Speedway Workshop

Today in Motorcycle History

The Bikes of Gold

(Pictures and Information Courtesy of Steve Magro in Australia).

Surely, Speedway machines do not come much more expensive than the following machines ......

Steve Magro in Australia recently came across Ivan Mauger's and Ole Olsen's "Bikes of Gold" and kindly took these pictures, together with an insight to the story behind them.

Steve writes ......

In 1970, two men in the USA named George Wenn and Ray Bokelman said that if Ivan Mauger won three world finals in a row at Wroclaw (Poland), they would have the winning bike gold plated. Ivan duly won the World Final that year, and true to their promise, the bike was taken to America and Gold plated, and so was born the "Triple Crown Special."

The machine currently resides at Ivan's home in Queensland, Australia. Looking back on those years, Ivan Mauger said: .....
"There was a seven year period, between 1968 and 1974, when all of the Russians, Poles, Czechs, the Swedes and the British based riders each had the same equipment...the same engines, clutch plates, even the Barum rear tyres.... ...everything was exactly the same, so there was no mechanical advantage."

Not to be outdone, Ole Olsen was to follow in Ivan's footsteps with a similar machine. Steve Magro adds ......

I saw Ole Olsen's gold bike purely by accident when I dropped in to the Hotel Norden in 1991. It was in Haderslev, Olsen's birth place and the town right next to Vojens. It is the bike which in 1971 won Olsen his first of three world crowns, at Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden........

ABOVE: Ivan Maugers machine, whilst Left is the Gold Plated mount of Ole Olsen.

.......It goes one better than Mauger's machine in that both primary chains are gold plated, as well as the fuel tank, clutch cover, rear sprocket, both wheel hubs and axles.

Any wonder the bike is kept inside a glass case!...Unlike the next machine that was recently discovered ....

The Wasson.

Newest addition to this page of yet a third Gold Plated machine was kindly brought to my attention my Mike Neath who supplied both the pictures and the story behind it. Maybe not as perfect as Ivan's or Ole Olsen's, but this machine was actually raced !! Mike tells us....
How are things out your way? I was going through your Workshop web site ( which I do often), It just keeps getting bigger and better. I was going through the gold bike section and it reminded me of a gold bike that was built here in Fresno California.

In 1975 John Wasson built up a 2 valve Jawa to go racing on at our local track in Hanford. He had seen Ivan Mauger's gold bike here in the US and was really impressed. He decided to gold plate his bike. It was not nearly as detailed as Ivan's and Ole Olsen's bikes but this one was a runner and was raced every week.

I wish I had better pictures before a practice track crash took out the pipe, these pictures were taken at the Hanford preseason practice in 1976 after a year of racing was put on it.
The plating was scratched and worn thin in a few places but it was gold plated!! The last I heard was it was in Fresno, hanging on a wall in a gun shop.
Incredible Mike - now I bet that's one guy who did his utmost not to get involved in any kind of spill !!

Well, that certainly was a turn up for the books, but as so often happens with these Pages, just when you think you've wrapped something up - along comes something new to add to the information already gained .......

Bob Andrews.

The chances are (if like me you're into this vintage sort of thing) that you will recall Bob Andrews who was a popular figure on the tracks in the sixties. Well, Bob has kindly emailed me with a couple of pictures that he thought might be of interest ... and they most certainly are. Bob writes ....

My son put me on to your website, I used to ride for Wimbledon in the 60's and also Cradley. I bought a bike that belonged to Bruce Abernathy, who used to ride for Wembley in the early 50s.

I was going to Copper plate it, as it was. But then I thought, what the hell, lets Gold plate it, so I have. Still a bit to do, but you might be able to use this.
Regards Bob Andrews. N.Z.

Many thanks indeed for those shots Bob, and quite an impressive array of vests and trophies in the background as well. So that makes four of these Gold machines in existence, I wonder if there any more tucked away in some safe deposit somewhere. No doubt, sooner or later we will unearth them if they do exist ! 

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