Ivan Mauger’s gold-plated motorbike is sporting new brass-plated chains thanks to the generosity of a New Plymouth motorbike enthusiast.
The new brass primary and secondary chains have been fitted to the bike
Don O’Connor saw the bike was missing its primary chain when he came to visit it in Christchurch. He gifted the Museum two steel chains, brass-plated to match the bike’s gold exterior.
Mauger rode the bike to victory in the 1970 Individual World Speedway Championships in Wroclaw, Poland – the third of his six World Championships titles.
To celebrate the achievement, two American speedway fans plated Ivan’s winning bike in gold, inside and out, at a total cost of US$500,000.
As a former rider and Patron of Speedway New Zealand, Don knew Ivan personally through his involvement in speedway and New Zealand’s motorcycle industry.
Don and wife Glenys founded New Plymouth motorcycle importer Eurobike Wholesale in the 1970s, and before that ran retailer Callender Motorcycles.
The gold bike is on display in the exhibition Speedway King
Among their employees was apprentice mechanic Gary Peterson – a speedway rider who would go on to race in the UK and become good friends with Ivan. Gary died in a racing accident in 1975.
Don hopes the Museum’s Speedway King exhibition will raise awareness of Ivan’s achievements.
“Very few New Zealanders know how important Ivan was as a world-champion sportsman,” he says.