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Motor Racing Legend Peter Brock Killed
Australian national hero dies in rally crash
Michael Clough (clough)     Print Article 
Published 2006-09-08 18:46 (KST)   
Australian motor racing legend Peter Brock was killed Friday after crashing his car during the Targa West Tarmac Rally in Western Australia.

Brock, 61 and his co-driver Mick Hone were driving in their Daytona Coupe through the small town of Gidgegannup, 40 km east of Perth when Brock lost control of the vehicle coming out of a hairpin turn, the vehicle hitting a tree. It is believed that Brock was killed instantly in the crash. Hone was injured but conscious when medical crews removed him from the vehicle and is reported to be in a stable condition at Swan Districts Hospital.

Born Feb. 26 1945 in the Melbourne suburb of Hurstbridge, Brock would become one of the most famous names in Australian sport, especially during the 1970s and 80s when he won the nation's most prestigious motor race, the Bathurst 1000, held at Mt. Panorama, a record nine times driving Holden cars. The most famous of those victories was in 1979 when Brock won by a race record of six laps and fans lovingly nicknamed Brock "King of the Mountain" and "Peter Perfect."

Brock also won three Australian Touring Car titles and achieved more pole positions than any other driver in the history of the sport.

Peter Brock was the poster boy of the sport during its golden age and Brock's racetrack battles with Ford drivers Allan Moffat and Dick Johnson(*) were the stuff of legend.

Brock was also a stickler for safety on the track and on the road, actively supporting government campaigns to reduce drink driving, spending much of his career sporting the number 05 on his vehicle to match the blood alcohol limit of 0.05 percent that has been in place in the state of Victoria for many years. Brock's 05 sits along with Don Bradman's batting average of 99.94 as one of the most iconic numbers in Australian sport.

After an acrimonious spilt with Holden in 1986, Brock returned to the car maker in 1994, retiring from full-time racing in 1997. Brock was not lost to racing after this time. He focused more on rally driving and competed in the Bathurst 1000 on two final occasions in 2002 and 2004.

Peter Brock was also very active off the track, working as an athlete liaison for the Australian Olympic team in 2000 and 2004. Brock was also a member of the board of Australian Grand Prix Corporation from 1998 onwards and was a one-time board member of the Collingwood Football Club, his other great sporting passion.

Honored with the Order of Australia Medal in 1980, Brock also established the Peter Brock Foundation, a charity aimed at supporting underprivileged youth.

Such was Brock's impact on Australian sport and society in general that people, including those too young to remember him at his peak would line up for hours to get his autograph.

Brock's passing has left Australia in shock, especially following the death of Steve Irwin. Two of Australia's most famous citizens, both dying suddenly doing what they loved.

It is expected that the Victorian state government will offer Peter Brock's family a state funeral.

Brock is survived by his former partner of 28 years Beverley, his children Jamie, Robert and Alexandria, and his girlfriend Julie Bamford.
(*) A previous version of this article misidentified the Ford driver Dick Johnson. OhmyNews regrets the error.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Michael Clough

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