Peter Brock


Peter Brock

Infobox Celebrity
name = Peter Geoffrey Brock



caption = Peter Brock signing autographs at the Bathurst 1000 in 2005
birth_date = birth date|1945|2|26|df=y
birth_place = Hurstbridge, VIC, Australia
death_date = death date and age|2006|9|8|1945|2|26|df=y
death_place = Gidgegannup, WA, Australia
occupation = Racecar driver
car number = 05
spouse =
children = Jamie, Robert and Alexandra
website = [http://peterbrock.com.au/ peterbrock.com.au]
footnotes =

Peter Geoffrey Brock AM (26 February, 19458 September, 2006) otherwise known as "Peter Perfect", "The King of the Mountain" or simply as "Brockie" or "Brocky" was one of Australia's best-known and most successful motor racing drivers. Brock was most often associated with Holden for almost 40 years, although he raced vehicles of other manufacturers including BMW, Ford, Volvo, Porsche and Peugeot. [http://media.gm.com/servlet/GatewayServlet?target=http://image.emerald.gm.com/gmnews/viewpressreldetail.do?domain=20&docid=28504] He won the Bathurst 1000 endurance race nine times, the Sandown 500 touring car race nine times and the Australian Touring Car Championship three times. Brock's business activities included the Holden Dealer Team (HDT) that produced Brock's racing machines as well as a number of modified high-performance road versions of his racing cars.

Early years

Brock was born in the Victorian country town of Hurstbridge (now an outer suburb of Melbourne) and continued to live there throughout his life.cite web|title = Peter Brock transcript, screened 2006 Sept 11|work = Talking Heads|publisher = Australian Broadcasting Corporation|url = http://www.abc.net.au/talkingheads/txt/s1735343.htm ] He attended Eltham High School in Eltham Victoria [http://www.elthamhs.vic.edu.au/newsletters/yr2004/040518.htm] His first car was an Austin 7 that he bought for £5 (A$10).cite web|title = That "evil natured" machine, the A30|work = Peter Perfect - The Race Days|publisher = Peter Brock - The Ultimate Resource|date = 2000-03-13|url = http://www.brock05.com/brockA30.php|accessdate = 2006-09-19] His driving skill improved greatly at this point of his life because the car didn't have brakes (or a body, which was removed with his father's axe). He ended up trying to stop the car by sliding and anticipating the line.

Racing career

During his early career Brock raced some "wild and woolly" creations including the famous blue 6-cylinder Holden-powered Austin A30. One of his early successes was to become the 1970 Australian Rallycross champion. Brock rose to public attention in touring car racing.

Bathurst

In 1969 he raced in the Bathurst 500—as it was then known—Australia's most prestigious endurance road race and won it for the first time in 1972. Brock would win the event a total of nine times between 1972 and 1987, a feat that has not been equalled. His 1979 win was remarkable in that he claimed the flag by six laps, a record that (due to changes in race regulations introduced in the 1990s) will never be broken, and broke the circuit lap record on his final lap. In 32 starts at Bathurst he claimed pole position a record six times. His record at this race earned him the titles "King of the Mountain" and "the Bradman of Bathurst"—after cricketer Don Bradman—although Brock himself cared little for the latter title.

Sandown

Along with his record at the Bathurst race, Brock also claimed victory in the Sandown 500 race nine times, including a string of seven consecutive wins. He won a total of 37 races during his career in the Australian Touring Car/V8 Supercar championship, a record only eventually equalled by Mark Skaife in 2006 and beaten in 2007.cite news |author = Ray Kershler |title = Nine Wins Made Brock the Bradman of Bathurst and a household name |work = The Saturday Daily Telegraph |publisher = News Ltd |page = 46 |date = 9 September 2006 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ]

Standing in community

As the lead driver for the Holden Dealer Team in a succession of both 6- and 8-cylinder Holden Toranas and, later, V8 Commodores the smooth-talking clean-cut Brock became a household name that transcended motor racing as he emerged to be one of the best-known modern Australia and New Zealand racing drivers, spoken of with the same reverence as Sir Jack Brabham, Alan Jones and Jim Richards.

Brock and the Holden Dealer Team worked in partnership, with full factory approval and assistance, to produce a number of high-performance modifications to the Commodores under existing CAMS Group C regulations from 1980 to 1988. Some of these were HDT "homologation specials"—one step away from race cars. It was around this time that Brock began his run of six Bathurst 1000 wins in seven years, including his six-lap victory in the 1979 event.

