The 1960's - Part Five
 
Ivan Mauger
 
 
The Mauger Family Statement 2015
 

The Mauger family say: This is a statement we released to the press today (March 2015) regarding Ivan.  Former world speedway and long track champion Ivan Mauger  OBE

MBE is being treated for cognitive aphasia, a communication disorder.

 

The Mauger family are issuing this statement detailing the situation and will be making no further comment.  Ivan, who won six speedway titles between 1968 and 1979, and long track crowns in 1971, 1972 and 1976, announced his retirement from public life two years ago.  He is receiving daily treatment at a Gold Coast (Australia) nursing home, but still manages to enjoy time with wife Raye, their three children, Julie, Kym and Debbie, and longstanding friends and associates from within motorcycling and the wider community.

 

The Mauger family are issuing this statement detailing the situation and will be making no further comment.   Ivan, who won six speedway world titles between 1968 - 1979 and Long Track crowns in 1971, 1972 & 1976 announced his retirement from public life two years ago.  He is receiving daily treatment at a Gold Coast (Australia) nursing home but still manages to enjoy time with wife Raye, their 3 children: Julie, Kym & Debbie and longstanding friends and associates from within motorcycling and the wider community.

 

Meanwhile, collectors are warned to be wary of items of Ivan's equipment and memorabilia being offered for sale.  “It has come to our notice that some unauthorised and unscrupulous people have been making false representations so please take every care to ensure any such offers are genuine and being made by authentic sellers,” said Raye.

 

 
 
The "Rough Diamond"  Ivan's Own Photo Collection  Ivan In NZ In 1956  More Of Ivan In The 1950s  Ivan & Raye Celebrate The First World Title In 1968  Ivan Helps Me With The Website!  The Famous Gold Bike  Ivan's Title Winning Machines  Ivan On A Two-Stroke Greaves  1963 The Maugers Arrive In Newcastle  Mid 1960s at Newcastle
1965 My Leg In Plaster  Ivan Mauger's Newcastle Stats 
 
John says: Ivan told me he was very happy to help me with the website.  We exchanged numerous emails.  He sent me lots of his personal photos which I have added to this website and my Defunct Speedway Website  Ivan and I continued to correspond until it became too difficult for him due to his illness.  I am honored that my boyhood hero chose to help me with my websites and I sincerely hope he responds to treatment and is able to enjoy his time with his family despite the illness.
 
John says:  After collecting many photos and stories shown on this webpage, about Ivan's time with Newcastle.  Ivan himself has been in touch many times now. He has sent me loads of his private photos etc and has agreed that I can show the entire Newcastle chapter from his Autobiography "The Will To Win".  The book is great and you should buy it.  I am delighted to reproduce the chapter from his book under the heading "Rough Diamond". The book extract is copyrighted and belongs to Ivan and should not be reproduced elsewhere for financial gain:-
 

 
 

Ivan Mauger
The "Rough Diamond"

 
 

After Wimbledon and its plush stadium, such an eye-opener for a teenaged arrival in 1957, Newcastle was something of a culture shock for a new signing in 1963. The London we first encountered was still recovering from the damage caused by the war years but in our view it was the most exciting, vibrant city in the world.  Newcastle upon Tyne, my new speedway base and Manchester, where we set up home, were traditionally industrial northern cities- only a couple of hundred miles or so from London but they may has well have been light years removed.

Brough Park had history.  It was one of the first tracks to operate and the incomparable Johnnie Hoskins ran the place before and after the war.  However, it has always been basic rather than beautiful, a bit like the city itself which for years had a reputation as being hard edged and predominantly working class.  At first sight it seemed a grey, unforgiving sort of place and bear in mind during 1957 and 1958 I rarely travelled further north than Coventry! The north east people though, are the salt of the earth and once they have accepted you- and you have managed to understand the distinctive dialect of the region-the Geordies are great.  We have fond memories of a six season association with the Diamonds which, after a few early irritations had been ironed out, began so promisingly, and produced some great occasions for the team and for me as an individual.  It is a pity it ended acrimoniously, thanks to a falling-out with the man who got me there in the first place. 

The fact I left Newcastle in 1968 as a world champion, in my opinion, was as much in spite of Mike Parker as it was because of him.  In the end the place was not big enough for both of us, although from the distance of time it is easy to think I possibly was a part of the problem as he was.  Raye and I will always be grateful to him for bringing us and our family to England and Newcastle.  When we were last in the UK in 1958 nobody in speedway had heard of him, but in the years we were away he had made a big impact.  Originally a midget car driver, Mike opened several tracks in 1959 to run composite speedway and car meetings, and was a leading light in the foundations of the Provincial League the following year.  The man helped change the landscape of British speedway, and as such was one of the architects of a revival which could not have been better timed from my point of view. Very much due to his powerful influence and that of a few others- Trevor Redmond and Reg Fearman among them-the number of British tracks doubled virtually overnight, and signalled the start of speedways long journey back into the sunshine.

Parker was the new leagues chairman and operated at Liverpool, Stoke, Middlesbrough and Bradford in 1960.  His interests continued to expand, among them Wolverhampton and Newcastle, whose 1962 team included Gil Goldfinch one of my former Plough Lane colleagues, and Ivan Crozier an old friend from Christchurch with whom I had ridden in Adelaide.  It was Ivan (Crozier) who encouraged me to contact Mike Parker and at the same time Ivan encourage Mike to give me a go.

 

New tracks meant fresh opportunities and a whole new blast of enthusiasm was running through the sport, especially at this level.  All was not so good with the National League, with the traditional big track promoters doggedly clinging to past glories but seemingly challenged when it came to finding a new formula to invigorate a competition which by 1963 was down from the 10 teams of 1958 to just 7.  The league was still being dominated by most of the big stars who were around 5 years earlier.  By contrast the Provincial League contained plenty of names I remembered and recognised, although a few of them I thought would have improved to such an extent that I couldn’t live with them. 

The Provincial League had 13 tracks.  The Diamonds, after finishing bottom in their comeback year 1961, had climbed to ninth in 1962 and the locals were hanging out for further improvement.  It was against this background that our family unit, now five strong, undertook the boat trip via the Italian ship Castle Felice to Southampton.  We took the overnight sleeper train from Adelaide to Melbourne to board the ship.  With three active youngsters in tow barely old enough to understand what was happening but inevitably caught up in the excitement of it all, we were reading for a new beginning.

Before getting to meet Mike Parker in person, we were met off the boat in Southampton by Eddie Glennon (Eddie died in a car accident in July1968, returning north after a meeting at Newport where he held the promoting reins on behalf of the Mike Parker organisation.)  Eddie was Mike’s right hand man.  He managed various Mike Parker teams and was a very popular and generous personality.  Eddies first connection with Mike Parker was as secretary of the Manchester Midget car club.  Over time we were to discover that Eddie was a great foil for Parker, who was widely regarded as a tough operator and often gruff with it. 

The Parker base was in Manchester, he owned a lot of property in Whalley Range, and had accommodation for us to rent.  Even though it was so far north of London and the people and places with whom we had become familiar on our first visit, and was about a three and a half hour drive to Newcastle, the distance was not something we considered a drama.  But when we finally arrived at 101 Upper Chorlton Road, most of the arrangements he had laid on were less than ideal.  The flat turned out to be a tip, an ex-GPO van provided in the deal obviously had seen better days and a promised bike wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.  Still the big one was that Mike Parker had offered a team place and coughed up all the expenses for Raye and I and the three kids to get to England.  For that I agreed to ride for him for a minimum of two seasons on whatever the normal start and points money was in Provincial League. 

Because I had signed a contract with Wimbledon for both 1957 and 1958 I was officially on their retained list.  When I started to win quite a few championships in Australia and there was occasional publicity in the speedway magazines that I wanted to go back to England, that probably was the only reason Ronnie Greene kept me on the Wimbledon retained list.  Mike Parker had quite a battle with the Speedway Control Board over who owned my contract.  But he had a much stronger personality and level of determination than any of those guys at Belgrave Square.  They were no match for his powers of persuasion so he got me released without any problem.   

We were on a high, just getting a chance to come back.  The accommodation was something which could be fixed up.  Being located in Manchester was fine as there was reasonable access to all of the tracks.  And while the bike he provided was extremely second-hand – Bill Andrew had used it the previous year – I was so grateful he brought us to England, that situation didn’t bother me too much.  We didn’t really have too many bad words over the car and bike except to tell him that if he wanted me to actually arrive at the track and start scoring maximums I couldn’t do either using the bike or the car he provided, so I soon gave them back to him.

