Vision honours the Maugers' magnificent life
HOME owners at Vision by Halcyon have gained a personal insight into the amazing life of their neighbour Raye Mauger, the wife of six-time world champion motorcycle speedway rider and sporting legend Ivan.
The couple’s incredible journey from regional New Zealand in the 1950s to a rock star-like lifestyle on Europe’s lucrative speedway circuit in the 70s was the focus of the Social Group dinner at the Rec Club in March.
After moving to Vision a year ago, Raye wanted to donate a copy of Ivan’s autobiography The Will To Win to the community’s library.
“I thought it would give other home owners an insight into me and the life I’ve led,” she said.
“I wrote the last chapter of the book because Ivan always said the woman had the last word.”
Raye presented the book and spoke about Ivan’s career during the dinner where one of her husband’s treasured motorbikes and other memorabilia were on display.
She said it was wonderful to spend quality time with her neighbours at Vision.
“Because of the circumstances with Ivan, I haven’t been able to join in on the events and activities, so I really enjoyed and appreciated it.”
In 1957 Raye and Ivan were just-married teenagers when they left New Zealand on a ship bound for England, where Ivan wanted to further his speedway career.
Over the next 25 years or so, Ivan rode for various British speedway clubs, won six individual speedway world championships, three long track championships, achieved nine other world championships and clocked up six mentions in the Guinness Book of Records.
Raye and their three children shared Ivan’s journey by travelling and living around the globe with him.
“He was a very determined person, but I feel the children and myself helped him a lot by always being there for him,” Raye said.
“We were a long way from our own families (in NZ) and we relied on each other.”
Raye said the crowds in Europe were massive with Ivan racing in front of close to 100,000 spectators in Poland at the peak of his career in the 70s.
Young and fearless, Ivan was not one to dwell on the potential dangers of the sport which involved riding bikes without brakes and very little suspension.
“He didn’t think about that, to Ivan it was a job that he enjoyed, and he was lucky,” Raye said.
Considered the best speedway rider ever and a national sporting hero in NZ, Ivan received the MBE and the OBE, was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, and was voted Speedway’s Man of the Millennium in 1999.
To top it off he was selected by the Olympic Committee to carry the Olympic Torch for the Sydney 2000 Games.
Raye, who has been married to Ivan for 61 years, said it was overwhelming how many people she met who had memories of Ivan.
Vision social group committee chairman Ralph Langdon said he was delighted to honour Ivan, who he first met when they were both involved in the Australian speedway scene in Sydney in the 60s.
“He was motivated and always wanted to help others, he once even paid for equipment for one of his opponents,” Ralph said.
More than 70 home owners attended the superb “Mauger dinner”, which was prepared by London-trained cordon bleu chef Eddie Delves and his wife Liz, long-time friends of home owners John and Robyn Zwiers.
John said Eddie had been thrilled to learn the dinner was celebrating Ivan, who he had watched race in the United Kingdom in the 70s.
The Vision Social Group is planning another dinner in May and a Christmas in July feast.