How often do you come across an icon that stood the test of time and lived to tell the tale? I believe not quite often. Here’s one such gem in the form of the Jawa DOHC four-valve Speedway racing motorcycle from 1977. An icon in itself, this machine gracing this page has been responsible for bringing back once popular racer written off by most of the experts in that era. Ivan Mauger, who last won the Speedway World Championship in 1972, got a chance to return back to the sport in 1977 aboard this lovely Jawa Speedway racing machine. Mauger, hailing from Christchurch, New Zealand, regarded lovingly as the ‘Galloping Mauger’, holds the honours for being the most successful Speedway racer till date with six Speedway World Championship titles to his name as well as three World Long Track Championships.
Jawa machines ruled the roost back in the days in the Speedway racing series and were only challenged by the new 4-valve heads from Weslake. But the company soon responded with an all-new 4-valve double overhead camshaft engine that pumped out 65 horsepower and in hands of Ivan Mauger it gave him his fifth Speedway Racing World Championship title. Eventually though, Jawa moved to single overhead camshaft configuration as it was simple to produce in large numbers of the road market and also more reliable than the DOHC engines.
Above: Ivan Mauger aboard the Jawa during the 1977 Speedway Racing World Championship. Images via Bonhams
Recalling the winning moment Ivan says, “This time I made a dream start in the re-run and the four laps were almost a formality. Once I was gone not even Olsen or Lee would make any impression on me. Coming off the last corner, I saluted the crowd and felt the emotion wash over me.” His fifth title helped him equal fellow Speedway Racing stalwart Ove Fundin and added another feather to his hat, which he later outdid and recorded his sixth Speedway world title in 1979, again aboard a factory Jawa racing machine. This machine here is a rolling chassis of the Jawa Speedway racer from 1977 supplied to Ivan by the Jawa Company. The engine, internally code-numbered ‘153’, is from one of the five units built by Jawa in September 1976 for the Longtrack Racing Finals. This masterpiece is a must-have in a collector’s fleet and can be sought at the Bonham’s Autumn Stafford Sale.