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Peter Brock in his own words


"I WAS born and bred in a little Victorian country town called Hurstbridge, and my family didn't have a whole lot of money.

"My dad was a very gifted mechanic and he taught me all about machinery; the fundamental basics of a car, mechanical sympathy.

"He also took me to car races, but we never had any money, so I built myself a car.

"It was me and my mates out in the chookhouse at mum and dad's house. We got this rocket together, it was a real rocket, and we made it there in the old chookhouse and every now and again dad would come out and give us the nod.

"I was fortunate to have a father who supported me no matter what I did, who allowed me to be myself, and a mother who instilled in me a sense of achieving a goal.

"Mum was a very competitive person, she was an excellent sportswoman, a Victorian tennis champion.

"Mum, I guess, was one of those people who was brought up in a household where if you didn't succeed in doing something, you weren't exactly flavour of the month with your parents and I guess that rubbed off on me.

"It gave me that need to strive to achieve those levels in order to gain recognition from my parents.

"That's not necessarily a healthy thing in many respects, but to give my parents their due, it made me, me.

"When I was growing up I think I was a wildly enthusiactic child.

"I was into running the fastest, jumping the highest and if someone gave me a double dare, I'd take it.

"Fortunately my parents allowed me to be me and although thery surely despaired sometimes at the risks I took, I would have to say I owe then a great deal of debt because they allowed me to explore life without any sense of guilt or recrimination.

"So when it came to to getting behind the wheel of a racing car, I took to it like a duck to water.

"That car we built in the chookshed was a little Austin A30, with a Holden engine, and while it certainly wasn't a slick piece of machinery, it got me racing, it got me on the track and it got me noticed by the people who counted".

One of those people was Holden Team manager, Harry Firth, who spotted the Brock talent early and asked the young gun to drive for Holden in the 1969 Bathurst 500.

"I was in my early 20's and when he said "I'd like you to race at Bathurst", I knew it was my big break.

"I got out there and took that opportunity by the throat.

"I listened, I watched, I absorbed and I did what I was told.

"That was when a great change came over me and knew I could no longer be this brash young kid who knew it all.

"I had a sense of the occasion and I respected the race. I decided to go from an intuitive sense of just getting out there and doing.

"I saw it a bit like an artist, I saw the race track like a canvas and I was painting it. So yes, I think I saw it a bit differently from the other kids."

Brock quickly rose through the ranks, and with each win his fame grew, both on the circuit and off.

The 1970s and 80s were heady times for the young driver and he admits there were times when he didn't handle the pressure well.

He credits his wife Beverly and his three children James, Robert and Alexandra for bringing a healthy perspective into his life.

"As you go through life, you have these moments of floundering. You go though one relationship after another (Brock has been married once before to former Miss Australia, Michelle Downes) and there's all this drama in your life.

"It's very difficult to have a relationship with someone like me who has an all-consuming passion.

"If you love someone who is right into something, it's most difficult for a partner to understand that, no matter how much they love you.

"It occupies every facet of your being, so I was very fortunate finding Bev, because she understood.

"Bev came along and I don't know, I had some sort of innate sense that said; "This woman is a very good woman and will give you some direction in your life'.

"I thought: 'She's going to give me a sense of steadiness and understanding. She will give you a sense of harmony and balance rather than just running from pillar to post and hoping it works'.

"So Bev's made an enormous difference in my life.

"When we first met she was going through a marriage break-up with a guy interstate and a guy who worked for me knew her former husband

"We knew each other socially for a year or two before we got together and gradually found ourselves together.

"We were as surprised as anybody to find we were together.

"She wasn't the woman I held as the ideal woman in my eyes and I probably wasn't the ideal man in hers.

"She came from an academic background and here was this race driver and here's Bev who is a very attractive, but unglamorous sort of woman I had known.

"She's instilled in me a sense of compassion and concern for others, which I didn't have as a young man. I'd crush over anyone to get what I wanted." But if Bev keeps him sane, his kids keep him young.

"Oh my kids are full-on."

* Peter Brock

Excerpt from The Sunday Telegraph written by Frances Whiting

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