The brother of Australian motor racing legend Peter Brock has urged the icon’s former partner to stop taking the credit for Peter’s success, following her recent publicity spree to plug the documentary Brock: Over the Top.
Phil Brock, the younger brother of Peter, also had a colourful career in racing, and at one point was sacked from the Holden Dealer Team by the more famous member of the family.
He has watched, mostly from the sidelines, since the death of his racing icon brother as Bev has taken the role as the major spokesperson for his life and achievements, despite the fact that the pair had split more than a year before his death.
Peter and Bev’s 28-year relationship ended in 2005, with Brock engaged to Julie Bamford when he died after crashing in a rally in Perth the following year.
Bev has a central role in the recently released Brock: Over the Top, but Phil says there’s another side to the story that needs to be told.
“She had nothing to do with Peter, they were legally separated, and like most couples when that happens, that’s it, they had nothing to do with each other,” Phil told Wide World of Sports.
“To say things like he’d lost his passion for driving, that he didn’t have the same hand-eye co-ordination, it’s absolute bullshit.
“When Bev comes out with suggestions they were talking regularly in 2006, they weren’t.”
Brock was a superstar of the Australian motorsport scene, winning a record nine Bathurst titles between 1972-1987, earning the nicknames “Peter Perfect” and “King of the Mountain.”
Phil said he saw first-hand that Peter’s ability hadn’t deserted him just a few months before he died.
“I raced against Peter in February of 2006 at Phillip Island, in some old Group C cars,” he said.
“His drive that day, which was only about eight months before he died, it was as good a drive as I’ve seen from him.
“He was running against a Group A Nissan, that was two seconds a lap quicker than him. We spoke before the race and he had this steely resolve that he would catch that Nissan.
“To still have that determination after more than 30 years of driving, it was incredible.”
Phil reflects on those last months of Peter’s life with a different perspective to Bev. He says that the love Peter found with his new partner had given him a new lease on life.
“Happiest I’ve seen him,” Phil said.
“To give you an idea, after that race at Phillip Island in February 2006, I stayed at his place for a few days afterwards, and the lady I was with at the time, I rang her and said ‘I’ve found my brother again.’
“It was the Peter of old, it was fantastic.”
Brock’s sudden death in 2006 resulted in a Supreme Court battle over his estate. And according to Phil, Bev has reaped the benefits since.
“It’s all money driven. She’s lived off Peter since about 1980. Nothing’s changed, apart from those couple of years when they split,” he said.
“The day that he died, she was back in the media.
“It’s like the books she’s written, what’s that about? It’s about profit.”
Phil says the final indignity for Peter was when Bev starting appearing in television ads for Brock’s sponsors.
While he acknowledged Bev’s contribution to Peter’s life over a long period, Phil was disappointed by the way she’s gone about things in more recent years.
“Bev was going to be Mrs Peter Brock come hell or high water, and don’t stand in her way. And I stood in her way. I was talking to my brother, not his woman,” Phil said.
“Why didn’t Peter ever marry Bev? He was going to marry Julie. They were already engaged.
“He’d been through two marriages which didn’t work, which was part of it I think.
“I think Bev was a very handy person to have around. Peter was doing whatever he could to get somewhere in motor racing, had no money, was smart, good looking.
“And there was Bev behind him, to make sure his clothes were there, and he had a house, all that sort of stuff. I think it suited Peter down to the ground early on.”
Phil says Peter relished the more relaxed lifestyle he found with Julie late in his life.
“Julie is a totally different lady. Very quiet, nice, wouldn’t speak ill of anyone. I think Peter was at the stage where I think he was so sick of being told what to do, and organised,” he said.
“He wasn’t living his life, when he was with his fans he was so happy, but his whole life was planned out, which Bev organised.
“She was such a hard, tough woman, one of the reasons I think he was with Julie was there was no battle going on in the background the whole time.”
Phil worked as part of the Holden Dealer Team (HDT), which was run by Peter, in the period from 1980-1983, before Peter sacked him.
“We had a very interesting relationship! It came and went, because we were both very dogmatic in our attitudes,” he said.
“We used to butt heads pretty severely, but he was my idol, particularly as a motor racing driver, but also the way he treated his fans.
“When I initially worked for him, it was the greatest working experience of my life.
“It was a magical time.”
Phil’s departure from HDT came after he crashed a car while driving home from an appearance on the Don Lane show.
An accomplished driver in his own right, Phil had finished third at Bathurst in 1976, and fourth in 1977, both times co-driving with Peter.
“I had a really bad accident, which was my own fault. I was in the film industry as well, which used to piss Peter off. There’d usually be a day every few weeks when I was out doing Homicide, or Neighbours or whatever, and he really hated it,” Phil said.
“But I had to survive too! I did Mad Max, I did all Mel Gibson’s stuff.
“We had a few drinks, because it was the last ever Don Lane show. I proceeded to make a dumb decision and tried to drive home.
“I’d go to work a few times but I couldn’t last the day, I wasn’t flash. Then I got sacked, and I wasn’t real happy about that.
“I thought it was very unfair, we all make mistakes.”