HILARIOUS TALE BEHIND BROCK’S FORD SIERRA SWITCH

Peter Brock made a high-profile switch to race a Ford Sierra in 1989. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

ALAN Gow shared a couple of stories about the late, great Peter Brock when he joined us this week for the V8 Sleuth Podcast powered by Timken.

The British Touring Car Championship chief first crossed paths with the future King of the Mountain at Brock’s bucks party at the Windsor Hotel, back when Gow was working with Peter Janson.

The pair later became friends but didn’t get into business together until Brock’s famous split with Holden in early 1987, Gow offering to help him with the business aspects of the HDT road car operation and the race team.

The rocky period saw Brock race BMW M3s for 1988 before moving to a pair of Ford Sierra RS500s for the start of the 1989 season.

The team eventually built its own Sierra for the major endurance races of 1989, which you can read all about in Cars of the King, the collectors magazine running through the history of every car Peter Brock raced in the Bathurst 500/Bathurst 1000 – currently on sale in the V8 Sleuth Bookshop!

However, with no prior knowledge of the turbo Fords at the start of 1989, Brock’s team shortcut the learning curve by sourcing its Sierras from overseas, lining up appointments with renowned Sierra builders Andy Rouse and Ruedi Eggenberger.

Except Brock only made it to one of those meetings.

Listen to the two parts of the episode in the players below.

“Brock, myself and Mort (team manager Graeme Brown) flew over to Europe,” Gow told the V8 Sleuth Podcast.

“We went to the UK first (and) Brock got on like a house on fire with Andy and, after one day, made the decision that we were going to buy his cars.

“I said, ’Hang on, we haven’t been to Eggenberger’s yet!

“‘No, no, I want to go home and paint my house anyway.’

“So instead of going through the whole process and working out which is the best deal and the best car, he decided he liked Andy, he liked the cars, he was getting on the plane and going back home to paint his house!

“Mort and I are still left there, so we had to get in a Transit van, drive over the Switzerland, meet with Ruedi Eggenberger and go through the whole charade of looking like we were going to buy a couple of cars – to at least get a bit of information about him!”

Gow said it was Brock’s move into the Sierra that “really lit his fire again,” the switch to the turbo Ford – note the #05 Sierra never actually carried a Ford badge! – vaulting him back to the pointy end.

Brock put his Rouse-built Sierra on the front row for the opening round of the Australian Touring Car Championship at Amaroo Park, then snagged pole for the next round at Symmons Plains.

The final round at Oran Park saw Brock claim his first ATCC race win since 1986, and his first since his split with Holden.

Gow talks further about his time as Brock’s team manager through those difficult post-Holden years – and how its much-mocked partnership with Lada saved the team – throughout the wide-ranging chat.

Will Dale began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport for the next six years, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.