World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson is a man of many talents having won both the British Superbike Championship (2000) and the FIM World Superbike Championship (2003). He has piloted a Yamaha 500cc two-stroke Grand Prix bike for WCM, raced in the US for many years in the AMA Superbike Championship, has taken on racing the Ducati Desmosedici in MotoGP, and has participated in many one-off and special racing events throughout his entire career.
Motorcycle racing is in Hodgson’s blood and he has been very successful at his calling. However, in April 2010, racing fans were treated to news of Hodgson’s retirement from all racing due to an injury sustained in a motocross training accident in the US which did not heal well. This caused him to prematurely end his 2010 BSB season with Motorpoint Yamaha after he aggravated his already damaged shoulder in a get-off at the Brands Hatch opening round.
Though Hodgson will not be coming to a motorcycle road racing venue to compete again, he has not given up on the sport which he so dearly loves. He has taken on an instructor position for track-day organizer Focused Events and will be exclusive to the events organized by them at circuits all across Europe and the UK (yes, it is part of Europe, though many disagree).
It is an arrangement which benefits all who become involved; Hodgson gets to spend time in the sport he loves so much and gets to experience every bit of it through both his and his students’ eyes, and the school’s students have the opportunity to learn from the extensive knowledge of a motorcycle racing Champion. Hodgson had taken a trip to an event hosted by Focus Events before he started his recent return to BSB and was very impressed with the operation.
Focused Events already has other phenomenal teachers on its staff as well. Hodgson joins Niall Mackenzie, Jamie Whitham, Steve Plater, and John Reynolds as some of the members of the track-day instruction team. Some of the circuits where the company hosts events are Portugal’s Portimao, Spain’s Valencia and Jerez, France’s Le Mans, and the UK’s Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch, just to name a few. There is even a rental fleet of middleweight supersport bikes from Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha from which to choose your preferred track weapon while improving your track riding skills.
The new role will be a big change for Hodgson from the days of world championship motorcycle racing, but at least he doesn’t have to deal with the politics and constant pressure of finding sponsorship dollars. In fact, it is likely that he will be quite good at this and students of Focused Events will definitely benefit from their time on the track with him.
The endlessly amicable personality of World Champion Neil Hodgson is a good bet for helping the next generation of motorcycle racers get better at their craft, or purely helping the weekend track-day / canyon carver take his or her skills to the next level.
For more on Neil Hodgson (soon), the Focused Events programs, or the other instructors at the company, take the trip to www.focusedevets.com.
Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com