In 1986, Brock was crowned "King of Moomba" by the Melbourne based festival committee. [Craig Bellamy, Gordon Chisholm, Hilary Eriksen (17 Feb 2006) "Moomba: A festival for the people.": http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/rsrc/PDFs/Moomba/History%20of%20Moomba.pdf PDF pp 17-22]

International racing

Unlike several other Australian drivers, Brock did not seek a full-time racing career outside Australia. He did attempt the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times in privateer vehicles, firstly in 1976 in a BMW 3.0CSL, which failed; he then returned for the 1981 race teamed with Colin Bond and Jim Richards in the Porsche Cars Australia #74 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR but while the team practiced, they were only named as a reserve, not participating in the race itself; then in 1984 in the orange Bob Jane T-Marts sponsored Porsche 956 with co-driver Larry Perkins, running as high as 5th at one stage of the race, they retired after Perkins crashed on lap 145. [cite news
last = Scott
first = Phil
title = Brock at Le Mans
work = Wheels Magazine
publisher = Australian Consolidated Press
date = September 1984
] Brock also won the 1979 Repco Round Australia trial, a long-distance endurance rally featuring some dirt road sections completely different to the circuit racing where he made his name.

Motoring safety campaign

Brock also worked with the Victorian authorities promoting the campaign against drunk driving. The most obvious sign of this association was the race car number 05 which related to the 0.05% blood alcohol limit in Victoria, which he utilized constantly from the mid-1970s. Most cars he raced in, regardless of the motor racing division, bore this number, including the one in which he died.

Other activities

Brock, who lived hard in his early years, changed his lifestyle considerably after the failed 1984 Le Mans attempt left him physically and emotionally drained. [cite news
first = Mark
last = Fogarty
title = Brock at ease with public role
url = http://www.theage.com.au/news/motorsport/brock-at-ease-with-public-role/2006/09/09/1157222386695.html
publisher = The Age
date = 2006-09-10
accessdate = 2006-09-15
]

Brock began to consult health practitioner Eric Dowker. He gave up alcohol and cigarettes, and became a vegan.cite web | url=http://www.abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1417325.htm | title=Interview transcript | publisher=Enough Rope with Andrew Denton | date=18 July, 2005] Brock began publicly supporting and, eventually, began to fit to all Holden Dealer Team specials a device called the "Energy Polarizer" containing crystals and magnets that, it was claimed, improved the performance and handling of vehicles through "aligning the molecules".

The overwhelming majority of the Australian motoring community regarded the device as pseudoscience. Brock also recommended tyre pressures of 22psi (150kPa) for his polariser-equipped vehicles, a level which many regarded as near-dangerously low. Holden, fearing the consequences of being associated with the device and a resulting breakdown in communications over Brock's plans for new models, cut ties with Brock and set up an alternative racing/modification operation, Holden Special Vehicles. During this period, Brock also became involved in the importation and even the modification of the Lada Samara, a cheap Soviet-built hatchback a world away from the high-performance V8-powered Commodores he was famous for. [cite web
url = http://www.wa.apana.org.au/~abolton/samrview.html
title = I'd rather a Lada!
accessdate = 2006-09-15
last = Bolton
first = Andrew
authorlink = http://www.wa.apana.org.au/~abolton/samara.html
format = Review excerpts from Australian motoring magazines
]

After his work with Lada, Brock, during the period 1988-1990 sold around 200 personally modified EA-series Ford Falcons, Fairmont Ghias, Fairlanes and Mavericks through Austech Automotive Developments. [cite web
url = http://www.geocities.com/brock_fords/index.html
title = EA-series Ford Falcons, Fairmont Ghias, Fairlanes and Mavericks.
accessdate = 2006-11-20
last = Walsh
first = Terry
authorlink = http://www.geocities.com/brock_fords/index.html
]

While Brock was always typecast in a Holden, he did have 'brief flirtations' with other makes in touring car racing. After his 1987 Holden split, he campaigned a BMW M3 (1988), and a Ford Sierra (1989-90). He also campaigned a Ford Falcon in the AUSCAR series.

By 1991 he and Holden, having patched up their relationship, were back together. A further flirtation of Brock's was in 1994 when he raced a Volvo 850 in the one-off Bathurst 12-Hour. He also competed for Volvo in the Australian Super Touring Championship in 1996.

Retirement activities

Brock continued to race in privately supported teams for some years afterwards, but returned to the factory Holden Racing Team in 1994. Brock retired from full-time driving in 1997.

After his nominal 'retirement' he made two returns to Bathurst (2002 and 2004) and competed in the Nations Cup for highly modified and exotic cars in 2004. In 2002, he returned to top-level touring car racing as a team patron with Rod Nash Racing in V8 Supercar Commodore in that year's Bathurst 1000 and the team was renamed 'Team Brock' as a branding exercise. The 'Team Brock' branding exercise was revived for 2003 this time with Paul Weel Racing but this time Brock's role was as a mentor rather than a driver. Frustrated with the lack of control he held over a team bearing his name, Brock and the team parted company at the end of the season.

