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16/06/2024
Ivan Mauger V Britain's Best
Part 3: Malcolm Simmons
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Ivan Mauger V Britain's Best
Part 2: Ray Wilson
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26/05/2024
Ivan Mauger V Britain's Best
Part 1:Nigel Boocock
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06/05/2024
Silver Machine Win Gold
Ivan's Fantasy Island
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02/04/2024
Tidying Up The Parade
NZ v Australia 1980
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24/03/2024
2024 is Off and Running
The Story of Noddy Holder
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28/01/2024
1975/76 NZ v England
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17/12/2023
DVD: Great Races of the 80s
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29/10/2023
Book Review: Walthamstow
When the Rangers Roared
High Beech Revival of 1954
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16/10/2023
Western Springs Winged Wheels
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01/10/2023
Blind Speedway Rider
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Farcical Guest
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17/09/2023
The Ole Olsen Tapes
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Plus Points
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23/07/2023
1974/75 BL V New Zealand
Heat Details Required
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04/06/2023
Northside Arena
 
14/05/2023
Review: Tigers at White City
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19/03/2023
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12/03/2023
NZ v Poland - 1st Test
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15/01/2023
Dream Team : Geoff Langley
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04/01/2023
Gerald Dunn's JAP
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27/12/2022
1975 World Final. Heat 20.
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11/12/2022
Peter Collins Autobiography
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23/11/2022
DVD Review: 70s - A to Z
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Ivan's Fantasy Island
By Tracy Holmes

This story is about Ivan Mauger, World Champion V British League. "Have I got nothing better to do?" Sure, but stuck at home with Covid, I just need a break. Anyway, could be a giggle.

There are Ivan Mauger fans on facebook and British League fans on facebook. And some, both at once. Over the years, I have read many comments that have caught my interest and the following is a result.

We time travel back to 1974. Anders Michanek won the World Final, Ivan second. But he had captained Exeter to win the British League. Yes, this was huge and in the eyes of the Exeter faithful, Ivan bypassed the Vatican and gained Sainthood.

Here is the story. At the end of that season, Ivan goes to Fantasy Island for a holiday. "Da plane, da plane!" Ivan walks along to beach and he sees an unusual bottle in the sand. He pulls it clear, could it be? With a quick rub, wooosh, out comes a real live Genie. "Oh boy" says Ivan, "Do I get three wishes?"

The Genie folds his arms and replies, "eerr no! I'm a specialised Genie and as soon as I was released, time was stopped which allowed me to discover who you are. And this is what I can do for you. I can make it so that you and Michanek swap places at Gothenburg. You will win unbeaten and Mich will be second."

Ivan needs no time for thought, "Oh yes yes yes!"

"Wait" continues the Genie, "This comes at a cost."

"Never mind the cost" says Ivan, "Just do it!"

"But listen Ivan, this is a cost you may not wish to pay."

"Oh go on then, what cost?"

"Belle Vue win the league, Exeter is second."

Skip to an ad break. 'You can't beat a Trumpet' And time for thought. I have seen comments on facebook that would see the story continue;

Ivan does not hesitate, "Oh, in that case no. The very thought is incomprehensible. I mean, from those that hired me, all those loyal fans to the bloke who seeps the floor and makes the tea, I cannot do that to any one of them. I will sacrifice being World Champion. Exeter must win the league. It's no deal."

Genie, "Are you sure? This is a one-off deal of a lifetime."

Ivan, "No, I'm adamant. It's a price I cannot pay. Mich keeps the World Title, Exeter keep the league."

Genie, "As you wish." And with that, wooosh, the Genie goes back into the bottle that Ivan throws into the sea. "What a bloody nerve" thinks Ivan. "As if I would give up the league title for the World Title, what was he smoking?"

Another ad break. 'Huttons Sausages. Aye, when you can get them!' And now for the story to continue as I believe it would;

Ivan does not hesitate, "Deal!"

Genie, "Are you sure? What about all the Exeter faithful? Those that hired you, all those loyal fans to the bloke who sweeps the floor and makes the tea?"

Ivan, "If you know who I am, you know that being World Champion is THE most important thing in my professional world. League racing keeps me fit, focussed and pays the bills, but as I've said before, it doesn't matter if you win nothing else all year, as long as you win the World Final. So lets do this!"

"As you wish" says the Genie and wooosh, he goes back into the bottle that Ivan throws into the sea. Back at the hotel, there is a copy of Speedway Mail on the coffee table. And on the front cover is the podium snap from Gothenburg, but Ivan as the winner with Mich in second. The headline reads, '5 time World Champion Ivan Mauger speaks out regards Exeter losing to Belle Vue' Ivan smiles with content, "Wow, it wasn't a dream and I'm World Champion again. Shame about the league."

