IVAN MAUGER OBE MBE, the most successful and decorated solo racer ever, died on the Gold Coast this morning (Monday, April 16), aged 78.
Winner of 15 world titles and hundreds of international events, the New Zealand sportsman of the year in 1977 and 1979 enjoyed celebrity status in more than 30 countries.
Following his retirement to Queensland in 1987, he was actively involved as a promoter of and consultant to many events, most notably in Australia and New Zealand, as well as being the driving force behind attempts to introduce the sport to Malaysia a few years ago.
After several years suffering from cognitive aphasia, a communication disorder, he passed away at Labrador Gardens care home, survived by Raye, his wife of 61 years, children Julie, Kym and Debbie, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mauger won the world solo title an unsurpassed six times (in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1977 and 1979), was three times world long track champion (1971, 1972, 1976), four times a World Team Cup winner (1968, 1971, 1972 with Great Britain, in 1979 with New Zealand) and twice world pairs champion (1969 and 1970).
Such success did not come immediately. Born in Christchurch, he ventured to England to race as a teenager, experiencing two testing seasons. Then came four years honing his skills in Australia, winning the Victorian and Queensland titles, the Australian long track in 1962, and finishing as runner-up in the Australian solo titles of the same year. He returned to Europe in 1963 and embarked upon what turned out to be an astonishingly productive career.
He was named the sport’s Man of the Millennium by renowned London-based magazine Speedway Star in 2000.
The funeral will be held at the Church of Christ, 1 Griffith Way, Southport, Gold Coast on Friday April 27 at 11.30am.