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Diamonds mourn the passing of a true legend - The Greatest Diamond of them all - Ivan Mauger
Sunday 15th April 2018, 23:48 UK
LAWRENCE HEPPELL
Photo: Steve Brock
News has come through from Australia tonight that Ivan Mauger OBE MBE - the greatest rider to wear the Black and White Diamonds' race jacket, has sadly passed away.
 
For many thousands of residents of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne, many who no longer attend Speedway at Brough, the name of Ivan Mauger is as famous as Shearer, MacDonald and Keegan, so much so was the impact the great Kiwi speedway rider had on the North East club.

Ivan was born in Christchurch, New Zealand on October 4th, 1939 and in 1957 made the trek to the UK, joining up with the Wimbledon Dons but things didn't click and he returned home but having to live in extreme hardship his career started to blossom in his homeland and return to the UK he did, but the vital move came in 1963, when he signed for the Newcastle Diamonds.

In many eyes this was his breakthrough moment when he raced with a huge White Diamond on his chest for the Mike Parker-run Provincial League side and within three years on Tyneside he qualified for his first World Final in 1966 - an event he finished fourth in. He qualified again in 1967 and took the bronze medal.

Ivan remained a Newcastle man 'till the end of the 1968 season - the year he achieved his ambition and took the World Championship for the very first time - as a Diamond - and following this important stage of his career, his club achievements took him to Belle Vue in 1969, Exeter in '73, Newcastle's sister club at the time, Hull in 1978 and back to Exeter in 1984.

The "Galloping Mauger" as he was know to many, won five further World Speedway Championship Gold Medals, in 1969, '70, '72, '77 and finally in 1979 and was runner-up in 1971, '73 and '74, but Ivan also excelled at Long track, winning the World Championship at this discipline in 1971, '72 and 1976.

Yet the great man never forgot his Geordie fans, despite travelling the World many times over, winning major events in dozens of countries, he always had a soft-spot in his heart for the quirky and tricky track we all know and love as Brough Park, returning many times for talk-ins and appearances such as in the Steve Brock photo above taken in Byker in 2010.

Ivan had recently withdrawn from public life suffering ill health and recently was being treated for cognitive aphasia, a communication disorder.

Ivan's passing will no doubt hit many Newcastle Speedway supporters, management and staff hard such was the love and admiration the great man was held in up in our part of the World and everyone at or connected to Newcastle Speedway would like to pass the most sincere of condolences on to Ivan's wife - of over 50 years - Raye and family and friends.

Rest in peace Ivan..... Newcastle's greatest Diamond.

Last Updated: Mon 16 Apr 2018, 00:38 UK
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