Monday, 9 October 2006

The Chaplaincy side to Bathurst.

In a day of great tribulation, amazing intensity, will power and edge of the seat action there was also a reflective and heart breaking side of Bathurst Race-day.

The day started with a moving tribute to Peter Brock. 8 of the 9 Bathurst winning cars (10 actually if you count the 24 hour Bathurst race Brocky won in 2003) ran a lap of honour, driven by Peter’s past co-drivers (including Jim Richards, Larry Perkins, Craig Lowndes and Greg Murphy) and his son and brother. After the lap the cars were parked on the pit straight with the drivers and Brocks family standing by the cars. V8 Chaplain Garry Coleman read a tribute to Brock, which also encouraged us all as Australians to live with an attitude of service to others, something Peter did during his life. Garry then lead a moment of silence in remembrance for great Australian Motorsports Icon and closed in prayer.

I felt a chill as Garry prayed, he asked for comfort for Brocks family, safe and fast racing for the day ahead, protection and diligence for track officials and healing and comfort for the two drivers hurt in the Friday Development V8 race and their family. He asked all of this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ.

I felt the chill as I realised that over a million people had just witnessed a powerful prayer backed with the name of Jesus. There is certainly power in that name, and I felt in awe as I heard it called upon on live TV. Sports chaplains have an impact on the field they work in, but in this case Garry was able to minister and speak to the whole of Australia, a great responsibility.

It set a sombre mood for the following race, and Craig Lowndes himself said that he wasn’t sure if his mind was totally on the race, because of the emotion of paying his respects to his mentor.

Obviously he did alright winning the race.

However that made for very emotional scenes on the winners podium, with Lowndes being presented with the Peter Brock trophy. I don’t think there was a more fitting outcome for its inaugural winner. Lowndes may drive a Ford, but he was the Brock protégée, and some people do remember Brock drove a Ford Sierra for a little while himself.

There was a dampener on the whole day as well when it was announced Mark Porter had passed away from his injuries caused in the Friday accident. Mark was living on the Gold Coast as part of a Qld V8 Supercar team, so I am unsure whether or not Dad and I will now get involved in the counselling that will need to be provided for team members and family.

Also Paul Radisich had a terrible accident and spent the night in hospital with abdominal pains. He to is a Qld based driver so we will need to talk to Garry Coleman and see if any chaplaincy counselling needs to be followed up with that team as well. As well as other V8 teams who had quite large accidents (eg: Steven Johnson from DJR).

At the very least we will meet them at the Indy event in 2 weeks to see how everyone is feeling, so keep them and us in your prayers during this tough period in Australian Motorsport.

P.S – I am a visually challenged person, so I felt an impact by placing some images in this post… The first of Peter Brock's winning XU1 Torana with Craig Lowndes and Bev Brock, next - Lowndes' emotion when winning the Peter Brock Trophy, next - Mark Porter's Holden V8 Supercar, and Mark Porter's profile shot from

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