Peter Brock

Peter Geoffrey Brock, AM (26 February 1945 – 8 September 2006), otherwise known as Peter Perfect, The King of the Mountain, or simply 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 and Porsche.

He won the Bathurst 1000 endurance race nine times, the Sandown 500 touring car race nine times, the Australian Touring Car Championship three times, the Bathurst 24 Hour once and was inducted into the V8 Supercars 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.

On the 10th anniversary of motor sport legend Peter Brock’s fatal accident, his old rival Alan Moffatt admits he still gets emotional thinking about it.

Brock died on September 8, 2006 in a relatively obscure road rally in Western Australia when his replica Cobra coupe slid off on a corner and slammed sideways into a tree. He was just 61 and his death shocked the nation.

Such was Brock’s skill behind the wheel that his devoted followers and racing peers alike struggled to accept that he died doing what he did – and loved doing – best.

The Brock legend has lived on almost unabated for a decade because no other driver has matched his mastery of the Bathurst 1000 or his personal appeal.

His career will be remembered and celebrated on Thursday, most notably with a memorial service at Mount Panorama. The October 6-9 Bathurst 1000 will also be themed as a tribute to Brock.

Among the many thousands who will be mourning him will be his greatest racetrack rivals, Allan Moffat and Dick Johnson. Brock was a Holden hero from the start and Moffat was his original Ford nemesis in the 1970s, followed by Johnson in the ’80s.

“I can never forget the day of Peter’s death,” Moffat said. “Like most of Australia, I was devastated. I always had a high regard for him and in later years we were very close friends.

“The public perception was that we were enemies, but we were never enemies. We were fierce competitors that tried to do the best for the companies we represented. It wasn’t personal at all beyond wanting to beat each other on the track.

“There’s no doubt Peter was my greatest rival. I got the most satisfaction out of beating him, especially in the early days.”

Brock and Moffat teamed up for the two-driver Australasian endurance races in 1986 and early ’87, before Brock famously fell out with Holden, winning the Wellington 500 in NZ both years in HDT Commodores.

“We both wondered why they hadn’t got together sooner,” Moffat recalled. “It was so natural and I will always be grateful for his generosity when I was ‘between engagements’.

“I’m happy to admit that I do often think of him. After 10 years, it’s become easier, but I still get very emotional thinking about him.”

Brock has cast a long-lasting shadow over touring car racing in Australia, and in the popularity and recognition stakes, only Ford folk hero Johnson – who is still active as a Supercars team co-owner – is close.

According to Johnson, his ’80s rivalry with Brock captured the public imagination because they ran and raced their own respective Ford and Holden teams.

“It was so different in our time,” Johnson reflected. “We were team owners and drivers. We did the whole lot. Now the drivers are just the hired help.

“As a consequence, they don’t have the fan base we enjoyed. There aren’t two individuals banging their heads together like we used to.

“Brock’s passing left a very big hole in the sport. He put an awful lot into this sport and he put an awful lot into building it into what it is today.

“People remember that and you see it on social media – people still have very fond memories of him and the peak of our era in the 1980s.

“We had so many great battles. We raced hard without crashing into each other. Brock was a very fair racer. He was also one hell of a natural driver.”

Brock wasn’t really “Peter Perfect”, as he was known at the height of his career, but despite his flaws and insecurities, his legend lives on because he was a larger-than-life character.

“As a personality, Brock was a one-off,” said his long-time publicist Tim Pemberton. “Everybody remembers him for who he was and what he did.

“With him not around, it’s just like a big blank, really. He hasn’t been replaced. His death left a big hole that hasn’t been filled – and I doubt that it ever will.”