My first appearance for Newcastle was at Middlesbrough on Thursday, April 11, and the Bears were all over us, winning 51-26 with Eric Boothroyd scoring a maximum and Johnny Fitzpatrick, another rider I remembered from Wimbledon second halves, 10.  After three scoreless rides, my first points came in Heat 11 when I ran a second to the 18-year-old Eric Boocock, with Ivan Crozier third.

 
 

My home debut was four days later, against Wolverhampton.  It was my first sight of the 361-yard Brough Park circuit and at a quick glance it resembled the shape of Wembley, my recurring theatre of dreams.  No dream started here though, as the bike packed up in my first ride and next time out I trailed in behind Tommy Sweetman, another one-time Wimbledon second half opponent.  Then things got better and two heat wins later I was starting to feel more confident.  Newcastle picked up their first victory of the season and it was clear to me that on proper equipment the way forward was going to be better still.  Long-term, the biggest plus on that initial home meeting was within the first half-hour when I met Gordon Stobbs, who was a track raker.  He and his wife Margaret started going to away meetings on their 500 BSA and Gordon later became my full-time mechanic – he was with me until I retired at the end of 1985.  They became great friends of all our family and have visited us on the Gold Coast in Australia.  Raye and I stay with them when we are on our UK northern trips and even in recent times Gordon has come to help out at some of my training academies.  Over many years Gordon was absolutely the most loyal mechanic in speedway.  He knew my moods, likes and dislikes and he got to know if I was going to win a meeting or just do some experimenting for future meetings.   

We could go to a track in Europe for the first time and he would attend to the gear ratio, the wheel base, ignition settings and other details which were accurate 9 times out of 10.  Gordon usually got to those cities several hours before me and one of his jobs was to make sure we got rooms on the quiet side of the hotels.  All of this was way in the future though, and at this early stage I needed a good machine before I needed a good mechanic.  I asked a few people including Ted Brine at Wimbledon if they knew where there were any good bikes for sale. Ted said his brother Cyril had retired and he was selling his bike.

That was enough for me.  With Rolf Von Dor Borch I jumped into my newly purchased £100.00 Bedford Dormobile- It had 3 rows of seats and space behind for a couple of bikes, tool boxes and all the other gear- and went down to Wimbledon to buy the bike for £125.00.  The payback was immediate.  Next Monday I got a maximum,  Newcastle disposed of Edinburgh in the Northern Trophy and my heat 5 win over Wayne Briggs was in a new track record time.  A decent machine meant I could start doing the business on track, and there was another boost for the family (especially Raye) when we moved next door to 103 Upper Chorlton Road, where the accommodation was bigger and better.  We stayed there until we went to New Zealand at the end of the 1968 season.

 

When the league matches started, my form just kept on improving, and for most of the next few months I was around the top of the averages.  At Brough Park in particular  I had the measure of most riders and no less pleasing was finding the ability to go to away tracks and win races on a regular basis.  In 24 league meetings there were 13 maximums and an average of 10.80.  This was enough for me to be top of the Provincial League averages in my first season.  I held the Silver Sash match race title for a couple of months.  The team improved steadily too.  In the end 6th place was the best we could do, although just one more win and we would have finished in second spot behind champions Wolverhampton. 

Given the lack of interest from National League promoters when I made it know that I wanted to come back to England, It was quite funny to have several of the scrambling to use me as a fill in rider- Oxford, 4 times, Southampton twice and even Wimbledon on a couple of occasions- and then fielding suggestions they would like to take me on board the following year.  I took great delight in telling them all to get stuffed.  In those 8 National League and KO Cup appearances I scored 59 points at an average of 7.37 including 11 for Wimbledon at Swindon where Peter Moore beat me in my last race to spoil my chance of a maximum. 

Every man and his dog it seemed wanted to have a say about whether I should be allowed to ride.   It was the same sort of argument and debate repeated years later when riders like John Louis, and most recently young Australian prospect Darcy Ward, were top of the pile in the lower division and scoring big points as a rent-a-guest for a succession of teams in the top flight.  Several additional opportunities came my way in Provincial League select teams booked to ride on National League tracks.  I even beat Peter Craven in my first race at Hyde Road.  The Belle Vue riders were handicapped and started 10 yards back but that could be an advantage as it carried more momentum at the first corner.  Peter was beside me at the first turn but I found better grip on the exit and rode away from him to win a fraction of a second outside his track record.  A few weeks later I scored paid 7 from 4 rides to help Oxford beat the Aces, a result that threatened to spoil their charge for championship honours.

In another source of controversy, not that any of us took that much notice of it at the time, Mike Parker was starting to flex his muscles in what would prove a long running battle with officialdom.  He was warring with his fellow Provincial League promoters over his signing for Wolverhampton of Rick France from Coventry.

There was increasing talk of operating outside the jurisdiction of the Speedway Control Board, threats of a breakaway.  Most riders were aware of some of it, but few had any idea how the relationship between promoters and the governing body was about to fracture so dramatically.   Of course I kept an eye on what was happening in the National League, and was sad when Ronnie Moore broke his leg in a crash at Plough Lane.  Ronnie was one of the “big five” – Briggo, Peter Craven, Bjorn Knutsson and Ove Fundin – were the others who were doing it the hard way starting every race of a handicap at that stage.  Ronnie’s accident occurred in a last heat decider in May when Bob Andrews and Swindon’s Martin Ashby came off in front of him as he was trying to make his way through the traffic.  Before the season was over Ronnie had announced his retirement, for the second but not the final time.

 

The worst accident of the year (1963) though, was a fatal one – Peter Craven, riding for Belle Vue at Edinburgh in a challenge match in September, collided with the safety fence trying to avoid the fallen George Hunter.  He never regained consciousness and died four days later in hospital.  It rammed home the dangers riders face every time they get on a bike.  Everybody accepts speedway is dangerous and there is always the potential to get hurt.  But little Pete against whom I had raced in Adelaide only a few months before, in an inter-league event at Hyde Road in April and at Middlesbrough later in that season, was such a huge star, and yet such a good bloke, it was shocking to think he had gone. 

The Provincial League Riders Final at Belle Vue on September 28th started with a 2 minute silence for Peter who had died 4 days earlier.  It was a sombre way to go into one of the biggest meetings of the year.  For weeks I had been building myself up to prove I could do the business in the league’s showpiece occasion.  Normally I was as healthy as any young bloke, and fitter than most because I took physical training and conditioning pretty seriously.  But in the days leading up to the PLRC I was feeling very ordinary, suffering bad headaches for the first time in my life.  I put that down to some kind of tension going into the big meeting.  The last thing I needed on the night was a mini-riot, stirred up by riders who took exception to the 24 heat formula.  The traditional 16 rider, 20 heat world championship format was ditched and instead 2 dozen riders contested the meeting taking 4 rides a piece, with the top 4 scorers qualifying for a grand final.

 
 

Nothing revolutionary about the format in more recent times, but it was an innovation which did not please the purists and threatened to go pear-shaped when 5 riders tied on 9 points.  Jack Kitchen of Sheffield and I were safely through to the decider with 11 points each from our 4 rides.  George Hunter, Ross Gilbertson, Ray Cresp, Clive Featherby and Maury Mattingley were locked together.  After a lengthy delay it was decided to put all 5 into a run-off – At least Hyde Road was big enough and plenty wide enough for an extra rider at the starting gate.  Gilbertson and Hunter duly joined us in the final, and my chances looked shot when I drew the worst gate.  However, it was Hunter who turned out to be the unlucky one.  He made the start but packed-up at the beginning of the second lap, allowing me to take the lead which I held to the chequered flag.  Many people in the full stadium gave me the reception that often goes the way of a fortunate winner, but the massed ranks of Newcastle fans didn’t care and nor did I.  It was in all respects a champion feeling. 

A couple of hours later I was much the worse for wear, and not because of any celebration.  After the meeting a group of us went back to a pub in Bolton where the owner was a friend of Newcastle rider Jack Winstanley.  Mike Parker, Eddie Glennon and most of my Diamonds team mates along with our wives.  I had an extra strong headache by the time Raye and I arrived and the owners took us through into their lounge where I lay on a couch and was not involved in any of the celebrations out in the bar.  The owner called a doctor but before he bothered to come out to see me he’d had a few beers in the bar so obviously he didn’t think there was anyone seriously wrong.  Raye was sitting in a chair next to the couch and he looked at her and asked “does he take any drugs”.  Raye said “The only thing he takes is Glucose in the orange juice I mix up for him at the tracks and then he takes vitamin tablets that you buy from the chemist”.  Anyway the doc was convinced I was on some kind of drugs and he left us and went out to the bar and started drinking a few more beers.

