How Good Is This!

17 11 2012

They say ‘never met your heroes’ (don’t you dare go there again – ed.). I never got the chance to meet Peter Brock and I don’t exactly classify him as a hero of mine, but I’m confused as to how I feel about him. I’m not knocking him for what he did, there is no denying the man is a legend.

I say this because I have just finished reading the biography “Peter Brock: How Good Is This!” by Wayne Webster (2008). It was an interesting read with a lot of little tidbits of information about Brock and his career. For example, did you know that the racing number that Peter made famous, 05, was actually in relation to work that he did for the Victoria Road Safety and Traffic Authority (VRSTA) in 1975? It was in that year that VRSTA introduced the law of drivers only being able to have a blood alcohol limit of 0.05 when they were behind the wheel. Peter fronted that campaign to inform drivers and the rest, as they say, is history.

Torana A9X: my personal favourite of all the Brock cars.

Another interesting thing that I learnt, and this may be why I’m having mixed feelings at the moment, is that he wasn’t the best family man. That wasn’t because he regretted having children or like sharing time with them, but because he was a very public person, and was always willing to give his time to others, so when he signed autographs for fans, he signed it for every last person standing in that line. This was one of the reasons why he was considered the peoples champion. After getting some much needed media training in his early day, he very much became public property and the fact that he had seemingly boundless amounts of energy and was rarely there for the people he should’ve been. The other thing that blew me away (admittedly I don’t read gossip pages or anything) but, Peter and Bev, despite having a 28 year relationship and two children of their own, never actually married. I was stunned at this especially given the very public knowledge of the split and how big it became.

Although, this Austin A30 is pretty sweet

Other interesting things that I read in the book was that Brock had a deep appreciation for the Aboriginal people and was keen to learn about as much about their heritage as possible. Especially in relation to the 76 hectare property that had been in his family since the 1800s. Six generations of the Brock family lived there in Melbourne.

One thing that I didn’t like about the book though was the lack of full page pictures; there weren’t that many when there should’ve been heaps. Of the pictures that were there though, some of them were excellent, but could’ve been better if they were full page.

I remember that a friend once told me that Brock started his career with Ford and that he was technically the prodigal son that never returned. I claimed bull-shit on this almost immediately, and to a degree we were both right. Brock did drive for Ford, but he didn’t start in them. It was in ’89-90 that he drove a Sierra after being cut off by Holden following the ‘Energy Polarizer’ scandal and his BMW team hit the skids financially (no pun intended – ed.)

*Choke, choke* What!!

The book really does a good job of tracing the highs (9 Bathurst wins; or 10 depending on who you speak to) and the lows (marital problems, crashes and financial woes; he was as well of as many people think) and as a read is generally quite enjoyable. But as I said at the top, I’m now confused as to how much I actually like him now.

Just before I go, the favourite fact that I read was involving the car that he sadly passed away in. He was driving a replica 1963 Daytona coupe. The original was designed by man called… any guesses? If you said Peter Brock, than you are right.

Ah, day-glow orange. One of my favourite colours

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