Ge­off Mar­don

Novem­ber 24, 1927 — Au­gust 6, 2015

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News -

Sadly, we have to re­port that for­mer speed­way rider and mo­tor racer, Ge­off Mar­don, has passed away in Christchurch, aged 87. Mar­don, who made his rac­ing de­but at Aranui Speed­way in Christchurch in 1949, fol­lowed Ivan Mauger into the big leagues in the UK, fin­ish­ing in third place at the Speed­way World Fi­nals in 1953.

For mo­tor-rac­ing en­thu­si­asts Ge­off was prob­a­bly best­known for his ex­ploits at the wheel of the fear­some Stan­tonCorvette — in­deed, the last time NZ Clas­sic Car caught up with Ge­off was in 2005, when we fea­tured the Stan­tonCorvette on our cover.

The late Eoin Young told the story: “Mau­rie [Stan­ton] had crashed in Mt Maun­ganui and at Wai­mate he crashed again, hit­ting a power pole and frac­tur­ing a hip and leg, even­tu­ally be­ing ex­tri­cated, soaked in leak­ing fuel. The risk was start­ing to out­weigh the re­wards, and the brothers agreed to of­fer the drive [of the Stan­ton- Corvette] to Ge­off Mar­don, the speed­way rider who had been up with the best on the in­ter­na­tional cin­der scene. Ge­off was in the same frame as Barry Briggs and Ron­nie Moore. He would later marry Ron­nie’s sis­ter, Val.

“It has been said that if Mar­don had con­cen­trated on cham­pi­onship points more than prize money, he would have run Ron­nie close for the two world ti­tles he won. Ge­off’s best fin­ish was third in the 1953 cham­pi­onship. He had raced his own 500cc Staride on New Zealand cir­cuits, and also gained a name for him­self in the RA Van­guard. He was up to third place in the Dunedin street race be­hind Ross Jensen and Bruce Mclaren when a rear wheel came adrift.”

Ge­off joined Eoin, pho­tog­ra­pher Terry Mar­shall and the Stan­ton- Corvette’s cur­rent owner, Rus­sell Greer, at Rua­puna on the oc­ca­sion of our photo shoot. Once again, Eoin took up the story. “Ge­off was out at Rua­puna when Rus­sell Greer brought the quiet track to life that Sun­day morn­ing, and he in­stantly ac­cepted the of­fer of a drive. He was im­me­di­ately back to form, re­mem­ber­ing the days when he raced the big Stan­tonCorvette for real. Ge­off was 78, Greer 59. It re­minded Rus­sell of of­fer­ing Mau­rie a drive at Rua­puna af­ter he had re­stored the car. “He was en­joy­ing it so much that we had to black flag him to get him off the cir­cuit! He thought he had been get­ting clutch slip — but it was ac­tu­ally wheel­spin!”

Mar­don talked about his ma­jor mo­ment at Wai­mate. “We only had three laps of prac­tice, and I was fly­ing on the first lap when I to­tally missed the right-han­der at the end of the pit straight and crashed straight ahead into a shop win­dow. I re­mem­ber that the win­dow was full of Scalex­tric model cars!”

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