New Zealand’s Hugh Anderson is one of three inductees into the MotoGP Legends Hall of Fame who will finally receive their honours in 2022, more than two years after they were announced.
Adding Hugh Anderson, Max Biaggi and Jorge Lorenzo to the roster of MotoGP Legends was scheduled to take place at selected rounds in the 2020 MotoGP season, but with the calendar changes and absence of crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided to delay the inductions until it was possible to hold a more traditional MotoGP Legend ceremony – allowing all three the opportunity to celebrate the milestone in the company of family members, friends, and paddock personnel.
Hugh Anderson. 50cc World Champion – 1963, 1964. 125cc World Champion – 1963, 1965.
Although a multiple champion in the small displacement categories, Hugh Andrerson made his grand prix debut in 1960 in the 500cc and 350cc classes, taking a podium on an AJS in the latter.
Known for his distinctive red helmet with a kiwi bird and ‘NZ’ identification, Anderson joined Suzuki’s fledgling grand prix operation in 1961 and served as ‘team captain’ for their entry at that year’s Isle of Man TT.
After riding a range of machines across the 1962 season (picking up his first GP race win with Suzuki at Argentina), Anderson began racing exclusively for Suzuki from 1963 in the 50cc and 125cc classes. That focus delivered immediate results, with a total of eight race wins and both the 50cc and 125cc world championships.
Anderson backed up to win the 50cc World Championship again in 1964, but his most dominant year arguably came in 1965 when he won seven races on the factory Suzuki to easily take the 125cc World Championship. One win and five podiums on the 50cc Suzuki in ’65 saw the Kiwi finish third overall in that class.
When he retired from Grand Prix competition at the end of 1966, Anderson had won 25 races (17 x 125cc, 8 x 50cc) and four world championships – two each in 50cc and 125cc – all achieved on Suzukis.
Anderson, who turned 86 earlier this year, was awarded an MBE for his services to motorsport in 1994 and inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame a year later.
"How I felt when receiving the news? At first, apprehension: do my relatively modest achievements warrant this honour? Will I, can I, do justice to this invitation?” Anderson stated back in 2020.
“Some hours later, I felt a feelgood sensation envelop me. A gratification that, after all this time, the modern world has not forgotten the past and the riders of a very much different era still have some value. A question of the history of our sport being recognised at the highest level. Thank you."
While dates and locations for the induction of fellow 2022 Legends Lorenzo and Biaggi have been confirmed, Anderson’s hasn’t but will most likely take place at Phillip Island as part of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix this 14-16 October.