He occasionally competed in various enthusiast-level motorsport events such as the Targa Tasmania. The team's vehicles are actually constructed by Holden Special Vehicles. His smooth on-camera persona and familiarity to older Australians continued to sell products, including Mobil Oils and Bridgestone tyres, as the controversy of the Energy Polarizer had been largely forgotten.

He achieved a tenth Bathurst win, in a manner of sorts, later in 2003, at the Bathurst 24 Hour, when he won, with Greg Murphy, Jason Bright and Todd Kelly in a Garry Rogers Motorsport prepared HRT 427C, a highly modified version of the Holden Monaro production car.

Career results

Media work

Due to his extraordinary success on the racing track Brock became the Australian racing driver with the highest-profile as he undertook several media commitments. When not racing he often appeared on New Zealand television screens as a presenter; hosting motoring shows such as TV3's "Police Stop" (1996-1998) and TVNZ's "Love that Car" (2000).

He was also due to star in a racing film "King of the Mountain" alongside Shannon Noll in early 2007. [cite news |author = Staff author |title = Pete in a panorama |work = Herald Sun - Carsguide |publisher = News Ltd |pages = G19 |date = 21 July, 2006 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ] update

Brock has been the subject of two DVD documentaries—"The Legend" (1997 - updated 2004) [http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/220439] and "35 Years on the Mountain" (2005) [http://www.ezydvd.com.au/item.zml/778389] .

Personal life

Brock married Heather Russell in 1967. The marriage ended in divorce two years later.cite news |author = Ray Kershler & Rupert Guinness |title = Wives in the fast lane |work = The Daily Telegraph |publisher = News Ltd |page = 31 |date = 15 October, 2005 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ]

Several years later Brock met 1973 Miss Australia pageant winner and Channel Seven weather presenter Michelle Downes. They married in April 1974 but this marriage was to be even shorter than his first, ending after only one year. [cite news |title = Miss Australia Divorce |work = The Daily Mirror |date = 4 August, 1975] In 2006, Downes claimed Brock repeatedly beat her, and forced her to have an abortion. [The Age Saturday 18 November 2006, p.11]

Brock next entered into a relationship with Bev McIntosh, the wife of one of his motor racing team. After his two failed marriages Brock was hesitant to marry McIntosh.

Although the couple never formally married, Peter always called Bev his "wife", and she changed her surname to Brock by deed poll. They had two children together, Robert and Alexandra. Her oldest, James, is Bev's son from a previous marriage.

Bev wrote Peter's biography [cite book | last = Brock | first = Bev | title = Peter Brock: Living with a Legend | year = 2004 | publisher = Macmillan Australia | location = Sydney ] herself in 2004 after finding most potential authors had incorrect preconceived notions about him. She also expressed a desire to show his human side, to encourage others that they, too, can achieve their goals.cite news |first = James |last = Stanford |title = Brocky marriage |work = Herald-Sun |publisher = News Ltd |page = W29 |date = 30 October 2004 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ] "Even Allan Moffat said it's okay for him—it's us mortals that have the problem," she said.

Brock split with Bev in May 2005 after 28 years together. Alexandra gave birth to their grandson Oliver on 28 June 2006, two months before Brock's death. [cite news |author = Mike Edmonds, Luke Dennehy & Chloe Adams |title = Brock to drive solo |work = Herald-Sun |publisher = News Ltd |page = 20 |date = 3 May 2005 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ]

According to Bev, Brock was not an entirely faithful partner. She has described in a book her eventual tiring in the early 1990s of his relationships with "one too many secretaries". [cite news
coauthors = Michael Bodey and Alana Buckley-Carr
title = Brock's affair shattered my family: mate
url = http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20395745-2702,00.html
work = The Australian
publisher = News Limited
date = 12 September 2006 |accessdate = 2006-09-16
]

After splitting with Bev, Peter began a relationship with Julie Bamford, [cite news |author = Rebehah Devlin, Andrew Capel & Doug Robertson |title = Brock's new model |work = The Advertiser |publisher = News Ltd |page = 44 |date = 10 October 2005 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ] whom he had met through his former partner Bev some 20 years previously.cite news |first = Emily |last = Power |title = Brock feud erupts: Jilted man comes out swinging |work = Herald-Sun |publisher = News Ltd |page = 17 |date = 17 March 2006 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ] Subsequently Bamford's estranged husband Ron McCurdy, who had once been a close friend of Brock's, assaulted Brock during a chance meeting outside the Peter Brock Foundation's office. [cite news |first = Ian |last = Haberfield |title = Brock 'had it coming': Jilted husband has no regrets |work = Sunday Herald Sun |publisher = News Ltd |page = 4 |date = 2 July 2006 |accessdate = 2006-09-08 ]

