The helmet of Australian race car driver Peter Brock rests on a stand during his State funeral at St Paul?s Cathedral in Melbou
The helmet of Australian race car driver Peter Brock rests on a stand during his State funeral at St Paul?s Cathedral in Melbou

Mourners dressed in red and black



MELBOURNE: (AAP) There was as much Holden red as funeral black on show as Peter Brock was laid to rest in Melbourne yesterday.

Hundreds of diehard fans ? many of whom became friends over his 35-year motor racing career ? were among the invited mourners at St Paul's Cathedral.

Most chose to wear Holden or Team Brock shirts as their mark of respect.

Thousands more waited outside the cathedral and packed Federation Square across the street to catch a glimpse of Brock's casket, draped in an Australian flag, placed into a Holden Caprice hearse bearing the number plate BROCKY.

Brock's rare ability to project his popularity beyond motor sport and become a household name was illustrated by those who turned up to pay tribute.

Motor racing stars Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife, Larry Perkins and Brad Jones were joined by Olympians Andrew Gaze and Brooke Hanson, Collingwood football club president and Nine Network supremo Eddie McGuire, as well as politicians of all colours.

Lowndes said that Brock's rare ability to make anyone feel important when he spent time with them was the essence of what made him special.

"Everyone had their own story about Peter. It wasn't just about motor racing ? he touched so many people," he said.

"It's just amazing to see how many people have turned up to say goodbye.

"He'll be a long time remem- bered, that's for sure."

In a rarity in professional sport, Brock was also respected and revered by his rivals, with Ford drivers Allan Moffat and Dick Johnson paying tribute today.

"We never had a cross word, never swapped paint, despite years of intense rivalry," Johnson said.

Killed competing in the sport he loved, Brock was remembered today as a man who inspired youngsters to live their dreams without fear.

Current V8 stars Greg Murphy and Lowndes and ex-driver Neil Crompton all attribute their entry into the sport in large part to teenage meetings with their boyhood idol Brock.

In his eulogy, Crompton told of meeting Brock in the early 1970s as an 11-year-old at a rallycross event, asking him for a photograph.

"Not only did be oblige, he willingly engaged ? so much so I also asked him to write a column for my primary school magazine and promptly produced a piece of paper and a pencil," said Crompton, now a motorsports commentator.

"He passionately told his story and made me feel 10 feet tall.

"And at that very second my fate was sealed ? I had to become a race car driver."

Brock was remembered yesterday for his incomparable nine Bathurst victories, as the poster boy for Holden, as a man passionate about the environment and as one who helped disadvantaged children through the Peter Brock Foundation.



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