The most prolific Speedway rider in World Championship history, Ivan Mauger has retired from public life.
Mauger’s management released a statement today stating the 73-year-old 15 times World Champion was suffering from ill-health and wanted to spend more time with his family.
”Ivan Mauger, the most-decorated motorcycle speedway rider of all time, has announced his retirement from public life,” read the statement.
”Because of poor health and a wish to spend more time with his family he has decided he will not be undertaking any further public engagements or media commitments.”
Mauger was considered not only one of the most naturally gifted racers of his generation, but one of the great showmen. He won his first individual World Championship in 1968 and went on to win three in a row. His next was in 1972, then he won the 1977 and 1979 World Championships. He finished second in the Championship on three occasions – 1971, 1973 and 1974 in an era where the World Championship was held over a single day.
His lowest ever finish in the individual World Championships between his debut in 1966 and final appearance in 1979 was eighth at Wembley in 1978. Apart from his six victories and three runner-up placings, he had three fourth positions to his credit.
If Mauger was able to win the 1970 World Championship – his third in succession – a pair of Americans, George Wenn and Ray Bokelman vowed they’d gold plate his bike. Winning the title in Wroclaw, Poland, the bike was shipped to the States to be turned gold. It now resides in the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.
Mauger was a World Longtrack Champion on three occasions in 1971, 1972 and 1976 and runner-up in 1974 and 1975. A twice World Pairs Champion, Mauger also had four World Team Cups to his credit.
His record six titles were only challenged by Sweden’s Tony Rickardsson, who equalled Mauger’s six World Championships before his retirement.
The Kiwi legend was awarded and MBE in 1976 before being admitted to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1989 and was lauded as the greatest Speedway rider of the 20th century.
Born and raised in Christchurch, Mauger remains based on the Gold Coast in Queensland with his family. Up until today’s announcement he has maintained a heavy involvement in the sport.
He’s been instrumental in training and supporting young riders both in Australia and around the world. In more recent times, he had been behind a push to introduce speedway into Malaysia.
The Buckley Systems New Zealand Speedway Grand Prix will be held this weekend at Springs Speedway in Auckland.