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Peter Geoffrey Brock AM (26 February 1945 – 8 September 2006) otherwise known as "Peter Perfect", "The King of the Mountain" or simply as "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. [35497] He won the Bathurst 1000 endurance race nine times, the Sandown 500 touring car race nine times, the Australian Touring Car Championship three times and was inducted into the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame in 2001. 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 Victorianmarker country town of Hurstbridgemarker (now an outer suburb of Melbourne) and continued to live there throughout his life. He attended Eltham High School in Eltham Victoria His first car was an Austin 7 that he bought for £5 (A$10). 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

Brock at Symmons Plains 1982
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

Brock's Bathurst winning Torana
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 500marker 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.

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 Zealandmarker 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.

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 Mansmarker 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. This attempt was covered extensively in the Peter Mckay/Barry Naismith book "LeMans The Australian Assault"

Brock drove a Vauxhall Magnum with Britishmarker driver Gerry Marshall to a surprise second place in the 1977 Spa 24 Hours. He also won the 1979 Repco Round Australia trial driving for HDT in a 6cyl Holden VB Commodore along with co-drivers Noel Richards and Matthew Philip. The Repco was a long-distance endurance rally that drove clockwise around Australia featuring some dirt road sections completely different to the circuit racing where he made his name.

Motoring safety campaign

Brock also worked with the Victorianmarker 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.

Brock began to consult health practitioner Eric Dowker. He gave up alcohol and cigarettes, and became a vegan. 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 Sovietmarker-built hatchback a world away from the high-performance V8-powered Commodores he was famous for.

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.

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.

He announced to a packed race track he was forming 'The Peter Brock Foundation' A philanthropic organisation funded by corporate sponsors and donations from the public. Aimed at disadvantaged youth and others experiencing difficulties in Australia. As of 2008, the Foundation still continues operating and has financed many activities and people.

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

Season Series Position Car Team
1973 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Holden Dealer Team
1973 South Pacific Touring Series 1st Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Holden Dealer Team
1974 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000
Holden Dealer Team
1974 South Pacific Touring Series 1st Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Holden Dealer Team
1975 Australian Touring Car Championship 7th Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 Gown - Hindhaugh
1976 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 Team Brock
1977 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34
Holden LX Torana SS A9X
Bill Patterson Holden
1978 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Holden LX Torana SS A9X Holden Dealer Team
1979 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Holden LX Torana SS A9X Holden Dealer Team
1980 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Holden VB Commodore Holden Dealer Team
1981 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Holden VC Commodore Holden Dealer Team
1982 Australian Touring Car Championship 5th Holden VC Commodore Holden Dealer Team
1983 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Holden VH Commodore SS Holden Dealer Team
1984 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Holden VH Commodore SS Holden Dealer Team
1985 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Holden VK Commodore Holden Dealer Team
1985 Australian Endurance Championship 5th Holden VK Commodore Holden Dealer Team
1986 Australian Touring Car Championship 5th Holden VK Commodore SS Group A Holden Dealer Team
1987 Australian Touring Car Championship 7th Holden VK Commodore SS Group A
Holden VL Commodore SS Group A
Mobil Holden Dealer Team
1988 Australian Touring Car Championship 5th BMW M3 Mobil 1 Racing
1989 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Ford Sierra RS500 Advantage Racing
1989 Nissan-Mobil 500 Series 1st Ford Sierra RS500 Advantage Racing
1990 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Ford Sierra RS500 Advantage Racing
1991 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Holden VN Commodore SS Group A Advantage Racing
1992 Australian Touring Car Championship 11th Holden VN Commodore SS Group A Advantage Racing
1993 Australian Touring Car Championship 8th Holden VP Commodore Advantage Racing
1994 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Holden VP Commodore Holden Racing Team
1995 Australian Touring Car Championship 3rd Holden VR Commodore Holden Racing Team
1996 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Holden VR Commodore Holden Racing Team
1996 Australian Super Touring Championship 6th Volvo 850 Volvo Dealer Racing
1997 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Holden VS Commodore Holden Racing Team
2002 V8 Supercar Championship Series 68th Holden VX Commodore Team Brock
2003 Australian Nations Cup Championship 4th Holden Monaro 427C Garry Rogers Motorsport
2004 Australian Nations Cup Championship 6th Holden Monaro 427C Team Brock
2004 V8Supercar Championship Series 58th Holden VY Commodore Holden Racing Team


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 Zealandmarker 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.

Brock has been the subject of several DVD documentaries—The Legend (1997 - updated 2004) [35498] Peter Brock - Nine Times a Champion, Holden First Around Australia (Repco Trial VB Commodore)25 Years of HDT Special Vehicles Collectors Edition (2006) and 35 Years on the Mountain (2005) [35499].

Personal life

Brock married Heather Russell in 1967. The marriage ended in divorce two years later.

Several years later Brock met 1973 Miss Australia pageant winner and Channel Sevenmarker 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. In 2006, Downes claimed Brock repeatedly beat her, and forced her to have an abortion.

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 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. "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.

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".

After splitting with Bev, Peter began a relationship with Julie Bamford, whom he had met through his former partner Bev some 20 years previously. 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.

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 Gidgegannupmarker, about 40 km from Perth, Western Australiamarker when he skidded off a downhill left-hand bend on Clenton Road for over 50 metres in his 2001 Daytona Sportscar 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. 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. Coroner Alastair Hope decided that his death was caused by high speed and that no coronial inquest would be performed.

Brock's children accepted the offer of a Victorianmarker state funeral, with former partner Bev telling ABC Radiomarker:
"[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."


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."

Peter Brock in the Daytona Coupe racing in Targa Tasmania 2006


Brock was farewelled with a state funeral at Melbourne'smarker St. Paul's Anglican Cathedralmarker, on 19 September 2006. A permanent memorial was placed at Peter Brock's "home" raceway, Sandown Racewaymarker, on 22 September.

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:

See also



References

External links




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