Friday, September 08, 2006

Vale Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter, vale Peter Brock

The week started off with the news that Steve Irwin, the Crikey crocodile hunter was killed by the toxin of a sting ray, and it has ended with the news that one of Australia's most popular racing car drivers, Peter Brock was killed in a car accident.

I am not a fan of Steve Irwin. However, I do admire the way that he had a love for animals and especially the way that he loved his family. Steve was unfairly criticized by the PC crowd when he was filmed taking his son Bob into the enclosure that held the crocodiles at his zoo, for the baby was never in danger. Steve was never afraid of these deadly animals, and he wanted his children to be brought up with the same lack of fear and love for all animals. He was not afraid to swim amongs the animals of the deep, knowing that some of them could be quite deadly. He knew the dangers that the barb of the sting ray posed, and it did not deter him from swimming amongst them. We do not know why the sting ray attacked because this animal only attacks if it fears that it is being attacked. Steve had no chance because the barb went through his heart. Steve Irwin is dead at the age of 44. His legacy is one that is overwhelming in terms of putting people in touch with the wild, and being infected by his brand of enthusiasm. His enthusiasm brought tourists to Australia.

I grew up with Peter Brock the racing car driver. At least, he was at the beginning of his motor car racing when I was a teenager. His first marriage was a short lived disaster. I can remember that Peter Brock married Michelle Downes, a former Miss Victoria. The short marriage was very stormy and best forgotten. Peter is remembered on the race track as Peter Perfect, and it was a name that he did not like. Peter Brock was passionate about road safety, and his racing car had the number 05 which served as a reminder of the .05 campaign against drink driving. He encouraged the Australian athletes in Athens, and had a passion for wanting to help the less fortunate.

Who would think that Peter Perfect, the man who was so passionate about motor safety would be killed druing a car rally when the car he was driving went out of control on a tight bend and hit a tree. That spot had already claimed 8 lives. Brockie's seat belt and helmet could not save his life. He died at the scene of the accident.

I loved to watch Brockie driving in the Bathurst car races. This is pretty weird for someone who does not follow motor sports. This was a man who had a passion for his chosen sport and his passion showed in such a way that he had a lot of fans who loved to see him win that race. He retired with 9 Bathurst wins under his belt, and he was a true champion driver.

Australia has lost two good and prominent men, and it is a sad end to the week.

May both be in God's arms, and may their families be consoled.

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