ’86, Allen made his first start in Formula 1 – on the wall-lined streets in Detroit. This was turbo-era F1, fast, loud and dangerous, and Allen was on the grid, which was the fulfillment of his dreams and goals.

The names of the racers that Allen was able to compete against in his nine Formula 1 starts in the Osella Scuadra Corse / Alfa Romeo is pretty remarkable. World Champions like Senna, Mansell, Prost, Piquet, Rosberg, and Jones, and legends like Johansson, Berger, Brundle, Warwick, Alboreto, Nannini, Boutsen, Palmer, Arnoux, Patrese, Alliott, Fabi and more.

Labatt Breweries

1986 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1 World Championship Events

In 1987, there would be no Canadian Grand Prix for many reasons. Allen was a casualty of this unfortunate turn of events as it drastically reduced the value that Labatt Breweries was seeking to gain from alignment with Allen, and this potential partnership came to an end. In an effort to continue, Allen traveled to the UK to meet with Bernie Ecclestone to introduce a potential new partnership that had a compelling win-win, B2B element for Bernie to consider. Mr. Ecclestone had his own challenges to overcome and the deal did not materialize so Allen’s F1 adventure was over.

“In hindsight, it was very clear to me that I had set my goals way too low, and that they were not as clearly defined as they needed to be. This is a lesson I now pass on to all of my students who wish to become professional racers,” explains Berg. “You see, my goal was to make it to Formula 1, and I did that. My goals should have been to make it to Formula 1, then to the podium, then poles and race wins, and then World Championships – plural. That is the mindset I should have had.”

1987 First Porsche 962 Experience

Turning to sports cars in 1987, Allen got his first taste of the mighty Porsche 962, racing with Kremer. Historic races at the Daytona 24 Hour (1989) and Le Mans 24 Hours (1990) followed.

24 Hours of Le Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans - Porsche 962 C longtail

1990 24 Hours of Le Mans

DTM in 1991, in a BMW M3, with the iconic Tic Tac branding put Allen on the race track with another future World Champion – Michael Schumacher, and sports car legends; Hans Stuck, Winkelhock, Klaus Ludwig, Cecotto, Haupt, Laffite, Soper, Kelleners, Quester and many more.

German Touring Car Championship

From ’92 to ’96, Berg raced in Mexico, capturing one Championship, one 2nd overall and one 3rd in Mexican F3 for the Official Marlboro Team.

Mexican Prototype Championship

In Mexican F2, driving for Coca-Cola, Berg finished 3rd in the Championship, in ’95 and ’96.

Mexico International F3 Series

By 2001, Berg started his foray into the business side of racing, becoming Founder, General Director and Driver with the Scuadra Berg Guerrero Racing Team. In 2001, Allen raced in the Mexican F3 and Indy Light Pan-American Racing Series, capturing the Indy Light Pan-Am Team Championship and Overall Driving Champion, with five victories and seven Podiums in 10 races. He also took over as President of the Mexican Formula 3 Team Owners Association.

And in 2002, Berg moved to the competitive Toyota Atlantic Series as a team owner of Scuadra Fortia.

2007 Allen Berg Racing Schools Launched

Various managerial and driver coach roles followed until 2007, when Allen Berg Racing Schools launched.

Today, after 13 years, Allen Berg Racing Schools is one of the premier schools in North America. Based at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Berg sees students coming from all over the world to take his school.

Allen Berg Racing Schools

“It never gets old. Seeing the smiles on the faces of our students, and getting to experience their enthusiasm drives me and my team to provide a great, life-changing experience for everyone,” says Allen. “We look forward to 2020 and beyond with many new program enhancements on the horizon.”

On August 1st, 2019 – following a hard-fought weekend of karting with his son Alexander – Allen realized another dream

Alexander Berg

in 2019. Together, they traveled to a small suburb of Seattle following up on a lead. Could it be that in the non-descript garage located behind this house was something Allen had been searching for decades?

“The garage opened and there it was. I couldn’t believe it and the emotion was completely unexpected,” recalls Berg. “Right there in that garage was my dad’s Digitizer AA Fuel Dragster.

Allen Berg

Alexander Berg with Father Allen Berg

This Was Where it All Began.

My father passed last year and for me to not only find his race car but to be able to purchase it and bring it back to Calgary is really special. My son, Alexander, who is 13 now, has the fire and passion and I’ve enjoyed watching his progression in karting this year, and then, to get that call from Dr. Scully…. wow… what a great year. My dad would be so proud.”

