Inducted into MNZ Hall of Fame: 2005
Hugh Anderson first rode a motorcycle on his mother’s farm when he was nine. At 12, he was riding his older brother’s bike; at 14 he rode a motorbike to school in Huntly; at 17 he rode in his first dirt bike event with a self-built bike, winning every race with the same determination that was to take him to many victories; and by 20 years of age, he was doing the same in road races.
After winning a host of races and national titles at home in New Zealand and three British titles, Anderson went on to claim four World Championships on 50cc and 125cc Suzukis. He won the 125cc World Championship in 1963 and 1965 and the 50cc world title in 1963 and 1964.
He would start 68 World Championship races in his career, winning 24 of them and gaining 48 podiums along the way, before retiring from road racing in 1966 after the Japanese Grand Prix, much to the Suzuki factory’s surprise.
Anderson returned to racing off-road bikes. He was offered a contract by Suzuki to race their motocross machines, which he turned down, choosing instead to be a development rider for the factory. He subsequently decided to take on the international motocross circuit in Europe riding CZ machines, finishing in the top four positions in over 40 races. He continued at home in New Zealand and was a top racer and multiple-times New Zealand Motocross Champion before retiring in 1973 aged 37.
He soon returned to racing, however. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Anderson was one of the team who would set up the New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register. He continued to ride in many road race events around New Zealand on a Ken McIntosh Vincent motorcycle. He also raced classics in Holland and Australia, taking a number of wins.
In 2008, Anderson set his fastest ever lap around Pukekohe race track – at age 72. He published his autobiography ‘Being There’ in 2014 and lives in Hamilton with his wife of many years, Janny.
Prepared for the MNZ Hall of Fame by Ian Dawson, Fast Kiwi Media