When Peter Brock retired from full-time racing in 1997, grown men openly wept. And last Friday, as news began to filter out from Perth that there had been an accident at the Targa West tarmac rally, the rest of Australia joined in.
Unless you have experienced Australian racing, you may struggle to appreciate the unique position that Brock occupied on the motorsport landscape. And you'll probably think I'm exaggerating when I say that in this part of the world, the news of Brock's death last week, at the age of 61, resonated more loudly than that of Ayrton Senna's 12 years ago.
There are a few celebrities in Australia who could be universally identified merely by their surname, but Brock was surely the only one who could be identified by a number: 05, the competition number that he ran on almost every car he drove from the mid-1970s up to the Daytona Coupe in which he perished.