The first Australian to contest a World Championship Grand Prix – Tony Gaze – died at his home in Victoria on Monday.
A squadron leader in the Royal Air Force during WW2, Gaze’s relationship with motor sport began in 1946 when he persuaded the Earl of March to turn the perimeter road of RAF Westhampnett into a circuit now, of course, known as Goodwood.
Returning to post-war Australia, Gaze began tackling hillclimbs and quickly achieved success in his 1930s Alta.
He would come back to Britain in 1951, competing across Europe in a Formula 2 Alta, which was soon swapped for a HWM-Alta – the car he would use to challenge for the World Championship the following season.
A host of non-championship events would follow before Gaze took part in the Belgian GP, where he finished 15th – the only race he would complete in his short GP career.
The following year Gaze would enter a Holden FX in the Monte-Carlo Rally, with Lex Davison and Stan Jones, and raced an Aston Martin in sports-car events.
He – and his Kangaroo Stable equipe – would also be credited with bringing Jack Brabham to the attention of European race teams.
Gaze’s interest in motor sport would soon become secondary to his love of gliding and the former ace would represent Australia in the sport’s 1960 World Championships in Germany, before being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006.