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Bathurst 1000 to honour Brock

Peter Brock's daughter Alexandra said her father was fallible.

Bev Brock, the mother of his two children, said he had betrayed her when he left her for another woman.

The man himself said he was a provocateur. But to the thousands of fans at the Bathurst 1000 this weekend, the late Peter Brock will be revered as the King of the Mountain, Peter Perfect.

The dignitaries and politicians paid their respects to Brock at his state funeral in Melbourne last month and 10,000 of his heartland fans honoured the 61-year-old at Sandown raceway three days later.

It's Bathurst's turn this weekend. Mt Panorama is where the legend was born and grew and the mountain is where it will be celebrated with the most vigour.

Following Brock's death in a West Australian rally crash on September 8, New Zealand driver Jason Richards lamented the huge hole his passing would leave at Bathurst.

``It just won't be Bathurst without Brock,'' Richards said.

But Brock will be inescapable this weekend.

Rarely silent and not known for their piety, this year's expected Bathurst crowd of 60,000 will hear a homily for Brock from V8 Supercars chaplain Gary Coleman on Sunday followed by a minute's silence.

Before the race, big screens around the track will show a video montage of Brock's near 40-year career.

Like an empty chair at the dinner table, there will still be a place for him on the track - the front row of the grid will be left vacant.

His cars will still crest the mountain - the nine Holdens in which he won the race, from the 1972 Torana to the 1987 Commodore, will be driven on a tribute lap.

And his name is now indelibly linked to the race and not just in the record books - the winner will receive the newly commissioned Peter Brock Trophy.

With so much emphasis on paying homage, dual winner Rick Kelly, one of the favourites to be the first name on the $75,000 trophy, acknowledges the shadow Brock casts over Bathurst 2006.

``To win it this year would be quite special,'' Kelly said.

``There's going to be a lot of emotion up at the mountain this year with the passing of Brocky and knowing what he's done for that event and motor sport in general in Australia.

``We have to be a little bit careful we don't let that get in the way of winning the race.

``We've all been touched by Peter and his achievements so it will be tough to keep that out of our minds and go up there and do the job.'' V8 Supercars Australia chief Wayne Cattach said this weekend's Bathurst tributes were the most appropriate way to farewell the first superstar of Australian domestic motor racing.

``The most befitting place for a tribute is Bathurst,'' Cattach said at the time of Brock's death.

``He forged his name in motor sport on that mountain, I think the fans will come to expect something special and we will provide that.''

Bathurst council will also provide a permanent memorial with plans to erect a statue of the man who built his first race car in a chookshed.

He made such a name for himself driving that Austin A30 in sports car events, he was invited by Holden to drive in the Bathurst 500 in 1969. Thus began an unparalleled career in domestic motorsport and an enduring place in the hearts of Australian motorheads.

But even those who didn't know their twin cam shaft from their carby knew Peter Brock.

He earned the Peter Perfect tag as much for his persona off the track as for his nine Bathurst wins and three touring car triumphs.

He was the rockstar of the sport - married to a former Miss Australia, charismatic, good looking, drove fast cars, won lots of trophies. Every bloke liked him and plenty of women fancied him. The women were a weakness, but he had many strengths.

Mark Skaife, Brock's successor as Holden's No.1 driver, said he was ``someone we all aspired to be.''

``He had flair, he had a flamboyance, he had determination and he had creativity.''

But he was also well grounded and humble - the sort of bloke the lads camped out on Mt Panorama could relate to.

He was always happy to stay behind and sign autographs and was generous with his time and advice to young drivers.


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