Female Speedway Riders – Jacqui Mauger: I had been surrounded by speedway bikes my whole life (interview)
There is no speedway fan in the world who didn’t hear about Ivan Mauger. Hardly anyone knows, however, that his niece Jacqui did also compete in speedway. In an interview for our portal she has told us about her career and successes.
Konrad Cinkowski (Twój Portal Żużlowy): Why did you decide to try speedway?
Jacqui Mauger: I decided to try speedway as I had ridden a motorbike since I was 7 years old and I had been surrounded by speedway bikes my whole life.
– Your uncle was a speedway rider. Did it affect your decision to try it as well?
– I suppose it did somewhat, I didn’t consciously think of it like that but I’m sure he had an influence. Ivan is my Uncle first and foremost, so when he came back to Christchurch it was more about seeing him and my Aunty and listening to their stories from overseas.
– How did your family react for your decision? Was it tough to convince your parents?
– My Dad was ok with me riding, however my Mum was not so sure! She didn’t come to watch me very often as she got a bit nervous. So I told her to stay home.
– Have you ever tried any other sport or there is only space for speedway in your life?
– I played softball and hockey at school level, but that’s all.
– Do you remember your first meeting – as a fan and as a rider?
– Yes I do. My first meeting as a rider did not go terribly well. Everyone had to demonstrate a controlled drop before they were allowed to race. You dropped your bike when the red light came on. So I went out and the red light came on as I was going down the straight, I dropped my bike but it wasn’t pretty! Bent the handlebars badly and couldn’t ride. My first ever meeting I do not remember as I was 3 weeks old.
– Ivan Mauger is one of the legends of the world speedway. How important to you was his support?
– Of course, very important. He would offer tips on setting up my bike and gave myself and the boys many opportunities we do not get any more. We raced longtrack with international riders and followed the troupe around New Zealand for quite a few years.
– In 1993 year, you won the New Zealand Long Track Championship. What other successes can you tell us about?
– I have had placings in a few regional events such as the Canterbury Champs and grasstrack meetings. I was 3rd in the New Zelands' Grasstrack Championship one year. I think the things I am most proud of is becoming the first female to qualify for a national championship and the first female to win one.
– Did you want to be the female version of your uncle? What I mean here is the streak of results and successes.
– No I never set out to do that! This was a hobby for me, not a career.
– Is there any situation from your career that you especially remember?
– There are a few. I remember crashing a lot! I remember qualifying for my first New Zeland Championship and how I couldn’t quite believe I had done it. I remember winning the New Zeland Longtrack Championship and feeling much the same. The really cool thing about the longtrack title is that it is the same event that both Ivan and my cousin Kym have won as well. So it is particularly special to me from that regard.
– Are you interested in women’s speedway from different countries? Do you follow the careers of some female riders?
– Yes, I do but speedway in general, not just female riders.
– Do you know if there are any women speedway riders in New Zealand, even amateurs?
– Not that I’m aware of any more, but a few have had a go over the years.
– Wasn’t your son interested in becoming a speedway rider?
– No, not at all. His hobby is golf.
– You still interested in speedway and you race even now, albeit only for recreation and fun.
– Yes I compete in the occasional meetings but prefer to ride on fun days or practice days now.
– Is there anything that we didn’t talk about but is important to you.
– Looking back, I was lucky to grow up in the era that I did. I attended a training school run by Ronnie Moore which was a great facility not far from Christchurch which we all enjoyed. I had opportunities that you don’t get now such as racing on longtrack, grass and ice as well as speedway. This has all changed now, although we are lucky to have Moore Park speedway, which is an awesome venue and is well run by a few very dedicated members.