Gary Bertholdt (Driver) – Atlas Copco Ford Racing Ranger # T4
Father-and-son combinations in cross country racing are common and underline the strong family appeal of the sport. Gary, his late brother Bevan and father Bodo are a good example and, like other families, have made a valuable contribution to the sport’s growth. Gary started riding motor bikes when he was six, competed in his first enduro at 15 and graduated to what was then called off road racing at 16, riding in the Roof of Africa and the Toyota Desert Race.
After a spell in karting, where he won a regional championship and was third in the nationals, Gary was introduced to car racing by his father, one of the sport’s true characters and a pioneer of off road racing back in the 1970s.
He graduated from co-driving his mother’s VW Beetle with Bodo to sharing single seaters with his dad, winning the Lichtenburg national in an imported class B Raceco in 2000. In 2003, as a navigator, he and Brandon Harcus won the special vehicle championship in one of the early South African-designed and built BATs.
Between 2004 and 2006 he won another four events as a driver, finishing fifth overall in 2006 with two victories.
In 2008 he was again fifth overall in the special vehicle championship after wins in the Sugarbelt 400 and the Limpopo 400. He went one better the following year, his first in the production vehicle category in a Toyota Hilux, winning the Carnival City 400 – the only privateer win over the factory teams that year – and finishing second in the Sun City 400. He was fourth overall behind factory drivers Duncan Vos, Ivar Tollefsen and Hannes Grobler.
Gary has come closer to winning than most privateers in a sport dominated by the factory teams. Runner-up finishes in the Adenco 400 and Sun City 400 in 2010, the Atlas Copco Timbertrack 400 in 2012 and the Nkomazi 400 in 2013, and third place in the season-ending Atlas Copco Gold 400 last year have kept him at the forefront of the non-factory drivers.
He was the first privateer to campaign a V8-engined production vehicle, in 2011, and after a frustrating year of development in 2012 he equalled his best result in the production car category with fourth overall in the championship in 2013, beaten only by the factory Toyotas of champion Anthony Taylor and former champion Duncan Vos and the Ford of 2010 champion Chris Visser.
Today Gary, a successful businessman with his own glass manufacturing company, is one of the top seeded drivers in the premier T class of production vehicles.
- Date of birth: 27 June 1973
- Current residence: Dainfern, Johannesburg
- Occupation: CEO – Glass Partners, a glass manufacturing business
- Family: Married to Mare-Lize’, sons Bjorn and Judd
- Hobbies: Squash, mountain biking, travel
- 2000 – Won Lichtenburg national off road in imported single-seater Class B Raceco special vehicle
- 2003 – Claimed overall special vehicle championship
- 2006 – 5th overall with two victories in special vehicle category. Total of four race wins between 2004 and 2006
- 2008 – 5th overall in special vehicle championship, two race wins
- 2009 – 3rd in Class SP in 1st year competing in production vehicle category, won the Carnival City 400, 2nd in the Sun City 400
- 2010 – Runner-up in Adenco 400 and Sun City 400 races
- 2011 – First privateer to campaign a V8-engined production vehicle
- 2012 – Runner-up in Atlas Copco Timbertrack 400 race
- 2013 – 4th overall in Class SP championship, 2nd in Nkomazi 400, 3rd in Atlas Copco Gold 400