In my 50 years of motorcycling I have never seen or ridden with a more naturally talented rider than Danny “Magoo” Chandler. He didn’t need any training or practice, just a bike that had fuel in it’s tank. He rode his whole career being chastised for his flamboyant freestyle of riding. It wasn’t something he consciously tried to do, it was the only way he knew to ride. He was constantly told over and over again by the factory corporate power brokers, team managers and factory mechanics not to go “faster” but to actually go “slower. I was an eyewitness to the most charismatic rider in American Motocross history and his fantastic abilities. There wasn’t any bar to bar racing again “Magoo” He either disappeared out of sight or crashed his brains out. He rode in his own “Space and Time” He never reached his limits riding because he didn’t have any. He was only limited by the equipment available at the time. Virtually, all of today’s current riding techniques can be directly traced back to “Magoo” Double Triple one handed jumping, front wheel landings, giant tailwhips, driving deeper braking later, completely broad sliding railing through corners, riding off the front to of the bike, charging in the attack position, standing on the pegs on the power, dragging frames tubes through corners and off jump faces (Scrubbing) at the time wasn’t very productive to collecting Championship points. His spectacular wide open style showed the world a new “hard” way of riding. Without “Magoo’s” deviation form the norm, progress was not possible. He single handed changed riding as we all know it. He even raced across the finish line riding backwards at an AMA/FIM event, much to their dismay, winning both motos. He never even spoke of his gifted abilities on a motorcycle. But if you really knew him as family, he’d rather gone “fishing”. Danny valued his freedom of expression more than any championship. He often referred to us as a “Band of Gypsies”. It meant more to be “Magoo” than an AMA paper champion. You can’t blame the original “originator” for that. His personal impact on the worldwide sport of motocross far exceeds any number of race victories or championships one might acquire. He rode in total belief in himself, without fear, and always laid it on the line. He simple stands alone on the top of Mt. Motocross.
I was blessed to have become best friends with a true American sports hero. Danny suffered more than any man I’ve ever known. I slept beside him many a night praying to God to just let him sleep (Tossing, turning, moaning, groaning etc.) You have no idea of how he had to live. I took care of him from head to toe. Some people would say “How can you do that?” and I say “How can I not do that?” He took the shot right on the chin, but got up wheelchair and all and came back for more. Nobody took the kind of risks he did and he paid the price. But he never complained. His courage and fearlessness went way beyond compare. Only “Magoo” could have pulled that off. The motorcycle industry turned their back on him, then hung him out to dry.
I don’t appreciate the way my brother was treated and it still hurts today. They didn’t want him around. They didn’t want to employ him. They didn’t want the young kids to see what can happen to a rider ready and willing to let it all hang out. He should have been treated like that national treasure that he was. His knowledge and riding wisdom will never, I repeat NEVER be replaced. He had so much more to give to us all. The AMA should have hired him on the spot, with a full salary, handicap van and assistant, as rider representative and race course Field Marshall as well as permanent member on the Board of Directors. I can never place any rider of any decade above “Magoo”, it just won’t happen. Danny, I can only hope you knew how much I loved and respected you. Thanks for sharing it all with me. RIP. It was truly a Golden (Red ) Voyage!!
Skunk Blood Brother