When we got home I was in a bad way.  Raye has always had medical books and when she looked up my symptoms she decided I had meningitis.  First thing in the morning she walked down to Dr Friedlander, our family doctor who was a couple of blocks away.  Fortunately he came to see me immediately and called for an ambulance to take me to the Monsall Hospital in the middle of Manchester.  They promptly put me in an isolation ward and I was there for over a month, missing all of the remaining meetings of the 1963 season.  It cost me a lot of money, a KO cup final appearance against Cradley Heath and more besides.  For several weeks I was so far out of things it was not until later that the full impact of it all hit home.

Dr Friedlander and the doctors at the hospital told Raye it would take up to a year to get rid of the symptoms and that she should never let me get tired.  By this time it was mid November and Raye made me go to bed about 9pm every night.  It was winter anyway and it was not until well into the New Year (1964) I was able to go into the workshop and tinker around with my bikes for a few hours at a time.  Fortunately Guy Allot, who had been forced to retire after suffering serious injuries when he fell off the tractor/grader during a victory parade at Sheffield, was getting into engine preparation and tuning.  It was reassuring to know he was working hard to get my motors prepared for season ’64.

I started on my recovery, training and running at the Manchester YMCA where the facilities included and indoor track.  It took a long time before my health was anywhere close to what it had been, and a night in the pub with Rolf did not speed my rehabilitation.  He thought he was doing the right thing by getting me out of the house to unwind, but a couple of beers knocked me flat again.  Raye was not at all amused.  With the season a few weeks away, there was another huge cloud on the horizon.  The Speedway Control Board (SCB) tried to coerce Mike Parker into moving Wolverhampton into the National League, accelerating a long-running dispute into open war.  There was talk of strike action, the Provincial League promoters voted to operate outside the official channels, and the SCB warned riders they would be suspended if they rode on unlicensed tracks

Most of the Provincial tracks were attracting excellent crowds and there was great racing because most of the boys had a lot of ambitions, whereas the National League numbers had been on the slippery slope for several years.  West Ham moved up to the NL, replacing Southampton, but in spite of the quality in the top division the quantity still wasn’t there.  They simply did not have enough tracks or offer sufficient meetings to appeal to a lot of riders.  The bottom line is that Mike and the other PL promoters had a meeting with the leagues top guys at Cradley Heath a couple of weeks before the start of the 1964 season to tell us they were going to run “black” and without being licensed by the SCB.  That meant we would not have licenses.  But, they assured us that it would all blow over before that season’s world championship qualifying rounds.  I wanted to believe what we were being told. I told Mike that I owed my loyalty to him because he had brought me over while there had been no contact or response from the NL promoters such as Ronnie Greene at Wimbledon and Charles Ochiltree at Coventry, who had never even answered my letters.  To shore up the arrangement Mike voluntarily offered what was at that time quite a good guaranteed prize money arrangement for each meeting which I accepted and gave him my word for two seasons.  Later we realised there was very little intention of linking up with the SCB.  The PL promoters were doing well financially without paying license or permit fees and did not have anyone outside their group telling them what they could or could not do.

The first year Mike would often drop in to see me.  He rented the upper floor at 81 Upper Chorlton Road, he (and Eddie Glennon) had offices on the ground floor and my workshop was out the back.  He knew I had tea on most of the day.  But from about May 1964 he rarely looked in – The promised truce had not materialised and he knew I was angry after being misled.  Nevertheless I had a great time in 1964 starting with 10 maximums in 11 Northern League matches; only a fall at Glasgow cost me a perfect record.  I was top of the PL averages, defended the Silver Sash against all comers from May to September and again won the PLRC at Belle Vue at the end of the season.

 

What very few people knew was quite often I had to have a sleep in the afternoon.  I left home a couple of hours early to go to Newcastle each Monday and had an hour or so flat out on the couch in the speedway office before just about every home meeting.  There were a few changes in the PL with Stoke, St Austell and Rayleigh all gone from the previous year, but new teams Sunderland, Glasgow and Newport.  The arrival of Sunderland promised a fresh local derby rivalry but the Saints, who signed new Aussies Jim Airey and Gordon Guasco, operated for just a few weeks before closing down.  The two Aussies went on to Wolverhampton who immediately became a serious threat, bracketed with ourselves and Hackney – who had Colin Pratt and Roy Trigg – as likely honours challengers.

As far as we were concerned, Newcastle would be the team to beat.  Brian Craven had retired, but the returning Bill Andrew, the jockey turned racer from Palmerston North, was a decent replacement, Goog Allan was another recruit from New Zealand, and the signing of veteran Ken Sharples after Sunderland closed gave us an added edge in the second half of season 1964.

 
 

Fans who had been watching for years reckoned these Diamonds had enough about them to bring a league title to the club for the first time.  I hardly put a foot wrong, although there was one memorable time when Ivor Brown, who dished it out but appeared to regard himself as untouchable, did get the better of me and hung me out to dry when Cradley Heath came to visit Brough Park in June 1964.  He was my challenger for the silver sash but hardly put in any effort.  In the second half final I warned Mike Watkin and Bill Andrews to stay out of the way in the first corner.  Ivor ended up going through the pit gates.  From a personal viewpoint my league and KO Cup results could not have been much better – 293 points from 23 matches, an average of 11.49 and 15 maximum scores.

Newcastle was an unforgiving circuit, usually on the rough side, and we made the most of it as a home track.  We also had the ability to win six out of 11 away from home, finally clinching the championship with a 49-29 home win against Edinburgh.  In the end we had a three-point margin over Hackney with the rest way behind.  Celebrations in the north-east went on for days and at the end of the week, winning the individual title at Hyde Road for the second year in a row was another highlight.  After dropping a point to Roy Trigg in my first race, and another to former Adelaide rival Charlie Monk (Glasgow) in Heat 12, I finished on 13 and needed to beat Charlie in a run-off for the championship.  As we were the only riders with a figure above 11 for the season, it seemed a fitting result.  I would have been disappointed with anything less, but it was a tough night.  Belle Vue was packed, the meeting attracting more fans than any other at Hyde Road that year.  The atmosphere was brilliant, although by all accounts thousands of fans were angry when programmes sold out an hour before the start.  The point was not lost on those who were following the continual split between the ‘official’ National League and the ‘black’ Provincials.  The Speedway Control Board suspended Belle Vue’s licence after they staged the PLRC, but relented a few days later, shortly before all parties were to meet in the first step towards reconciliation.

It took many weeks in the off season, a great deal of wheeling and dealing.  When everybody had given their input the Shawcross Report into the state of speedway eventually brought together all the feuding factions.  All of this was still in the melting point when the season ended but this time I was determined not to let anything get in the way of my preparations for the following year and my world championship ambitions.  Raye and I and the kids again stayed in England that winter.  Julie and Kym were established at school and doing well and we wanted to have five or six months quality time in one base during the winter to get really organised for the following season.  In addition I had made the conscious decision to start my year’s preparations on January 1 – an ideal time to start a new campaign – and I have always kept to that plan even today.

I was in my workshop for a few hours most days during November and December, just cleaning things up and starting to make a plan with Guy Allott as to what we should do with engines and so forth the following year.

Not being able to ride in the championship rounds had occupied a lot of my thoughts in the weeks after the end of the season. When Mike Parker eventually got around to coming in to see me shortly before Christmas it probably was the first time he and I ever had hard words.  He was a very strong-willed person and so was I and that made it inevitable we would have our problems sooner or later.  He started off by telling me his plans for the formation of the British League, which meant the National League and Provincial League amalgamation was going to happen.  He was keen to talk about a new deal but I wasn’t ready.  It was good to know the two competitions were coming together but I had fulfilled the two years agreed.  He and I both fully understood that there was no loyalty now after his lies in 1964.

Mike was such a visionary for speedway and one of the first people who could see a league join up had to happen.  He was more forceful and had a stronger personality than any of the other promoters and that was a huge factor in how the British League (BL) got started. – Just as he was one of the first group who had a vision for the Provincial League (PL) a few years before.  But I knew that I was coming from a strong bargaining position.   I told him that as one of the hot properties in British speedway, after cleaning up the PL in 1963 and 1964, I figured I could ride for just about anyone I wanted to.  By staying loyal to Mike and the PL I had wasted a year of world championship rounds.  In that instant I could not have cared less whether I rode for Mike again or not.  Discussion stalled at that point so I locked my workshop door and went home.

Raye and I discussed everything for a week or two. We had made many friends up at Newcastle and we loved all the people; they were great supporters and very friendly, as they are today.  I really wanted to stay there but on my own conditions.  We decided upon exactly what I wanted no matter who I rode for in 1965, Newcastle or anybody else: good guaranteed money, better transport vehicles, better bikes and better accommodation. Only then did I go back to the workshop.  When Mike next came in he asked me if I had calmed down and asked if I still wanted to ride for Newcastle.  I said “yes, lets go up to your office and I will tell you what the deal is.

