Danny “Magoo” Chandler died May 4th as a result of illnesses related to paralysis. The Hall of Fame rider was 50 years old.
The Sacramento, California native was known for his wild style and wide-open charge. Magoo was a fan favorite from the time he turned professional in 1976. His first real success came with a top-10 finish in the 1981 125cc Motocross Nationals.
He signed with factory Honda in 1982 and began the biggest year of his career. Perhaps the most memorable victory was claiming the U.S. 500cc Motocross Grand Prix. Besting the Europeans at Carlsbad Raceway that day notched his name in the history books. He furthered his international fame by winning every 250cc moto at the ’82 Trophies des Nations in Germany, and every 500cc moto at the Motocross des Nations in Switzerland – the only rider ever to achieve the feat. He also won the ABC Wide World of Sports Superbikers race, which was essentially the first event of what we now call Supermoto.
Magoo went on to finish third in the AMA 500cc series in ’83 but suffered through ’84 with injuries. He switched to the World Motocross Championship in 1985, ultimately settling with an Italian Kawasaki team, but a crash at the Paris Supercross in December of 1985 left him paralyzed.
Following the accident, Chandler embarked on a mission to help spread motorcycle safety, particularly to young riders. Other endeavors included race promotion for mountain bikes and cooperation with the DARE drug awareness program.
The industry has been hard at work to provide Danny with a specially equipped vehicle to make it easier for him to travel and conduct his seminars. The Danny Magoo Chandler Van Fund was completed and the project finalized on May 4, the same day as his death.