Brocktober at Bathurst
there’s a better name for an annual national gathering than ‘Brocktober’, we’re yet to hear it.
The Brock Commodore Owners Association of Australia assembled its biggest-ever line up of HDT Special Vehicles-built machines for Brocktober 2017, held a week after the 1000km event that made their main man famous.
No fewer than 78 HDT/Brock built cars and 140 people made the pilgrimage to Bathurst, with BCOAA members travelling from Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland and the length and breadth of NSW.
The weekend commemorated the 30th anniversary of Peter Brock, David Parsons and Peter McLeod’s 1987 Bathurst victory, with McLeod the guest of honour.
The tale of the 1987 James Hardie 1000 is the stuff of legends, with Brock, without Holden support, racing the seemingly outclassed VL Group A Commodore up against the best from Europe in the only World Touring Car Championship round held at Mount Panorama. History shows that this most unlikely victory was to be his final Bathurst 1000 win.
McLeod shared his recollections of that race at the gala dinner held in the trackside Rydges function room, explaining how his drive came about. His stories had attendees enthralled.
“Brock had Neil Crompton co-drive the second car at Sandown so he got extra TV exposure through Channel 7. When it came to Bathurst, which was an international event, Crompton didn’t have an international licence,” McLeod, 69, recalled, explaining that the team needed to secure the services of a suitably qualified driver. With McLeod’s own entry on the reserves list, “Bev Brock rang to ask if I was interested in driving for them.”
Sure enough, having done the deal to drive car #10 for Brock, McLeod’s own Commodore entry was accepted for the race and he organised for others to drive the car, while retaining his seat in the HDT car.
“We started from position 21 and I pitted to hand the car over on lap 61. We were up to fifth position and I thought I was handing over to Jon Crooke. I started to tell him to be careful because we were going pretty well, then I realised it was Brocky hopping into the car. He got it up to third, which of course became the win many months later when the two cars ahead were disqualified.”
The evening also saw the presentations of awards. The coveted Perpetual Trophy for overall winner went to Neil and Margz Peck’s Magnum, while the Peter McLeod’s Choice trophy appropriately went to Gary Bundy’s VL Group A.
Bundy’s car was among a ‘Kodak moment’ of VL Group As in Bathurst’s historic King’s Parade on the Saturday, off the back of a larger display of 70-plus cars in Russell Street, which was the club’s main public event. The display featured 71 Brock Commodores, four Magnums plus the