I started by telling him to make the tea and provide the chocolate biscuits. We sat in exactly the same place as we had done 10 months before when he called me in to tell me that the PL promoters and riders were going “black” and offered me the financial guarantee to continue with him in the PL that year.  I told him I could not forget how all his reassurances about the dispute being settled quickly had been shown to be false.  I again said I could ride for whoever I wanted to and in particular Belle Vue, who had made no great secret about wanting to get me to Hyde Road from the first time I had been on their track. After I had outlined all the conditions Raye and I had worked out he was silent for quite a long time and I was determined not to speak until he did.  People in Newcastle had told me Mike was desperate for me to ride there particularly in the first season of his brainchild the BL.  I also knew he had done some deals with other promoters when he was trying to get the new BL started, and Maurice Marshall, the Chief Executive Officer of the entire Belle Vue complex, was top of his list.

 

It followed that Mike did not want to get into a fight with Belle Vue over me so I told him I would ride for Newcastle home and away and open meetings for a guaranteed £100.00 a meeting plus double travel money.  Any challenge matches I could negotiate with the promoters for a higher guarantee.  Any individual meeting at home I kept whatever prize money I got plus the guarantee.

That was good money in them days.  Briggo, who was world champion in1964, only got £35.00 for open meetings.  But I didn’t have any doubt I was worth that sort of money to Mike Parker- not that I expected him to immediately agree.  Anyway, after a while he said that was too much and no club in the UK would pay that much and also he wouldn’t give me a transfer to another club.

I was wise enough to know at that stage that Mike’s ambitions of being the chairman of The British Speedway Promoters Associations (BSPA) or the number one promoter in the British League with several tracks would play a part in his thinking.  All the other promoters wanted me to be in it and Mike had upset so many people any arbitration court in the RAC would defeat him.  I gambled on the fact that his ego would not allow him to be publicly defeated so I was confident that he would come up with my requests.  After about an other half an hour of silence during which time Mike made more teas, he said he thought I was completely ungrateful after he had brought my family over in 1963 and I should reconsider.  My reply was that I had fulfilled my loyalty in riding two seasons for him which when I made the agreement and committed to that loyalty never included never included being excluded from the world championship for one of those seasons (1964).

Mike could sense I was determined and also at that time I thought he was figuring out he was going to tell the people at Newcastle that I was leaving.  After a while he told me to come back the next day.  When we got together again we haggled and compromised a bit, part of which I didn’t get any travelling money at all!  But obviously he had cleared his thoughts overnight and done his sums because we did the deal there and then.  The prospect of earning £100.00 several nights a week was quite attractive as the average UK wage was in the region of £13.00 and petrol was less than two bob a gallon.  As with every deal I made with Mike, all it took was a handshake and he paid every penny.

As the start of speedway’s new era dawned and everybody in the UK was getting very excited about the formation of the British League, I was as jazzed up as anybody.  For two years in the Provincial League things had gone extremely well for me.  My results were consistently good, my confidence was high.  The drama of meningitis behind me – although never forgotten – I felt I was ready for the challenge.  Plenty of people had doubts about how the former Provincial League guys would fare up against the gun riders who had been stars in the National League.  Among them were those who seemed to take a delight in reminding anybody who would take notice that Ivan Mauger and all the rest of them had everything to prove, because none of them had cut it in the big time.  And it was true.  But thanks to several years of increasingly tough competition, to a greater or lesser degree all of us were now serious contenders.  If the biggest criticism to be levelled against us was that we lacked experience, well now was the time to bring it on!  At least I’d had the benefit of racing against some of the star names before coming back to England and handling myself more than adequately.  I knew too that I was a far better all-round rider than say, two years before when the Newcastle adventure kicked off.

My analysis of the teams for the new British League was that the overall strength would not be that much greater than the Provincial League had been.  Of course the big stars like Briggo, Nigel Boocock and company would present a whole new challenge but they were only one man in a seven-man team.  What remained to be seen was whether good domestic form could be carried over into the world championship rounds.  After being dudded out of the opportunity to compete in 1964, this was a high priority. 

It was good to be able to get into detailed planning for the months to come, although it was not the case for all the riders who were going to be involved in the new set-up.  There were pay disputes, threats of tracks shutting down and various other loose ends to be resolved before the new British League lurched into action.

When all the talking and argument was over, Coventry, one of the traditional big guns, met Cradley Heath, one of the ex PL-clubs, and 14,000 people turned out at Brandon to give the bold new era a fantastic start.   Newcastle were one of the later-starting tracks but we had a challenge match at Sheffield and I kicked off my season with 13 points.  Then there was a gap of more than a week before Newcastle were due at Wolverhampton on Good Friday. 

 

In between times I had a very bad bout of flu which put me in bed for a few days.  But of course Mike Parker wanted me to ride at Monmore Green – another of his tracks – so against my better judgment, I got out of bed and went.   You can ride with injury, and put up with the pain, but I wasn’t thinking clearly because of the flu.  In my second ride I rode a lazy first corner, came down, and Gordon Guasco ran over my left foot and broke my ankle and leg really badly.  It wasn’t Gordon’s fault and you couldn’t say directly that it was Mike Parkers fault, but the bottom line was for the second year in a row it looked as if my world championship hopes were in huge trouble through trying to help out.

There was so much more besides.  As holder of the silver sash, which I had successfully defended for weeks in 1964, I was keen to hang on to it for a while.  There was talk of my being nominated to challenge Briggo for the golden helmet, the most prestigious match race championship in speedway  There was a test match series coming up against The USSR, history to be made and I fancied my chances of getting a run in the series too.

As a speedway rider you have to accept there is a possibility all the best laid plans can be wrecked through injury.  All forms of racing have that element of risk attached, which can be minimised by engaging the brain before twisting the throttle.  But by its very nature, motor sport is dangerous, as the warnings in all the programmes and posters used to say.  That is precisely when injuries made a mess of my 1965 season.  Doing myself serious damage was shattering in more ways than one.  In over 8 years I had never had worse than a bit of concussion in 1957 and broken ribs in 1958, but this was something else.  The most immediate single consequence was the way it made a mess of my hopes in the 1965 world championships.  Carlo Biagi speedways miracle doctor did patch me up any number of times over the next few months to help me through the qualifying rounds, then the British Semi-Final but my hopes of getting through to a Wembley final was pretty much doomed.

Carlo had almost legendary status because of his work at Peel Hospital, near Galashiels. In 1982 he was awarded an honorary fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons a tribute normally reserved for distinguished international visiting surgeons and almost unheard of for a surgeon at a small hospital such as Peel.  In 1990, he was presented with a MBE at Buckingham Palace for his services to Orthopaedic surgery.

After missing 16 meetings in the first couple of months of the season, I managed to get some reasonable results but the BL proved to be tougher for the Diamonds than might have been imagined.  Newcastle were good enough to win 14 and draw 1 at home but managed only 2 away wins in 17 road trips, at Edinburgh and Long Eaton in my first few weeks back in action.

 

Bill Andrew had gone from 1964 replaced by the returning Brian Craven.  After my Good Friday crash, Mike Parker talked Brian Brett (Pictured) out of a short-lived retirement, and then had to battle other tracks to hold onto him after I was fit to come back.

Mike won that fight and for a spell with Brett and myself in the team the team strung together some consistent results before injuries struck again.  In the end 12th place in a British League of 18 teams was the best we could do and seven of the teams who finished behind us in 1964 now jumped ahead of us in the table.  Former National League clubs West Ham, Wimbledon and Coventry made the running for the big prizes.

I managed to be 0.01 ahead of Bretty in the averages when the line up was announced for the first (1965) BLRC which was allocated to Belle Vue after their earlier success with the PLRC. This was the one last chance I had to salvage something from the year and my only time at Hyde Road in 1965.  It also was the start of a sequence of tremendous occasions which signalled the end of the UK season 1965.

Most riders loved the space and speed of the track, they enjoyed the atmosphere of the old Zoological Gardens which for so long were a massive attraction in the north west of England, and the buzz created when a full house packed into the stadium was very special.  I hoped for something good with which to sign off, and won my first race, but fell next time out, again aggravating the ankle and collected 5 points from my last three rides.  Briggo blasted through the field with 14 points collecting his first of what turned out to be six consecutive title and my mid table scoring just about summed up my year.

In spite of all that, everyone in Newcastle was complimentary about the way we had tackled that first British League campaign.  At the end of season function at the Newcastle Mayfair Ballroom (Now demolished) 1600 turned up and made my night by presenting me with an illuminated scroll to acknowledge my efforts.  I even managed to have a civilised end of season conversation with Mike Parker.  The speedy upshot was an agreement on another two year deal with improved terms and built in price indexes rises.

