DRIVERS: TONY GAZE
Name: Tony Gaze
Date of birth: March 3, 1920 - Melbourne, Australia
A Spitfire pilot in Britain from the age of 21, Gaze flew as Douglas Bader's wingman from March 1941. One of Tangmere's satellite aerodromes was called Westhampnett and when not flying Gaze and others raced around the circuit's perimeter roads in MGs. He was shot down over Le Treport in 1943 but escaped back to England and in June 1944 became the first Allied airman to land back on European soil. He later switched to Meteor jets and ended the war as a Squadron Leader with two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross and "ace" status having been credited with 12.5 "kills" in aerial combat.
In 1946 Gaze suggested the Duke of Richmond and Gordon - better known in the motor racing world as Freddy March - that the perimeter roads of the Westhampnett aerodrome - which had been built on land belonging to the Duke - would make a very fine racing circuit. March tried a few laps and agreed and Westhampnett became the Goodwood racing circuit.
Gaze raced in Australia in the immediate postwar period in a prewar Alta and then returned to Britain to race one of Geoffrey Taylor's Alta F2 cars in 1951, although without any success.
In 1952 he began the year with the same car but then bought a new HWM-Alta and competed in the Belgian, British and German Grands Prix. He failed to qualify at Monza. He later switched to sportscar racing in which he enjoyed more success both in Europe and Australia. He later retired and took up farming and eventually married Di Davison, the widow of Australia's famous racer Lex Davidson and an accomplished racing driver in her own right.