Having been brought up as a one-eyed Dick Johnson fan in the ‘Tru-Blu’ and ‘Greens Tuf’ Falcon eras, sitting down to read the life story of his arch-rival, Peter Brock, was never something I thought I’d see my self doing.

However, David Hassall’s new Brock biography soon changed that. Although released three years after Brock’s death, most of the new book was checked and approved by the Holden legend before his death. As Hassall says, it’s as close to an authorised biography as there can be.

Much to my surprise (and only because of my Ford upbringing), the book is a real page turner and I found it hard to put down as the Brock story unfolds through his sometimes happy, sometimes tumultuous times with the Holden Dealer Team, his life as a privateer, and the successes he had at Mt Panorama, Bathurst.

The now infamous Energy Polarizer gets plenty of space in the book, as do Brock’s forays overseas in events such as the Le Mans 24 Hour race and the European Touring Car Championship.

Most of Brock’s rally driving took place before my time, yet a full chapter on his off-road expeditions brings the reader up to speed on just what a multi-talented driver he was.

He describes his 1979 Repco Round Australia Trial victory as the “greatest thing he ever did in a car”, but it is perhaps his other rallying results, usually in standard and under-powered cars, that make his record all the more impressive.

That Brock was tragically killed in a rallying accident (albeit on tarmac) in Western Australia was the final piece of his life story that nobody had expected, and it brought to an end the life of a true Australian motorsport legend.

Peter Brock will always be remembered as Holden’s own – the man who drove the HDT Toranas and Commodores to multiple Bathurst victories, but his life as a racing driver was much more than that.

He had (and still has) an amazing supporter base, and even those Ford fans who loathed Brock and his string of victories still respected the man. Later in life, his work as an ambassador for the Australian Olympic teams in 2000 and 2004 proved just what an inspirational person he was.

Australian motorsport is much the poorer for Peter Brock’s passing, but David Hassall’s new biography is a brilliant recollection of his life, and is a book that should be on the shelf of every Australian motorsport fan.

Brocky - Peter's Own Story, A Life In Top Gear is available now for $34.95. Order now for Christmas.


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