After years of staying out of the headlines, Peter Brock’s daughter Alexandra can’t stay quiet any longer.
The mum-of-three, now 33, wants to redress the many fallacies in stories and on-air interviews that surfaced around the recent broadcast of the mini-series Brock, which screened 10 years after the motor-racing legend’s tragic death.
The most insulting was the ‘revelation’ from former family friend Julie Bamford that her beloved mum Bev Brock somehow encouraged a sexual relationship between Julie and her dad.
“Mum trusted Julie, they were friends until they were not friends,” reveals Alexandra, who was 23 and had just become a new mum when her dad was killed in a WA race accident.
“She trusted her as a friend with Dad, until she didn’t trust her. As for encouraging a sexual relationship, what a cruel and insulting thing to suggest.”
Alexandra adds that Bev wasn’t controlling of Peter; she took care of all the little things so he had the time to be the person he was, to have the time and energy to serve his fans and maintain his career.
She kept him fed whilst he spent hours signing autographs, she kept lap times at the races, she picked outfits for him as he raced home between functions with no time to spare.
She sewed badges on race suits, designed and sewed uniforms for the promo girls, she organised and cooked and cleaned and raised his kids, maintained the home, helped manage his career and ran the charity foundation, all the while loving and supporting Peter, says Alexandra.
“An amazing and talented woman in her own right gave everything to their life together. She nursed Dad’s parents as they died, they lived on the farm with us.
“She became a Brock because she and Dad decided to be a family but didn’t feel the need to have their life dictated by bits of paper and after several marriages already on the plate they didn’t believe in marriage, which were the very words Dad had said to me several times when I begged them to have a wedding so I could be a flower girl/bridesmaid/attender of a big cool party.”
Despite reports to the contrary, Alexandra also says she wasn’t estranged from Peter after he broke up with Bev, his loving and devoted partner of 28 years.
“Things were tough and I was pretty brutally honest with him which was really unpleasant for him, but we kept in touch, regularly.
“I was even at that Christmas Eve dinner Julie mentioned [in the media] with my brother and my partner; I’m not sure why she doesn’t remember.
“I made sure I kept in touch with Dad because I didn’t want there to be rift. I have some lovely photos from our lunches together with him holding my baby and some stories he told me about working on the car that he eventually died driving. I don’t think estrangement means what Julie thinks it means.”
Peter’s biggest regret
Alexandra adds that Peter confided in her a year before he died that he was sorry for not being a better Dad.
“He truly felt he failed as a father, not just about being there but also about the things he promised,” says Alexandra.
“Whenever we saw him he looked older and more tired than I had ever seen him.
“It was a pretty dramatic time with a hell of a lot of upheaval.”
Alexandra also wants to address the allegations made in the media that Peter was violent in any way around his family.
“Dad was never aggressive or angry around or towards us, not even once,” she says.
“He was kind and gentle and stubborn and a know-it-all, but never violent. I mean he got cross at us when we were being shits, but completely within normal parameters of family life.”
Her brothers James and Robert are disappointed in the TV depiction of the man fans called ‘Peter Perfect’. They both believe it could have been so much better if more people closer to Peter had been given an input.
“He was a complex man with a great many facets; four hours of poorly written script focused mostly on his racing career had no possibility to capture just how in-depth his life really was,” says Robert.
“His family thanks you all for how you choose to remember Peter, and respect the life choices he made, even if you don’t completely understand the why, there was always reason; he never did something without purpose.”
Comfort from family and friends
Alexandra adds that coping with the last 10 years has been incredibly tough for her and her brothers.
On top of the grief, she also suffered post-natal depression, which is still on-going, and anxiety, and then had to watch powerlessly from the wings as her dad’s estate was carved up by Julie Bamford in a will challenge.
“Through it all I’ve found humour and the love of amazing family and friends that have helped us all and also I have been blessed with a mother who has taught me kindness and to face things with integrity,” she says.
“The shit-stirring-stubborn bits of me are all Dad.”