For the first time in more than 2 and a half eventful years, our family set off for a trip to New Zealand – our first by plane.  We flew via San Francisco and Fiji.  I hadn’t intended to ride much, but those intentions lasted only a few days.  Promoter Russell Lang persuaded me to ride on the Saturday night programme at Templeton.  I was keen to build up my fitness and just as a kid years before, went off to Rapaki Hills to do some running.  But after a few sessions I was getting terrific pain from the ankle.

It turned out that I had been pushing myself so hard that the screws in my ankle had bent over and were rubbing against the bones.  Dr McFarlane, a specialist in Papanui Road Christchurch told me it was best to have the screws removed and that turned out to be a painless and simple operation.  Within a fortnight I was back in action and building up for our return. After falling sick (meningitis) at the end of my first season with Newcastle, struggling for fitness the following year, and having 1965 bighted by injury, it was desperately important for me to go through and entire English season with a clean bill of health.  At last in 1966 I managed that.  In the British League 1966 I upped my average by Half a point from 8.93 to 9.46, I scored my first 7 ride maximum of 21 points at Poole in a KO cup match, and it was a much improved year for Newcastle.  Only one home defeat, some decent results on the road, with Peter Kelly and Brian Brett – despite some injury problems- doing a good job and a hard-working supporting cast, helped us pin down 5th place.

It was no accident that my good form in the BL, and selection for the World Team Cup and GB teams, also coincided with the first consistently successful world championship campaign.   Winning the European Final at my first meeting at Wembley, and qualifying for my first world final, were achievements I would happily have settled for going into that year.  At last I felt I belonged and proved that I could go well in the very highest company.  It had been years in the making, and everything started to fall into place.  Good for me and good for Newcastle.  But it also provoked another argument with Mike Parker.  While the disappointment and deception of 1964 still rankled, this was the beginning of a bigger rift which ultimately meant a parting of the ways would be inevitable.

 

 

Photographs Provided For The Website
By Ivan Mauger

 
 

The photo used on the cover of this programme came from the Newcastle Speedway History Website.  Ivan says it was taken in 1964

 

 
 
Aranui New Zealand
In 1956
 
 
Aranui New Zealand in 1956. I was 15 then and told the steward I was 16. You had to be 16 to get a Speedway licence. That was the first fib that I ever told! It says 1957 but it was 1956
 
 
Ivan In The 1950s
 
 
Ivan in the 1950s.  I hope someone told him he had a flat tyre at the front!  This picture was taken in the late 1950s that is well before he came to England for the second time (1963) to link up with the Diamonds.  The young guy in this picture was probably dreaming that he could go on to emulate his countrymen Ronnie Moore (twice a world champ) and Barry Briggs (4 times world champ) and his boyhood hero Australian Jack Young (Twice a Champ).  He emulated them all and kept on winning, yes he did that, eclipsing the three world champions.
 

 
 

Ivan's First Appearance As A Diamond April 1963 At Brough Park

 
 

 
 
World Riders Association In March 2009
 
 
This one was taken at the World Riders Association in March 2009. It has my Mechanic Gordon Stobb. My engine tuner for the Speedway and Long track Guy Allott, Guy tuned all my engines from half way thru in 1963 until I stopped riding in Feb 1987.Wilfried Drygala who has been my European Manager since March 1966.  And Norrie Allan who done most of the Continental work for me.
 

 
 
Raye And Me After
The 1968 World Final
 
 

Raye and me after the 1968 World Final. Raye has got the Diamonds badge on.  John says: She must have been a fan of yours Ivan!!

 
 

This Is Me With The Winged Wheel In 1968

 
 
 

My 1968 Jawa,
World Championship
Winning Bike

 
 
 

I only had the one sponsor Valvoline.

 
 
My All Time Hero Jack Young & Promoter
Kym Bonython
 
 
But I got a lot more sponsors, see above picture.  Taken with my all time hero Jack Young and the Promoter Kym Bonython who paid our Air tickets from Christchurch. I rode for Kym from Nov 1969 until we left in Jan 1973.  When I was World Champion in 1968 I done a meeting for him completely free
 

 
 

Ivan In Newcastle In 1964

 
 
Bill Andrew, Russ Dent, Mike Watkin, Mike Parker, Goog Allan, Ken Sharples, Peter Kelly, with me on the bike.
 

 
 

September 1963
Ivan & Raye
Provincial League Riders Final

 
 
Ivan is pictured throughout this website with many trophy's but a league riders win is a bit special.  Raye must have spent a lot of time polishing!  Newcastle Promoter Mike Parker poses with the Maugers.
 

 
 
I Rode The 1000cc Vincent Combo On  29th Nov 1968
 
 

I rode the 1000cc Vincent on 29th Nov 1968 at Ipswich in Queensland and that was a 510 Yard Track.  I am driving in this photo

 

 
 
Ivan On The Wall No!
Not The Wall Of Death
 
 
Ivan on top of the world (A wall actually!) Do you know who the other guy was John
George Winstanley says: Hi John.   Thought I'd put you out of your misery! The guy with "Ivan on the wall" is Les Waine. He was the landlord of the pub Ivan went to with my dad, when Ivan fell ill the following day! Nobody would have got that.
 
 

 
 

This Photo Is From When I Started My Son Kym At Newcastle

 
 

 
 
Young Ivan With An Even
Younger Raye
 
 

Raye was 13 and I was 14 and a bit when this was taken

 

 
 

Ivan & Raye "Tying The Knot" Back Home In
New Zealand

 
 

The site of their wedding destroyed by earthquake!  Ivan says: It was started to be rebuilt after the big one on 4th September 2010.  But the big one on 22nd Feb 2011 destroyed it completely.

 
 

 
 
Riding A 1929 Douglas
 
 

I rode a Douglas at the Lockeren Memorial in Oct 1970.

 

 
 
Kym Mauger 1986
New Zealand
Long Track Champion
 
 

My son Kym Mauger: 1986 New Zealand Long Track Champion at Claudelands in Waikato NZ.

 

 
 
Those Winged Wheels
 
 

I got the Winged Wheel to keep.  Don Clarke and George Casey made a speech after I won it in 1969 to say If I can Win it 3 times on the trot they would give it to me. But it was to be when I won it 5 times that they gave it to me in Nov 1977.  if any of your readers are interested go to my web site www.ivanmauger.com and they will see it as it is in the Canterbury Museum .Also my 1968 Bike will go to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. It will have the very same stand and a glass case as the 1979 bike has.

John says: As a speedway fan from 1961 to now.  I feel the World Championship trophy should always be a winged wheel, maybe a bit smaller than Ivan's trophy?
 
 

 
 
New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team
 
 

"The above photo shows the ALL BLACKS flag.  I support them and go to most of their games.  Put that in the 1960s.  That's All for now John. Ivan"

 

 
 
Ivan Accepts The Website, Says He likes It & Helps Me With It!
 

John says: I have waited a year before adding many pictures of Ivan to the site as I wanted nothing but the best possible shots of him and a lot of pictures I could have used had copyright issues over them.  BUT....Ivan has now been in touch following a conversation he had with his friend and mine, Dave Gifford (Giffy also has his own page on this website) and today Ivan's own pictures are shown above and below with his permission.  Thank you Ivan (the site now has it's pictures of the master!).  If you read this Ivan then why not type up some more text to go with them?

 
 
My All-time Favourite
Ivan Mauger Picture
 
 
A typical Spencer Oliver shot going into the first corner with a massive crowd in background.
Ivan has been in touch, he says: -
Ivan says: Hi to all the Newcastle fans.
 
Raye and I will always be grateful to Mike Parker for bringing us and our family to England and Newcastle in 1963.The 1963 season was very good and I won the Provincial League Riders championship in my first year for Mike and the Newcastle fans. We won the PL League for the fans in 1964 and I got the PLRC again so 1964 ended on a great note for Newcastle Speedway. I knew all the rows Mike and the other PL Promoters had over the winter of 63/64 with the Speedway Control Board. That row concerned the National League tracks insisting Wolverhampton as winners of the PL championship in 63 move to the NL in 1964.
 

At that time there were 14 tracks in the PL and all attracting excellent crowds and there was great racing because most of the PL riders had huge ambitions, in contrast in the  NL there were only 7 and none of them were getting good crowds because the racing was boring in that league.

 
Bottom line is that Mike and his other PL Promoters had a meeting with the top PL guys at Cradley Heath a couple weeks before the start of 1964 to tell us they were going to run black and without licences from the Speedway Control Board. That meant we also would not have licences. They assured us that it would “all blow over before the World Championship Q/rounds began" Later we all realized that they were lying and they never intended to link up with the SCB. They were all doing well financially without paying licence or permit fees.
 
