News 23 Apr 2010

BSB: Neil Hodgson announces retirement through injury

Neil Hodgson has retired from professional motorcycle racing.

Neil Hodgson has retired from professional motorcycle racing.

Former Superbike World Champion Neil Hodgson has announced his retirement from competitive motorcycle racing after finally having to admit that his damaged shoulder will never be strong enough for him to compete at the elite level.

After many months of hard work trying to recover from horrific injuries sustained while training in the USA last season, Hodgson was setting his sights on the British Superbike Championship with Motorpoint Yamaha this season, but after an examination on Wednesday in Manchester by a leading shoulder specialist, it became clear the amount of damage that has been done and also the time scale needed to recover.

“To be honest I’m still pretty shell shocked from Brands Hatch,” Hodgson revealed. “When you start the season you know you’re going to have to take a few knocks but the very first time I slide off I landed straight on my shoulder.

“I knew it was bad as I have lived with it all last year and I understand the level of weakness and the recovery. I had more work to do but was really happy with the progress and riding the bike was the best therapy but also the biggest risk.”

Hodgson returned to BSB in 2010 after a decorated international career, however his return lasted less than one round after his warm-up incident at Brands Hatch Indy’s opening round.

“I am obviously gutted – I had a plan to come back to the UK and have some fun with Rob Mac and his team so it will take time for me to come to terms with this but it is the right decision,” Hodgson continued. “My shoulder will get back to probably 90 percent over the next couple of years so I will be able to have a normal life.

“For all my fans and all the supporters who have been with me over the years I want to thank you. I really am sorry I could not fulfill our plans this season for Rob, the team and all the sponsors, as everyone at Motorpoint and the team have been great and I hope to be part of their success this year.”

The former BSB and WSBK champion started the season as one of the title favourites with the Motorpoint Yamaha team following a successful winter test program as he geared up for the challenge.

Hodgson has been replaced at Motorpoint Yamaha by Ian Lowry.