Last hoorah for Kiwi bike legend
WORLD CHAMPION HUGH ANDERSON REVISITS EUROPEAN TRACK AND FANS
New Zealand multiple former road-racing world champion Hugh Anderson is having his “last big hoorah in Europe”.
Although he won’t be blazing around the famous tarseal circuits from his glory days and beating up the best road-race stars the world could muster, the 80-year-old Waikato man will be continuing to conquer the hearts and minds of his many diehard fans.
Anderson arrives at the Sachenring circuit, near Chemnitz in Saxony, inside the former East Germany, this weekend as a special guest of the promoters at the Sachenring Classic event.
It will be a treasured return to one of his old stomping grounds, the site of many of his Grand Prix victories in the early 1960s.
Anderson won four World Championships on 50cc and 125cc Suzuki motorcycles during the dawn of the Grand Prix two stroke era and, with 25 Grand Prix wins and 47 podium positions, he was, at the time of his retirement, the sixth most successful rider in the history of the World Championship series.
He went on to help Suzuki develop the motocross bike that delivered more world titles. And, if that was not enough, Anderson finished in the top four in more than 40 European international motocross events.
During the 1990s, Anderson turned once more to classic racing, on this occasion riding the 1961 500cc Manx Norton he had purchased new on Wednesday, May 17, that year and won a major international event at the Tubbergen Holland the following Monday.
On this Dave Kenah-prepared, Kevin Grant-owned Norton, Hugh, at 63 years of age, finished runner-up in the 1999 Australian championship, beating the legendary twice World 500cc Champion Barry Sheene who was 16 years his junior.
In January 2008, riding the same Norton, Anderson beat the current and twice Australian champion on two occasions and made his fastest ever lap at the Pukekohe race track near Auckland. At the time he was 72 years old.
He will be welcomed back to Europe this month by up to 50,000 spectators at the Sachenring Classic, many of whom will no doubt purchase his recently-released book Being There.
“It seems that I am the, or at least, one of, the guests of honour. Actually I am happy to be there but if they want to make a fuss that is okay,” Anderson smiled.
“I won for the first time there in 1963 and then won again at Sachenring in 1964,” he recalled.
“I will be arriving in the United Kingdom on June 7 and taking part in and selling books at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, near Chester, on June 12-14 and then travelling to Germany for the Sachenring Classic on June 19-21.”
On July 3-5, Anderson takes part in the major annual Classic Historic event of the year at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
He will be arranging a network of dealers and distributors to market the English version of his book on the trip.
He said only about 60 copies of the book remain in New Zealand from the initial print run, although more will be printed.
Legendary Kiwi bike engineer Ken McIntosh had this comment to offer: “Hugh Anderson helped change my life. An 18-year-old building a methanol-fuelled 1000cc Vincent race bike would be cause for concern for most people, but Hugh was totally supportive of me.
“After reading his book, I can now understand how he saw my youthfulness as being no impediment. He knew all about being young and following a dream.
“Who could ask for a better tutor than a four-times World Champion?”