That in a nutshell is when Mike and I started to fall out and it compounded when he would not let me go to Practice for my first World Final in 1966 and the same for 1968.Add to that the fact that both Mike and me had very strong personalities so we were bound to fall out sooner or later. That was when I put in the transfer to Belle Vue but if the Newcastle Promotion had changed I was happy to stay with Newcastle to the end of my BL career but contrary to opinion I never ever fell out with Mike over money. He paid myself and all his riders what was quite good money for that period and Mike never owed any of the boys money.
 
I have to say that Mike was one of the Promoters who got the Provincial League started in the late 50s and was the person most responsible for the formation of the British League during the 64/65 winter. That was when Speedway really took off and was great for the next 20 years or so. Speedway  really needs another Mike Parker  who was never afraid to tell the authorities and the other Promoters exactly where they were going wrong and what they should be doing to get it right. Mike was also very much a visionary and knew where he wanted the sport to progress. I accepted all that but I still needed to get away from him.
 
Gordon Stobbs, Ivan Mauger and Wilfried Drygala However, despite my occasional arguments with Mike I really enjoyed riding for Newcastle ,the fans there were great and Raye and I still have a lot of friends there. Within the first couple of meetings in 1963 I met Gordon Stobbs.  Soon after meeting him, Gordon and Margaret started to go to away tracks to help me. Later Gordon became my full time mechanic and was my main Mechanic until I retired in 1985.They are great friends of all our family and have visited us on the Gold Coast in Aussie. Raye and I stay with them when we are on our UK northern trips. Gordon was absolutely the most loyal mechanic in Speedway, he knew my moods, dislikes, likes etc and he got to know if I was going to win a meeting or just do some experimenting for future meetings. We could go to a track in Europe for the first time and he would put the gear on, the wheel base, the ignition settings etc etc., for me that was accurate 9 times out of 10. Gordon usually got to those Cities several hours before me and he made sure we got rooms on the quiet side of Hotels. In the last few years Gordon has come to my training Academies in the North. Gordon was most certainly a plus from my Newcastle years.

Jack and Eileen McClurey became very good friends, Bob Hall who ran Lowrys Shell garage was a great help to all the team and also Les Cummings. Bob came with us to my first World Championship win in Gothenburg in 1968 so it was very much a combined Newcastle effort.

The years I spent at Brough Park were great. The Geordie fans were encouraging to all the boys and we all could feel it. There was great team spirit in the 60s and the Stadium was always full on Monday nights. Eddie Glennon was an excellent Team manager who had a rapport with all the boys. The team changed a bit from 1963 until I left at the end of 1968 but there were several who were in all those years and we quickly accepted any new guys.


Gordon left with
 my European manager Wilfried Drygala after I won the 1976 Long Track  World Final at Marianske Lazne in Czechoslovakia

The Evening Chronicle used to have a special edition every Monday with two back pages. They used Spencer Oliver’s photos and Sam Brook’s done the write ups. Then Tues Morning there was half the back cover. Spencer would go home after the meetings, develop his photos and take a selection to the Chronicle before 1am and Sam would do the story.

Tom Graham Snr was Mikes right hand man in Newcastle ,George English Senior and his Wife Joan with Jack Hewlett ran the supporters club, Ivan Stephenson was the Pits Marshall.

Those were great days for Newcastle. Even today the first results I look at in the Speedway Star are Newcastle’s meetings, Then Belle Vue. Then it used to be Exeter and Hull. sadly Hull does not look like starting again but hopefully Exeter will be away again in 2010.
Best wishes from Raye and myself and our family to all the Fans, Promoters, officials and the riders.
Ivan
 
 
It's Behind You Ivan!
 
 

 
 
Sunday Mirror Presentation Of This Winged Wheel,
To Keep
 
 
Gordon Stobbs (right) and my UK manager Peter Oakes at a function at the Sportsman club in London in Nov 1977 when the Sunday Mirror presented me with the World Championship Winged Wheel to keep to mark my 5th World Championship.
 
More from Ivan:-
Ivan (Mauger) sent me an email for the Website which is reproduced below: -
 
My first bikes during my time with Newcastle.. Mike Parker booked my family on a return Boat trip to Newcastle in April 1963.  My very first meeting was at Middlesbrough on 11th April 1963 (That was the first Time I had ever ridden for Newcastle) I scored 2 points on a bike that Mike Parker gave me. It was an ex-Bill Andrew bike. 

I managed to fix the bike up and rode it in a challenge v Wolverhampton on 15th April 1963 and I scored 8 points.  I gave that bike back to Mike Parker and bought one of my own. I got a Bike from Ted Brine as Cyril Brine had just retired. I knew Ted did Cyril’s bike in the Wimbledon Workshop from my riding there in 1957 and 58.  I knew how fastidious Ted was at that time.  The bike was a good one.
 
Maximums..  Then I started to score Maximums.  I scored 24 Maximums and had an average of 11.10 over the 1963 season.  46 Maximums in 1964 and I scored 11.91 average.
 

The "Blacked" breakaway season 1964.. In 1964 we rode “black” in the Provincial League.  Mike and his other Promoter colleagues had us down to visit Cradley Heath and told us that it will be all over by the time the SCB got around to doing the World Championship rounds that were in June, but they were liars!!!!!!!!!!. They did not want the SCB to do it as they had their own little patch and did not want the SCB to have anything to do with the PL in 1964. 

John, you can take whatever you like out of my book ROUGH DIAMOND for your websites.  It has a lot of what I had to say about missing a BLACK year.  Over the Winter Mike was starting the British League.  In the formation of the BL that Mike wanted to front. Morris Marshall the CEO of the entire BV complex was top of his list, but Morris Marshall was not interested in the BL. You can see that story in ROUGH DIAMOND.

 
My 1960s Earnings.. I got 100 quid a meeting when most workers were getting £13 a week, and I was riding sometimes up to 5 nights a week and sometimes 6.  I did that until 1968 at Newcastle.
 
 My Newcastle British League averages are as follows:-
 
1965 I Averaged 8.90  When I had my ankle crushed at Wolves on Good Friday                         
1966 I Averaged 9.92  
1967 I Averaged 9.86  
1968 I Averaged 11.49  
 
Thanks and regards.
 
Ivan Mauger OBE MBE
PS Brian Craven and Ivan Crozier have passed away. Ivan
 

 
 
Ivan & His All-Time Speedway Hero
Australian Jack Young
 
 
Ivan says: I posed with with my all time hero Jack Young for the above photo's.  Kym Bonython was also in the left hand photo.  That was Jack giving me the Trophy after I won my last ever race on 1st Feb 1987 in Adelaide.
Cheers Ivan
 

 
 

Speedway King
The Ivan Mauger Story

 
 

General front view of exhibition

 
Ivan has given permission for me to display these pictures from his museum display in Christchurch NZ. Thanks go to the 3 directors of the museum namely:  Anthony Wright, Director: Lesley Colsell, General Manager Museum Programmes: Stephen Ruscoe, Exhibitions Manager.  If you want to see more check out Ivan's website www.ivanmauger.com.
 
 

Profile of World Long track record holding bike. HZ Godden Engine in Hagon Frame

 
 

Ivan's 9 Individual World Championship winning race jackets.1968-1969-1970-1972-1977-1979 World Speedway Championships and 1971-1972-1976 World Long Track Championships

 
 
Ivan's Gold Bike
 
2016 Ivan Mauger's Gold-Plated Bike Sold To NZ's
Canterbury
Museum
 
 

The triple crown special, gold Jawa bike

 
Ivan is of course a New Zealander and when it was decided to sell his most valuable item the "Gold Bike" the  sale was won by the New Zealand Canterbury Museum.  The Museum says: The story of the world's greatest speedway rider Ivan Mauger continues today (August 2016) with the Canterbury Museum purchasing his 24 carrot gold-plated motorbike and other  memorabilia.
John says: I believe Ivan's bike plus memorabilia  realised 1.7 million NZ Dollars which I have translated to around £900,000  pounds sterling, (I hope my math's are right).  The items may have reached more in an open auction but the Mauger family were keen for the items to stay in New Zealand.
Canterbury Museum's chairman Michael McEvedy said the Mauger Family have generously sold the collection to us "For much less than they may have received on the open market"  Ivan's "Triple Crown Special motorbike, which he used to win his third consecutive World Speedway Championship in 1970 was gold plated as a bet between some speedway entrepreneurs.  They agreed to gold plate Ivan's bike if he won the triple crown which he did and so his bike was gold plated.  The bike will now be preserved for ever by the Canterbury Museum.
Mauger's glittering "Triple Crown Special" Jawa Speedway bike which he rode to his 3rd consecutive World Championship Title 46 yrs ago as I type, His 3rd win was in 1970.  The bike was afterwards Gold-Plated as the result of a bet.  His Friend in the USA George Wenn had an associate Ray Bekelman who owned an electro-plating company.  The legend goes that they would gold plate his bike if he won the World title for the 3rd time, the rest is history.  Ivan kept all of his world title winning machines and has sent me photos of them which are on my two websites this one www.newcastlespeedwayhistory.co.uk and www.defunctspeedway.co.uk
 

 
 

Ivan Mauger's Famous Bikes

 

The following bike pics are shown with Ivan's permission they are part of the Ivan Mauger Australian Museum which you can visit here www.ivanmauger.com

 
 
Early 1960s ESO
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
1963 Rotrax JAP
 
The photo was taken by Wright Wood at Sheffield in the mid 60's.
 