Okay, this is just nonsense, or is it? If this story could have happened, which one would you choose? "How about none!" Fair enough. Let's forget all that and do it another way. But first, a word from our sponsor, 'It won't happen over night, but it will happen.'

1979. Ivan won the World Final and is now 6 times Champion of the World. But Hull were second in the league to Coventry. Now let's do that story again. At the end of that season, Ivan goes to Fantasy Island for a holiday. "Da plane, da plane!" Ivan walks along the beach and he sees an unusual bottle in the sand. He pulls it clear, could it be? With a quick rub, wooosh, out comes a real live Genie. "Oh boy" says Ivan, "Do I get three wishes?"

The Genie folds his arms and replies,"eerr no! I'm a specialised Genie and as soon as I was released, time was stopped which allowed me to discover who you are. And this is what I can do for you. I can make it so that Hull win the league. And just to make it more exciting, you win the last match decider at Coventry!"

Ivan needs no time for thought, "Oh yes yes yes!"

"Wait" continues the Genie, "This comes at a cost."

"Never mind the cost" says Ivan, "Just do it!"

"But listen Ivan, this is a cost you may not wish to pay."

"Oh go on then, what cost?"

"You swap places with Zenon Plech at Chorzow. He is the World Champion, you are second."

Skip to an ad break. 'It must be Watties' And time for thought. I have seen comments on facebook that would see the story continue;

Ivan does not hesitate, "Oh for sure. I love being World Champion, it means everything but to give Hull the league title, that would be the icing on the cake. It would make the last two years struggle worth while and reward everyone from those that hired me, all those loyal fans to the bloke who sweeps the floor and makes the tea so yes, let's do it! Wait till Ole Olsen hears about this!"

Genie, "As you wish." And with that, wooosh, the Genie goes back into the bottle and Ivan throws it into the sea. "Oh boy" thinks Ivan. "I've lost the World Title but Hull wins the league, this is a dream come true!" He gets back to the hotel where there is a copy of Speedway Mail on the coffee table. And on the front cover is the podium snap from Chorzow with Plech as the winner and Ivan second. The headline reads, 'World number 2 and Captain of League winners Hull reports from his holiday resort' Ivan smiles with content. "Wow, it wasn't a dream. Hull win the league, shame about the World Title but oh well, can't have everything."

Final ad break. 'Rothmans, real smoking for real people' And time for thought. Seriously? Ivan giving up the World Title for the league? Surely, this is how the story would go;

1979. Ivan won the World Final and is now 6 times Champion of the World. But Hull were second in the league to Coventry. At the end of the season, Ivan goes to Fantasy Island for a holiday. "Da plane, da plane!" Ivan walks along the beach and sees an unusual bottle in the sand. He pulls it clear, could it be? With a quick rub, wooosh, out comes a real live Genie.

"Oh boy" says Ivan, "Do I get three wishes?"

The Genie folds his arms and replies, "eerr no! I'm a specialised Genie and as soon as I was released, time was stopped which allowed me to discover who you are. And this is what I can do for you. I can make it so that Hull win the league. And just to make it more exciting, you win the last match decider at Coventry!"

Ivan needs no time for thought, "Oh yes yes yes!"

"Wait" continues the Genie, "This comes at a cost."

"Cost? What do you mean cost?"

"You swap places with Zenon Plech at Chorzow. He is the World Champion, you are second."

Ivan does not hesitate, "No, out of the question. The World Title is not negotiable, never has been!"

Genie, "But what about all those at Hull? You could make all their dreams come true. Those that hired you, all the loyal fans to the bloke that sweeps the floor and makes the tea. You could give them the dream of a lifetime!"

Ivan, "True but you know me, being World Champion is what I'm in Speedway for and everything else is secondary, everything!"

Genie, "As you wish." And with that, wooosh, the Genie goes back into the bottle and Ivan throws it into the sea. "What the hell kind of Genie was that? Give up the World Title?

What was he smoking?"

Why would that be a certainty? Anyone who knew Ivan, knows without a doubt, that would be the real outcome. The facebook faithful will beg to differ as they stick pins in their Tracy Holmes dolls. But again, I ask, just what made Ivan so 'great'?

He understood that winning the World Final meant 100% focus and professionally, everything else, yes, everything else had to take second place. His World Final record reflected that focus. 14 consecutive appearances that saw him put up the winning score in 7, winning the record 6.

Yes, British League was important. But what came first? Winning the British League or winning the World Final? All true Mauger fans know the answer. And always did. "Smiles everyone, smiles!"

 

This article was first published on 12th May 2024

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