A major chapter of Australian motorsport and wartime history has come to an end, with the death of the grandfather of motorsport ‘Down Under’, Australia’s first Formula 1 driver Tony Gaze. He was 93 years old.
Gaze was honoured for both his services to motorsport and a decorated career as a World War II fighter pilot. He joined the Royal Air Force shortly after his twentieth birthday and over the course of several tours during the Second World War, he became the only Australian to earn the Distinguished Flying Cross in three separate occasions.
After returning to Australia in the post-War era, Gaze turned to his second love of motorsport, initially earning success in a 1936 Alta before he headed back to the UK to try his hand.
He became Australia’s first Grand Prix driver with four appearances during the 1952 World Championship season in a HWM-Alta.
He later turned his attention to sports cars as both a driver and in management, founding Australia’s first overseas racing team called ‘The Kangaroo Stable’, which included a certain Jack Brabham in its line-up.
To say Gaze was a pioneering figure in Australian motorsport would be a great understatement. He never forgot his roots Down Under, and his efforts to bring European-style circuit racing to the colonies has undoubtedly contributed to the international attention that we now enjoy today.
One very interesting fact about Gaze is that he helped establish the Goodwood circuit in 1948 after suggesting it as a suitable venue to replace the Brooklands circuit – today the venue is one of the UK’s premier motorsport destinations, staging the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival events each year.
In 2006, Gaze was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia – one of the country’s highest national honours – for his services to motorsport.
The RichardsF1.com team extends its sympathies to the Gaze family and friends.
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