Who can forget this man and this bike too.  The white mudguard and black Kiwi emblem must have struck fear into the rest of the world's top riders because they would have been looking at this rear mudguard almost every time he rode against them!
 

 
 
1963 Rotrax JAP
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
This is the actual bike shown in the above black and white picture For me it was the "trademark" Ivan Mauger machine check out Ivan's other famous bikes below: -
 

 
 
1968 ESO (Jawa)
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

Ivan has been in touch.  He says: I am sending you a photo of my 1968 Bike, (see above).  I had hoped to restore it before Raye and I did our usual trip to London in June 2011.

We got back in late Sept 2011 from California but were very busy.  We went down to Adelaide for the Ivan Mauger tribute night on 29th October 2011. Then we went to the Melbourne Cup with our good friends Kath and Jack Walker. Then we spent most of November 2011 in Christchurch.  We got back on 4th Dec 2011 and that was when I finished the bike. 

My 1968 Bike will go to the Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin and it will have the stand and glass case as the 1969 Bike  If any of your readers want to see it, go to my website www.ivanmauger.com  John, you are welcome to put my photo of my 1968 Bike on your Website. I am now restoring my 1969 Bike. I will send you a photo when I get it finished.  I have done all the others so do not know why I left the first couple of bikes to last?

John Says: When you finish the bikes you will have to get yourself a new hobby!!

 

 
 
1972 Longtrack JAWA
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
1977 JAWA
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
1979 JAWA
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
1994 Antig/Godden Longtrack Machine
 
Kym's Winning Bike
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
Jim Airey's Jawa
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
Gordon Guasgo's Bike
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 

 
 
1961 Moto Cross
Champion
 
 

Ivan says: Hi John. This is me when I won the South Australian 250cc Moto Cross Championship for 1961.  I also won the South Australian Moto Cross championship on a 500 cc in 1962.  Then we left to go to Newcastle in Feb 1963.  Cheers Ivan
John says:  Moto Cross's loss was Speedways gain The bike was a British Greaves a 250cc two stroke which would be slow compared to Mauger's speedway machines.

 

 
 

1963 The UK Dawn
Of Ivan Mauger

 

Phrases like "living legend"," the greatest ever" and "simply the best" have been used about many riders but they all apply to "Ivan the Great or The Galloping Mauger".  He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand and first came to England in the late 50's.  Wimbledon gave him some rides in 1958 but didn't spot the potential he had.  He was more famous for his mispronounced (Mawger) surname then than for his riding and went back to NZ.  Mauger (pronounced Major) was brought back to England by Mike Parker on the recommendation of 1962 Diamond and fellow New Zealander, Ivan Crozier and he took his place in the Diamonds side of 1963.  Ivan quickly replaced the Diamonds star man Brian Craven as the darling of the Brough Park terraces. 

 

Ivan With Newcastle Manager Eddie Glennon
In 1963

 
Courtesy of Ivan Mauger
 

 
 
1963 & Two Ivans In The Diamonds Team
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
This Newcastle 1963 photo with my good friend Ivan Crozier, who told Mike Parker about me which led to me signing for the Diamonds. Ivan Crozier (now deceased) was probably the main reason I ended up at Newcastle.
 

 
 
1963 Ivan Shows The Rest How To Make The Gate
 
 
Bob Andrews has emailed me in a light-hearted debate about Ivan rolling at starts, sparked by a video clip he saw of Ivan coming from the back.

Bob says: Hi John, I once passed someone, about 1961 I think? Might have been Bert Harkins? Ha. Ha. When I first rode at Newcastle, the "starter" used to get the visiting riders (like me) to come up to the tape and stand still, then Ivan would come up at about 10 mph. and keep going. (and win) Me being a fast learner, would do that at my next ride, but it was deemed a false start. That is how Ivan had so many maximums in his early days. Mind you the "Ref" used to wear a Newcastle scarf.  Bob (old but reliable) Andrews.  26th August 2005

John says: Thanks Bob for shattering my memories of Ivan!! It would be great to hear from any Referee from the era, I remember them holding the tapes longer when Ivan was in a race.  It was a battle of wits for a Ref to catch him out!  I will bet they went home happy if they forced him to break the tapes eh?

 

 
 
Ivan At Brough Park In 1963
 
 
In 1963 the Diamonds wore the big diamond without a border which looked great as almost all  riders wore black leathers
 

 
 
Ivan Winner Of A
World Championship Round
 
 
Ivan Wins a world championship round.  Charlie Monk is on the right. Can you name the other rider please? John
Jack Hides says: I am almost certain that the other rider shown above is Roy Trigg of Hackney, wearing an old Hawks 1964-65 body colour
Ivan says this was 1963!
Terry Kirkup says: The rider with Ivan Mauger and Charlie Monk on your web site is Roy Trigg.
 

 
 
1963 Provincial Riders Championship
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
The 1963 Provincial Riders Championship  from left is me, Jack Kitchen Sheffield 2nd and Ross Gilbertson Poole 3rd.  The girl was the Miss Edinburgh Speedway. The driver is Vic Gooden who was team manager of Great Britain for my first trip to Poland in 1965.
John says: All those cups and other trophies.  Ivan at the end of his career would have needed a warehouse to store them all
 

 
 

Ivan Mauger 1964

 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
This 1964 Newcastle photo was taken with another very good friend, Goog Allan. I had known both Ivan (Crozier) and Goog for several years in New Zealand and Australia before meeting up with them in our Newcastle days.
 
John says: I remember Ivan lodging with the next door neighbour of my cousin who lived in Heaton, Newcastle.  Hey Ivan do you remember an 11 year old pestering you over the fence? That was me!  John Skinner, owner of this website!
 

 
 
Mid To Late 1960s
 
The Diamond race jacket changed.  The later jacket had the white border and who else is better qualified to model it than Ivan Mauger, see below, John says: personal taste but I preferred the older jacket without the border.  John says I have seen hundreds of photos of Ivan Mauger but the picture, below taken by R Spencer Oliver is amongst the best speedway photos I have ever seen.  The photo is excellent but then you have to know the subject Ivan Mauger was on the verge of greatness.  Also it shows a jam packed Brough Park and everyone's eyes were on Ivan sailing along in front.
 
 
 
 
 
Q: Who is that with number 3 on his back in the picture shown above? John
A: Dave Rowland suggests that the number 3 rider above is Bill Andrew. Can anyone confirm that?  Another email suggests that Bill Andrew only wore number 3 twice and only Ken Sharples made that jacket his own during 1964.  Another 60's fan advises  Peter Kelly wore it twice, Goog Allen twice and Morrie Robinson once.  So was it Bill Andrew?  let us know if you recognise the rider John  
John says: The number 3 guy looks to big to be Bill Andrew to me!
In the above picture, the 3rd bike along the line shows what appears to be a brake drum on the front wheel and as the following picture shows the same bike ridden by Russ Dent then bike number 3 above belongs to Russ.
 

 
 
The 1964 Provincial Riders
Championship
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
The 1964 Provincial Riders Championship from left is Roy Trigg Hackney 3rd,Charlie Monk Glasgow 2nd and me.
 

 
 

1965 Still At Newcastle

 
 

Ivan quickly got to grips with the Provincial League (2nd Division) and by the1964 season he was winning his races by a mile.  1965 saw Newcastle become founder members of the British League and Ivan the Great was one of the reasons why the Diamonds became that years league champions.  He was a devotee of the British JAP engine and he broke track records on his JAP everywhere he rode.  Then he changed to ESO and was even better.

 
 
1965 My Leg In Plaster
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
This 1965 photo is when I rode with my leg in plaster to do the World Champ qualifying rounds in 1965.  I did not have a boot on, only the plaster and we made an oversize steel shoe to go over the plaster. It hurt a lot in the three rounds and semi-final but I was young and ambitious then. In the photo I am having a bit of a struggle with Dick Fisher from Belle Vue.
 
John Skinner says: An excellent photo which shows the plaster clearly.  I remember going home after watching you ride with it and told my dad.  We had a big argument about whether you were mad or not!!!  But you survived.  Big shame about that injury as you may have landed your first world title that year.  Who knows what might have been.  Modern regs. would not have allowed it I suspect.
 
