In 1997 there was a spate of high profile deaths in a cluster, Princess Diana and Michael Hutchence being the 2 major players with a second tier of half a dozen or so, tightly packed into about an eight week period at roughly this time of year.
It looks like 2006 is the next lap around the block. Steve Irwin died on Monday this week. And yesterday afternoon as I was driving to work the radio blurted out another shocking loss. Peter Brock, dead at 61. He won the toughest motor race in Australia a total of 9 times in the premier race division as well as several times in equally competitive support classes.
He’s been the face of Australian motor sport for close to 40 years. Endorsing everything from Volvos to Holdens to donuts™. Even at the age of 61 he has no natural rival on or off the race track. And just as Steve Irwin was a wildlife warrior killed by a piece of wildlife, Peter Brock was a motor racing legend killed in a racing mishap.
Peter Brock was commonly referred to as the King of the Mountain or Peter Perfect. Both names came from his incredible ability to steer a vehicle in a sublime manner under inhuman conditions. To be acknowledged as the King of the Mountain when “the mountain” is an annual endurance race run over 500 miles until 1972, then 1000 kilometres (621mi).
So twice in 5 days I am faced with the loss of a legend. And with all the rumour and innuendo that bad things come in 3’s, I’m wrapping myself in cottonwool until I’ve read of the demise of someone else.