Mauger im­pact: ‘No one dom­i­nated the world like Ivan’

The Southland Times - - SPORT - MAT KERMEEN

Iconic New Zealand rider Ivan Mauger is be­ing re­mem­bered as a megas­tar of the speed­way world.

Mauger, who was born in Christchurch in 1939, passed away in Aus­tralia yes­ter­day morn­ing aged 78. He had suf­fered from a form of de­men­tia and Alzheimers for sev­eral years.

Mauger won six world ti­tles (1968,1969,1970,1972,1977 and 1979). Such was his dom­i­nance, he was third in 1967, and run­ner-up in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

Speed­way New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive John McCal­lum said Mauger’s death was a mas­sive loss for the sport.

‘‘He was a megas­tar. No one dom­i­nated the world like Ivan did.

‘‘In foot­balling terms, he was the Pele of speed­way,’’ McCal­lum said.

Mauger is sur­vived by his wife Raye and their three Kym, Deb­bie and Julie.

He also won three world long track cham­pi­onships (1971, 1972 and 1976) in a ca­reer that made him a Kiwi sport­ing hero. chil­dren,

‘‘He was big­ger than just a speed­way rider. Not to many peo­ple made the im­pact on the global stage that Ivan did,’’ McCal­lum said.

Mauger headed to Eng­land at a young age where speed­way was huge com­pared to the much smaller and less pro­fes­sional scene in New Zealand.

‘‘He was 17 and mar­ried to my mum, Raye, who was 16,’’ his daugh­ter Julie told Fair­fax Aus­tralian last year.

‘‘They were lit­er­ally two teenagers who got on a boat go­ing to the other side of the world with some­one’s name writ­ten on a piece of pa­per. My mum and dad’s story is a love story.

‘‘She stood by him all this time. Dad wasn’t money driven, he was driven by win­ning. Mum loved the whole thing,’’ she said.

Mauger spent many years com­pet­ing in Eng­land where he was ar­guably more well known than he was in New Zealand be­cause the sport was so pop­u­lar there.

He fol­lowed in the tyre tracks of fel­low Cantabri­ans Barry Briggs and Ron­nie Moore who also headed to the United King­don.

He raced for a host of Bri­tish teams in­clud­ing the Wim­ble­don Dons, the Hull Vik­ings and the New­cas­tle Di­a­monds, with whom he won his first world cham­pi­onship in 1968.

He raced in 26 coun­tries, win­ning more than 1000 events.

Mauger, who spent his re­tire­ment years in Queens­land, was se­lected to carry the Olympic torch at the Syd­ney Games in 2000.

He of­fi­cially re­tired from rac­ing in 1985 but went on to be­come a world-class pro­moter of speed­way events around the world.

Mauger last raced in Ade­laide in 1986. He was twice Aus­tralasian cham­pion, in 1997 and 1981, and a four-time cham­pion in New Zealand.

Mauger was voted Hal­berg New Zealand Sports­man of the Year in 1977 and 1979, mak­ing him the only mo­tor­cy­cle sports­man to re­ceive that award.

He was in­ducted into the Mo­tor­cy­cling New Zealand Hall Of Fame where he sits along­side the likes of Burt Munro and Ron­nie Moore.

The Christchurch kid with a dream to make it big in speed­way, went on to re­ceive an OBE and MBE.

Mauger was voted Mil­len­nium Man of Speed­way.

STUFF

Kiwi speed­way cham­pi­ons Ivan Mauger and Ron­nie Moore at the 1970 Bri­tish cham­pi­onship.

STUFF

Ivan Mauger’s pas­sion for speed­way never sub­sided.

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