Ivan Mauger says: I was not mad, just young and ambitious and ready to put up with pain!! You are correct in modern times the boys are not even allowed an Aspirin if they have a headache before a meeting as it is deemed an outside assistance. I had lots of pain killing injections while riding in plaster. I also would not have won both Speedway and Long track World Champs in1972 as I had broken scaphoid in my left wrist and broken bones in my right wrist and before and during both Finals I gave myself pain killing injections between my fingers on both hands. My Doc, who was the Belle Vue Doc showed me how and gave me a bag with syringes, etc. in 1965 and again in 1972.
 
 

 
 

1965 Newcastle Team

 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
The Newcastle Team taken at Sheffield by Wright Wood.  Year unknown, can you say what year this was John
Keith Dyer says: The team photo in part 5 (Mauger) is 1965.The clue is Brian Craven and Ken Sharples, the only year they rode together was 1965.
John says: Ok Keith I will name the team now, 1965 L to R Mike Parker, Mike Watkin, Russ Dent, Ken Sharples, Goog Allen (absolutely true: my mother called him "Goo Gallen" she wasn't a big speedway fan!) Brian Craven and Eddie Glennon and Ivan Mauger astride his Rotrax 1963 Jap.
 

 
Giffy & Ivan Brough Park Pits Other Two Unknown
 

Courtesy of Dave Gifford

 
John says: Dave Gifford, Mike Watkin (in woolly hat) Ivan Mauger Newcastle 13-9-65.
Giffy has been in touch about this picture.  I named the guy in the hat as Mike Watkin, Giffy says it is not Mike Watkin in the hat but one of the track staff whose name I do not know. The other guy is Ronnie Ferguson, a mate of Ivan's from Edinburgh.
Ivan says: It is Ronnie Allan, not Ronnie Ferguson in the photo with Giffy and I.
I met Ronnie Allan the first time I went to Edinburgh on 22nd April 1963. Ken Cameron from Melbourne boarded with Ronnie and Norrie Allan’s Grandmother. Soon after Ronnie came down to our house in South Manchester for holidays. Later Norrie became my mechanic and did most of the European meetings from 1977 until I retired at the end of 1985. But for any important meetings Gordon was there also. Norrie did the Ivan Mauger 30 year jubilee series in Australia in 1984/85 and New Zealand in 1985/86.  Ronnie later became a SCB referee and still is today.
Cheers Ivan
Kev Ash says:  The guy in the woolly hat is definitely not Mike Watkin.  It is my father Albert Ash. 
John says: Albert Ash is still alive and kicking and I have asked his son Kev for any memories his dad has of his time working at Brough.  Watch this space!
 

 
 
1966 Ivan Still At Newcastle
 
 

 
 

Ivan Gordon Guasco Brian Craven & Dave Gifford

 

At A Packed Old Meadowbank

 

Courtesy of Dave Gifford

 

 
 
Ivan In His Iconic
Speedway Pose
 
 
Ivan Mauger is the only Newcastle rider to date, actually to bring the world title back to Brough Park whilst still a member of the Diamonds he did this in September 1968.  Ivan and promoter Mike Parker had differences that they couldn't settle (not about money), So Ivan's ambitions led him to leave Newcastle at the end of 1968 for a bigger club Belle Vue.  Ivan's Career took off again at BV and he went on to win four more world titles. The rest is as you say "History" and could fill this page all by itself.   
 

 
 

 
 

1967 And Still At Newcastle

 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
Ivan on the winners tractor ride at Belle Vue.  He says: The first photo I am particularly proud of (says Ivan). I was the first ever winner of the Peter Craven Memorial Trophy at Belle Vue in 1967.
 
 
Presentation Of The 1967
Peter Craven Memorial Trophy
 

Courtesy of Ivan Mauger

 
This photo with  Brenda Craven, Peter's widow, was at the first ever Peter Craven memorial and Brenda made the presentations.
 

 
 

1968 And Still At Newcastle

 
 

Fresh faced youngsters Ole Olsen and Ivan Mauger, they went on to dominate world speedway.  Ole was a protégé of Ivan's and when Mauger left the club and signed for Belle Vue Ole stepped forward and filled the enormous gap left by Ivan moving on at the end of 1968.  

 

 
 
Ivan & Giffy At Old Meadowbank
No It Was Coatbridge!
 

Courtesy of Dave Gifford

 

Ivan Mauger chatting to mean and moody Dave Gifford at Old Meadowbank

Peter McCann says: 'Ivan and Giffy at Old Meadowbank' should be Ivan and Giffy 'at Coatbridge'
 

 
 
Ivan's Trophy Count
 
 

More silverware, Ivan after winning yet another trophy, his house must have been full of them

 

 
 
Ivan On His Trusty JAP
 
 

Ivan on his trusty JAP, compression ratio so high it needed two pushers to bump it into life.  I don't know the year or the track  John

Dave Train says: Ivan is at Old Meadowbank

 

 
 

 
 
Ivan Back On Track 2003
 

   

 

These pictures were sent to me by Dave Gifford and show Dave and Ivan and Ivan with Ian Hoskins, they date from 2003.  I presume as both Giffy and Ian live in NZ that the pictures are from a NZ track

 

 
A 1960s Rarity
A Colour Photo Of Ivan
At Brough Park
 
 
Well no! not from the 1960s!  Ivan says: The colour photo was 1975 at Newcastles re-opening, when I did match races with Jimmy McMillian. I put my black leathers on and my Diamonds vest for the occasion. I also got the track record, I think 65secs on a two valve Jawa with narrow rear tyre.
34 years later the average time is 65 seconds and that is with modern machinery (laydown 4 valve technology)  The all time Brough Park track record is 61 Seconds by Sean Wilson, then the track was altered and Kenneth Bjerre clocked 62.1 this is reckoned  to be the current track record.  Kenni Larsen bettered that he did 61seconds in 2010
 

 
 
Ivan Chilling Out Before
Commencing Racing
 
 

 
 
This Is The 1966
Newcastle Team
 

Photo Courtesy of John Robson

 
This is the 1966 team. The riders from memory are:- Mike Watkin, Brian "Pommie" Brett, Alan Butterfield, Ivan Mauger (on bike), Russ Dent, Peter Kelly and someone whose face I just don't recognise! Help me out there someone please. John
Dave Gifford tells me the rider on the far right was Kiwi Graham Coombes Giffy says he sadly passed away some years ago.
Ivan Mauger says he was sitting on Graham's bike in this photo
 
Mike, Alan and Russ were locals and very popular with the fans. Pommie Brian Brett was a Londoner who was signed to cover for an injury to Ivan.  He was so good he was kept on when Ivan returned to action.  I remember him quitting at a relatively young age to concentrate on a big time window cleaning business. Peter Kelly was from the Manchester area. I think and he did a great job for the team. He often beat the best in the world around Brough.  Ivan during this period became the "Match Race" specialist.  He held the Silver Sash and Silver Helmet where he took on the top scoring opponent in every match in a series of match races. Everyone got used to Mauger winning and if he slipped to 2nd once in a match we considered he had had a bad match.
 

 

Picture supplied by Pauline Percival

 

Another shot of the 1966 team with the crowd all around the stadium: left to right: Peter Kelly, Mike Watkin, Brian Brett, Russ Dent and Alan Butterfield, Graham Coombes, Ivan Mauger.

 

 
Giffy Looming Large With His Mate "Sprouts" Beside Him
 
 

 

Ivan Mauger's Newcastle Stats

 
Season Competition Matches Rides Points Bonus Pts. Tot Points      Match Ave        
1963 Provincial League only                              10.70                                                                                                                                                     
1964 PL Northern League & KO Cup 34 142 405 5 410  11.55        
1965 British League & KO Cup 20 79 161 12 173  8.76        
1966 British League & KO Cup 36 158 375 13 388  9.82        
1967 British League & KO Cup 36 166 377 10 387  9.33        
1968 British League & KO Cup 36 160 447 2 449  11.23        
 
Overall  an average of 10.23, amazing considering his injuries.
 

These figures were supplied by my friend Keith Dyer a life long fan and a devotee of cycle speedway too, our cycle speedway website can be found at  Cycle Speedway In the North East

 

 
 

 
 

Mike Watkin, Goog Allen, Alf Wells, Ole Olsen, Dave Gifford, Alan Butterfield with Ivan Mauger on his Bike

 

 
John Skinner says: I enjoyed the few years when Ivan was fit enough to correspond with me. we exchanged dozens of emails.   My websites now contain many comments in Ivan's own words and some of his and Raye's personal photographs. Thank you Ivan and Raye and good luck for the future.
 
To continue Newcastle's Speedway History click 1970's
 
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