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Fans and family farewell Brock


As the tributes and tears flowed for the most celebrated racing driver in Australia inside a packed St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne yesterday, a crowd of almost 10,000 jammed Federation Square across the road to watch Brocks State funeral on a giant screen.

At the end of the service which lasted almost two hours, Alexandra led the procession from the altar, her eyes glazed over, sobbing occasionally as she walked down the aisle cradling her dads famous helmet.

"He was the most genuine person I’ve ever come across," Alexandra said in a moving tribute which prompted mourners to break out into spontaneous applause.

"How do you put into words something about a man like him. You just cant, she said tears running her her cheeks."

Earlier tributes were delivered by former racing driver, Network 10 commentator Neil Crompton who recounted some of the more light hearted moments in Brocks professional career that spanned almost 40 years.

Among the mourners were Victorian premier Steve Bracks, the leader of the Federal Opposition Kim Beazley, former opposition leader John Hewson, Melbourne Lord Mayor John So and Federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp who represented Prime Minister John Howard.

Some of Australia’s leading motor racing identities including motorcycle world champion and V8 Supercar driver Wayne Gardner, Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat, Colin Bond and John Harvey transcended the eras.

From other sports fields were swimmers Matt Welsh and Brooke Hansen as well as former marathon man Steve Moneghetti.

Earlier Collingwood great Peter Daicos spoke of the man he met for the first time in 1983 who was his all-time hero.

One of the common threads to come out of the service was that Brock was a conduit to all people, a man who could give his time to all walks of life.

He was a passionate Collingwood supporter and former board member of the AFL club who embodied everything that Australia stood for honesty, integrity and always striving for perfection.

"He was a great man, a superb athlete and a tremendous visionary," brother Lewis Brock said.

Lewis led eight speakers at the service in front of Brocks children Alexandra, Robert and James.

Former partner of 28 years Bev Brock and his new partner Julie Bamford were at the head of the procession which left the cathedral.

It was a perfect service for a man nicknamed Peter Perfect for his racing exploits however his personal life was far from the glossy public image that had been created by careful PR massaging over the years.

Brocks wayward ways were touched on at the service which included his split from Holden in the late 1980s over his belief in an Energy Polariser that he believed had magical powers of engine performance.

And then there was the time Brock believed that aliens had landed on his property at Hurtsbridge on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Old rival Dick Johnson maintained his long held admiration of Brock as being one of the fairest drivers he’s raced against.

A large crowd of fans were the last filter into the cathedral, many wearing Brock clothing, dozens donning Holden gear.

These are resilient people who at various times throughout the service were misty eyed and they were not alone. Ford fans were also touched by the emotional service.

Brocks personality reached out a touched millions of Australians through his generosity and genuine human interest.

He did a lot for charity, the environment and the aboriginal people.

Aunty Joy Murphy, an elder with the Wurundjeri People said the legendary driver had a genuine hunger to learn more at the aboriginal culture.

"Our people will always remember him and in death he won’t walk alone," she said.

Brock left on his final road journey on a hot sunny day in Melbourne, the cortege leaving the Flinders St Cathedral for a private cremation.

His casket was carried to a specially prepared Holden hearse by James, Robert, Neil, Lewis, Philip, David and Alexander Brock and friend Dr Eric Dowker.

The King of the Mountain was a mountain of a man who left a mountain of memories. Long live the King.

Gordon Lomas is a senior writer on CARSguide and The Courier Mail.

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