Hodgson went back to the UK to revive his racing career where it started, but an injury at the first round derailed his plans.
Former World Superbike Champion, MotoGP rider and AMA Superbike competitor Neil Hodgson announced retirement today after re-injuring his shoulder in a crash at the Brands Hatch round of the British Superbike Series. Hodgson had originally hurt the shoulder last year in a motocross training accident in Southern California, basically ending his ’09 season while riding for Corona Honda here in the AMA Series. He was able to come back for the last couple rounds but was never 100%.
After not securing a ride in the U.S. for 2010, the likeable Brit returned to his homeland to ride for Rob McElnea’s Motorpoint Yamaha team in British Superbike. Unfortunately that was short lived, as he highsided at the opening round of the series and landed directly on his bad shoulder.
“To be honest I’m still pretty shell shocked from Brands,” Hodgson said in a release. “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 land straight on my shoulder! I knew it was bad, I have lived with it all last year and got to understand the level of weakness and recovery. I had more work to do but was really happy with the progress, riding the bike was the best therapy but also the biggest risk.
The likable Brit found a home racing in the U.S. for the past several seasons and as a result has quite a large American fan base.
“I am gutted obviously, I had a plan to come back to the UK and have some fun with Rob and his team. It will take time for me to come to terms with this, but it is the right decision.” The 36-year-old Isle of Man resident came to this conclusion after seeing a shoulder specialist in Manchester, England.
Originally optimistic that he could return to racing, he added: “My shoulder will get back to probably 90% over the next couple of years so I will be able to have a normal life, just not one with racing involved.”
Hodgson was the 2000 British Superbike Champion and 2003 World Superbike Champion. He also rode a Ducati in MotoGP and was a podium-finishing AMA Superbike rider in the latter part of his career.