Friday, September 08, 2006

Peter Brock: 1945 - 2006

They say these things come in threes. Well this week sees that particular truism proved right with the tragic passing of Australian racing legend Peter Brock.

Brock was more than just a driver. He transcended his sport and used the media to become larger than life. He started racing in a homemade Austin in 1967 and in 1969 began his highly successful relationship with the Holden Racing Team and there he remained until 1987. His partnership with Holden was so successful that they launched a racing package for their signature car, the Commodore, called the 'Brock Commodore'. No other Australian racer has had that honour and very few worldwide get it. But Brock did. His fame wasn't limited to Australia, he was recognised internationally with UK Motor Sport magazine who rated Peter Brock in the top twenty most exciting drivers of all time, a list which included the likes of Senna, Schumacher, Fangio and Nuvolari. Not too shabby.

Brock was known by several name, King Of The Mountain (denoting Bathurst where he claimed 9 titles, 10 if you count the 2003 24 hour race) and Peter Perfect are two, but Australians knew him best as plain old Brocky. If you said that name to anyone then they'd know who you were talking about. He made his impact at a time when touring car racing was in it's infancy in regards to television and it was partly due to his drive, enthusiasm, skill and his ability to entertain that saw the touring cars become the monster they now are. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who lived through the '70s who can't recall seeing Brock and Alan Moffat racing - Holden versus Ford. And we loved it! It was the conflict of a nation for a while there.

Brock is to motor racing what Sir Donald Bradman is to cricket, what Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio is to baseball, what Michael Jordan is to basketball - the freak. The one man who took on all before him and beat the lot.

And we loved Peter Brock. Now he's gone, gone racing. Like Colin Thiele and Steve Irwin, Brock will live on forever in the hearts and memories of those he touched.

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