Although former motocrosser Danny “Magoo” Chandler passed away just days before he was due to be presented with a custom Sprinter van that would have been specifically adapted to his needs, his legacy lives on.
His friend Chris Carter, founder of Motion Pro, purchased the van and Danny’s daughter Kayleigh directed that all the proceeds go to the Wings For Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation.
“We wanted all the folks who donated so generously to get the van ready for Magoo to know that the money didn’t just get pocketed or swallowed up in ‘administrative’ fees,” says legendary Brad Lackey.
America’s first GP champ and his wife Lori had been spearheading the effort to get Magoo this van. “Unfortunately Danny passed away before we could deliver the van to him.” In fact the Sprinter had been purchased and was in the process of getting modified to hand controls so that Chandler would be able to drive himself to his motocross schools and safety clinics when he passed away at age 50 on May 4, 2010.
“Although we weren’t able to give Magoo his van, we felt that Wings For Life was a great cause for the fund to support and that is the way his daughter wanted it.”
“Danny Chandler was my friend and a great champion and we are proud to honor his memory,” says multi-time world motocross champ Heinz Kinigadner. “Kini”, who co-founded the Wings For Life charity with Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateshitz in 2004, has a particular affinity for racers and athletes who have suffered from spinal cord injuries. “The tragic outcome of the accident suffered by my son Hannes at a charity race in the summer of 2003 showed me quite plainly the lack of medical resources for treating spinal cord injuries, along with the limited progress being made in the related scientific field.”
“I had so much respect for Brad Lackey as a racer and now we have reconnected through Wings For Life as a result of this generous donation in behalf of the Magoo Van Fund. This will make a big difference for Wings For Life because 100% of every dollar donated goes to important spinal cord injury research,” said Kinigadner.
In November of 2009, seven-time National Motocross and Supercross Champion Bob Hannah had also issued a $100,000 challenge to the motorcycle industry to help Brad and Lori Lackey’s effort. “The response to Bob’s challenge was overwhelming, and we had to make sure the donations went to the right cause,” adds Lackey. “It makes me proud to be a part of this industry and to know that Magoo’s legacy will live on with Wings For Life!”
The funds that were to have been used to purchase and outfit the special needs Sprinter van for the fallen hero will now go to benefit the search for a cure to paralysis worldwide. “This is fitting since Magoo was as big a hero overseas as he was around his Northern California home,” says Lackey. Mr. Magoo endeared himself to the entire motorcross world when he won all four motos of the 1982 Motocross des Nations and Trophee des Nations in Europe. Closer to home, he also captured the 500cc USGP and won the Superbikers crown in 1982, both broadcast nationally on ABC TV, further cementing the legend of Magoo in the eyes of fans around the world.
To learn more about the Danny Chandler Van Fund visit www.BradLackey.com.