Today, when Allen stands in front of his students, many are not aware of his incredible journey, and the drive and determination it takes to build a resume like his. And they won’t hear it from Allen, as he is a humble Canadian gentleman, as well as an honoured member of the Canadian Hall of Fame – Class of 2020.

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Allen Berg

Allen Berg ranks among Canada's top racing personalities. He won the Formula Pacific Tasman Championship, won at Silverstone against Ayrton Senna and Martin Brundle in perhaps the greatest year ever in British Formula 3, and qualified for nine starts in F1, a record bettered among his countrymen only by Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve.

14 Comments

  1. Avatar for Allan de la Plante Allan de la Plante on January 8, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Congratulations Allen. Sometimes it takes a LONG time to be appreciated by those in our sport.

  2. Avatar for J T J T on January 8, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    Congrats! Great story from Canada! I’ve attended the racing school before it left Calgary, and it was the most fun I’ve had in my life to date..

  3. Avatar for Fraser Kelly Fraser Kelly on January 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    Congratulations, Allen. Well deserved.

    Fraser Kelly
    Calgary

  4. Avatar for Paul Coates Paul Coates on January 8, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Great article. I remember a young , pudgy Berg hustling a black Formula Ford around Mosport in the late ’70’s. Congrats on your induction.

  5. Avatar for Robert Chamut Robert Chamut on January 8, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Congratulations Allen. I still remember with great clarity my 3 sessions with you at Calgary Raceway, especially the one with my 12 year old grandson in the carts. Both he and I remember how kind and understanding you were with a tearful young soul whose abilities were outstripped by the realities of inexperience. Logan is now a professional volleyball player in Israel after 4 years on the York Lions team and I rather think your taking him in hand and explaining that nothing could be attained without strenuous long term practice was a very good first step towards his present attainment.
    California is a bit far for me but I utilize the the thinking processes you taught as I drive my ancient Alfa Spyder around the spectacular steep and viciously curved roads of the West Kootenay. My Jag sedan was just recently retired with over 200, 000 k. on the odometer.
    All the best,
    Robert Chamut Rossland, B.C.

  6. Avatar for Trey Litel Trey Litel on January 8, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Allen,
    Way to go on a fabulous career! Conrad and I so enjoyed your school and I wanted you to know that we are embarking on a racing series this year as he pursues his new dream. The formula car experience at Laguna Seca is really special and we will always remember your hospitality and genuine concern for all your students. Happy New Year!

  7. Avatar for Jason Nitrolube Jason Nitrolube on January 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Congratulations Allen Berg on your induction into the Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. Your contribution has helped so many young drivers and given them the opportunity to advance in a sport they love. On behalf of the NitroLube Lubricants company we are glad to have been associated with you and your Racing Team. All the Best…..Keep up the Great work.

  8. Avatar for George Brodish George Brodish on January 9, 2020 at 4:37 am

    Allen, I would like to personally congratulate you on a well deserved nomination. It was a pleasure to meet you in person last year when I signed up for a few days of lapping at Laguna Secaucus before taking ownership of my Radical this past year. I wish you the best.

    Sincerely
    George Brodish
    Geoenv@aol.com

  9. Avatar for Alex Dodd Alex Dodd on January 9, 2020 at 6:01 am

    Great story and nice for Allen to find the car that started it all. Lovely photos too in period. I will get to the racing school this year – I must. Nearly got there last year / year before and Allen was gracious enough to have a telephone conversation with me at the time. I spent a season in FF1600 in South Africa in 1985 /86 and still have the bug, both for single seater and rallying. Congratulations ALEX

  10. Avatar for Ken Graham Ken Graham on January 9, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Great driver, should have been in the Canadian Motorsports Hall Of Fame YEARS ago. !!

  11. Avatar for Mike Freberg Mike Freberg on January 9, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    Congratulations Allen I am very happy to hear of your induction to the hall of fame and I am very sad to hear about your dad……damn we had fun!
    Cheers to you

  12. Avatar for octavio aguilar octavio aguilar on January 10, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Congratulations Sir, & wish the best to Alex
    Will you ever bring back the Benetton F1 experience ?

  13. Avatar for Dan Proudfoot Dan Proudfoot on January 13, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Like Mario Andretti, Allen never quit. If one door closed, he found another . . . so long as he kept racing. Unfortunately as a Canadian he lacked the wealthy backers that supported American race teams in the great era from the 1950s through the eighties.

  14. Avatar for Nicholas Rivers Nicholas Rivers on January 14, 2020 at 5:24 am

    Congratulations to Allen Berg, a well deserved honor that will blossom into the future by his sharing of experiences and knowledge to new generations of drivers at the Allen Berg Race School.

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