Saturday, November 22


IT HAS been a long time coming, but finally the autobiography of four times world champion Hugh Anderson is on its way from the printers.

Simply titled 'BEING THERE', the book tells the untold story of how a farm boy from Ohinewai made it to the big time.

He won four world championships on 50cc and 125cc Suzukis, at the dawn of the Grand Prix two-stroke era, and with 25 Grand Prix wins and 47 podium positions was, at the time of his retirement, the sixth most successful rider in the history of the world championship series.
Then he went on to help Suzuki develop the motocross bike that delivered it more world titles.  And if that was not enough,  Anderson went on to finish in the top four in over 40 European international motocross events. 
During the three years following his return to New Zealand at the end of 1969, he won 19 National and North Island off-road championships before retiring at 37 years of age.
During the late 1970s and 1980s,  Anderson was a leader in setting up the highly successful New Zealand Classic Motorcycle racing register.  Then in the 1980s, he was the first former Grand Prix star to compete in the fledgling Classic racing movement, finally being crowned “unofficial world classic champion” by the press.
During the 1990s he returned once more to Classic racing, on this occasion riding the same 1961 500cc Manx Norton he had purchased new on Wednesday, May 17, 1961 -  and first used to win a major International event at Tubbergen, Holland the following Monday.  On this Dave Kenah-prepared, now Kevin Grant owned Norton,  the now 63-year-old Anderson finished runner-up in the 1999 Australian Championship - beating the legendary twice World 500 Champion Barry Sheene - some 16 years his junior.
In January 2008 riding the same Norton, Anderson beat the current and twice Australasion champion on two occassions and made his fastest ever lap  at the Pukekohe race track.  At the time, believe it or not, he was 72 years old. 
This amazing book takes you inside the mind of one of the toughest, determined and most analytical riders ever to compete in world championships.
BEING THERE is available through this website
Or you can get a copy direct from the man himself:  Hugh Anderson, Tel +64 7 853 2711.  Or email  

Friday, November 21


Lift off! Royal Enfield's sales are going through the roof. 
(Photo: Geoff Osborne).
ROYAL Enfield, the Indian-based manufacturer of a range of air-cooled single cylinder motorcycles, is enjoying quite a resurgence.

For the month of September 2014, sales were up a staggering 65 per cent on September 2013, with no less than 28,020 units moved compared with 17,005 in September 2013.

By far the bulk of these sales were into the domestic market in India, where, contrary to the belief of the die-hard worshippers of the old iron-engined Bullets, the new all-alloy unit construction engine (UCE) has helped lift sales enormously since its introduction in 2010.

At the time of the UCE's introduction, there were predictions doom from the die-hards, who lamented the loss of a kick-starter, the phasing out of the old iron engine (which could trace its roots back to the 1950s) and what they claimed was the lack of 'thump'.

Fortunately, Royal Enfield management paid no heed to these people, and has increased production every month since.  In fact, demand was so strong it had to build a new factory at Oragadam, which came on stream in April last year.

But now that is starting to look stretched so it has bought another 50 acre site in Oragadam, 10 kilometres from its 18-month old plant.  There is still some production going on at the original Tiruvottiyur plant, which began assembling Royal Enfields in 1956 and by 1962 was building complete motorcycles.

Between the two existing plants, the company expects to build 300,000 motorcycles this year, and is predicting sales of 400,000 in 2015.

To put that in perspective, in the first nine months of 2014, the four Japanese manufacturers combined produced just 378,172 units in Japan, combined.

An all to familiar sight with the old cast iron engined Royal 
Enfields, something owners of the UCE powered bikes
no longer have to worry about.
The all-alloy UCE powers all current
Royal Enfield production.
Honda and Suzuki's production was down while Kawasaki and Yamaha recorded strong gains in the January - September period.  Honda made just 90,202 motorcycles in Japan in the first nine months of 2014 while Suzuki made 76,040. 

For the first nine months of 2014, Royal Enfield made 214,000 units.

And in October, its sales jumped again, up 47 per cent on October 2013, to 26,039 units.

Europe's biggest volume manufacturer, KTM, made just 107,000 units in 2013, and used more than ten different engines across that range.

Royal Enfield has just one engine, the all-alloy UCE, which is made in 350 and 500cc versions. This powers all 11 models in the Indian company's range. (Click here to view).

According to Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director and CEO of Eicher Motors Ltd., Royal Enfield’s parent company, it is the rise of the Indian middle class that has driven demand for its bikes through the roof.

In 2010, Royal Enfield sold 50,000 motorcycles.  By 2012, the number had doubled to 100,000—which led to the building of the new state-of-the-art factory at Oragadam.

Sales in 2014 look set to triple those of just two years ago.

Royal Enfield's Continental GT has added some extra dash to the Indian company's image.

Friday, November 7


For the past 12 years Kiwi Rider has been running annual tours to the Australian rounds of the Superbike World Championship (February) and the MotoGP championship series (October).

It has been a while since we ran a tour for motocross fans.

It’s not that we haven’t been thinking of you: it’s just that we haven’t been able to put together a package that seemed all that interesting.

Until now.

How about this:

Three nights in Honolulu
Three nights in San Francisco
A night on the Queen Mary
A night in Morro Bay
Two nights in Las Vegas

In addition to the laid-back time on the beaches of Honolulu there will be time for a good look around San Francisco, with visits to Alcratraz, time to visit the vineyards of the Napa Valley and all the other attractions of San Francisco.

For those really keen petrol heads we have lined up some Classic American cars for a two day cruise on the Pacific Coast (Highway One), then we hit the road to Las Vegas, stopping off at Chapperal Motor Sports in San Bernadino before visiting Big Bear Lake, Twentynine Palms and then spending time on the Grand Canyon
South Rim.

Then it’s on to Vegas for the Monster Energy Supercross final.