Death

At 11.50am (AWST) on 8 September, 2006, while driving in the "Targa West '06" rally, Brock was 3 kilometres from the finish of the second stage of the race at Gidgegannup, about 40km from Perth, Western Australia [cite news|url=http://www.cams.com.au/content.asp?PageID=Article&ObjectID=775|title=Australian Motor Racing Legend Dies in Targa West|publisher=Confederation of Australian Motorsport|date=8 September, 2006] when he skidded off a downhill left-hand bend on Clenton Road for over 50 metres in his 2001 Daytona Sportscar [cite news|url=http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200609/s1736485.htm|title=Racing legend Brock killed in car crash|publisher=ABC News|date=8 September, 2006] and hit a tree. 61-year-old Brock was killed instantly. His co-driver, Mick Hone, was taken to hospital in a serious but stable condition. [cite news|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/peter-brock-killed-in-crash/2006/09/08/1157222310976.html|title=Peter Brock killed in crash|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=8 September, 2006] [cite news|url=http://thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=28&ContentID=6044|title=Motor racing legend Peter Brock 'reportedly killed'|publisher=The West Australian|date=8 September, 2006] Video footage of the crash (provided by a fan and the in-car camera) was reviewed by Western Australian police to help determine the cause of the accident, however coroner Alastair Hope's report indicated his death was caused by high speed and that no coronial inquest would be performed [cite news|url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23404806-2,00.html|title=No inquest into Brock race death|publisher=News.com.au|date=20 March, 2008] .

Brock's children accepted the offer of a Victorian state funeral, with former partner Bev telling ABC Radio::" [Brock] was loved. He was in the public eye, and everything had to be done with a flourish and with a bang. It's probably the way he would want to go out, (and) he would want to be remembered." [cite news|url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20375524-2,00.html|title=Brock family accepts state funeral|publisher=News.com.au|date=9 September, 2006]

The editor of "Wheels Magazine", Ged Bulmer, said that Brock would be remembered for his nine victories at Bathurst, for "He had a long and very successful career there, he was the 'King of the Mountain' as he came to be known."

Brock was farewelled with a state funeral [cite news|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/remarkable-brocks-hard-road/2006/09/19/1158431681495.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1|title='Remarkable' Brock's hard road|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=19 September, 2006] at Melbourne's St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, on 19 September, 2006. There will also be a permanent memorial at Peter Brock's "home" raceway, Sandown Raceway, placed there on 22 September. [cite news|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/brocks-body-returns-to-melbourne/2006/09/12/1157826937657.html|title=Brock's body returns to Melbourne|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=12 September, 2006]

Legacy

In honour of his achievements and in recognition of his contribution to Australian motorsport, the Bathurst 1000 winner's trophy now carries his name.

Awards

In addition to his racing championships, Brock's efforts to society have been recognised in various ways:
* Member of the Order of Australia (9 June 1980)—AM QB80. For service to the sport of motor racing. [http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?aus_award_id=886776&search_type=quick&showInd=true]
* Bent Spoon Award (1986) Awarded by the Australian Skeptics for his promotion of the "Energy Polariser" device. [http://www.skeptics.com.au/spoon/aboutthespoon.htm]
* Australian Sports Medal (24 October 2000) [http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?aus_award_id=979107&search_type=quick&showInd=true]
* Centenary Medal (1 January 2001) For outstanding service to the community through fundraising. [http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?aus_award_id=1116523&search_type=quick&showInd=true]
*National Service Medal (14 February 2006) - For Military Service (?-1967) [http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2006/02_feb/va006.htm] [http://www.brock05.com/brockA30.php]

ee also

* List of Australian Touring Car and V8 Supercar Champions
* List of auto racing tracks
* List of vegans
* Order of Australia

References

External links

* [http://peterbrock.com.au/ Official website]
* [http://www.peterbrockfoundation.com.au/ Peter Brock Foundation]
* [http://www.news.com.au/feature/0,,5008920,00.html NEWS.com.au In Depth - Peter Brock Legacy]
* [http://www.1k.com.au/ 1k.06 - Bathurst 1000 including a 32page Brock Tribute]
* [http://cfm.globalf1.net/?page_id=67 Chequered Flag Motorsport's Tribute to Brocky]


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