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APRIL 16, 2018: Ivan Mauger OBE MBE, the most successful and decorated solo racer ever, died on Australia's  Gold Coast this morning, aged 78.

Winner of 15 world titles and hundreds of international events, the Halberg New Zealand Sportsman of the Year in 1977 and 1979 and four-time NZ champion enjoyed celebrity status in more than 30 countries.

Following his retirement to Queensland in 1987, Mauger was actively involved as a promoter of and consultant to many events, including the staging of the New Zealand International Long Track Grand Prix in New Plymouth in 2003 and 2004.

He had been co-organiser of speedway's 1982 World Final in Los Angeles and later ran many solo and long track meetings in Australia 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 in the hopes of emulating world title-winning predecessors Ronnie Moore and Barry Briggs.

Initially he experienced two testing seasons there, followed by four years honing his skills in Australia, before 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, Australia, on Friday 27 April at 11.30am.

Words by Martin Rogers

Mauger was inducted into the Motorcycling New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2004.


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