A school boy motocross rider from 1982 through 1989, and was voted Rider of the Year in season 1986-87. Hodgson made the leap to road racing on Easter Sunday 1990 at the meeting at Langburgh, on a Yamaha TZR125. His first win was at the Three Sisters meeting in that same year. He came 8th in his first season in the British Clubman’s Ministock.
In 1992 he moved to the 125cc International Supercup, and became British National 125cc Champion aged 18. He was then selected to compete in the FIM World 125cc Championship as the youngest rider in the series and Britain’s only representative in the class with Team Burnett, placing 24th in the Championship. In 1994 he was selected by HRC as one of only five officially supported riders in 125cc World Championship with Team Burnett. He took part in two 500cc World Championship races for the Harris-Yamaha team.
MotoGP and WSB: the first attempt
In 1995 he moved full time to 500cc World Championship with WCM, developing a reputation for being a smooth but impetuous rider who crashed a lot - he came 11th in the Championship. For 1996 he moved to Superbikes with Ducati, and this began a frustrating three-year spell in the series. Fellow Lancastrian "King" Carl Fogarty was at the height of his powers, with 9th Hodgsons best championship finish
For 1999 he returned to the British Superbike Championship with GSE Racing, and spent the season re-establishing himself on a superbike and regaining his confidence. His team mate at GSE racing Troy Bayliss took the British Superbike title. 2000 saw one of the most titanic battles British Superbike had ever seen as Hodgson battled Chris Walker who was riding the Suzuki, all season long. Hodgson clinched the title at the final round at Donington Park when in the final race with only a few points in it Walkers Suzuki's Engine blew gifting the title to Hodgson. He also won two of the World Superbike Races that year one at Donington Park and one at Brands Hatch. The most memorable race of Hodgson's British Superbike title winning year was at Oulton Park when he ended up starting at the back of the grid, he ended up winning the race in breathtaking style much to the amazement of the British crowd and his fellow competitors.
Return to WSB
GSE Racing stepped up to the World Superbike series full-time for 2001, with Hodgson joined in the Ducati satellite team by up and coming English rider James Toseland. Hodgson was a race winner and 5th overall that year, while in 2002 Bayliss and Colin Edwards were dominant, although Neil took pole positions en route to 3rd overall. After both Bayliss and Edwards left for MotoGP, Hodgson became the number one rider for the works Ducati team in 2003, winning the title against team-mate Ruben Xaus
Return to MotoGP
For 2004 both Hodgson and Xaus went to Ducati's second-string MotoGP team, Team D’Antin Ducati. But the power delivery of the Desmosedici was extreme compared to a WSB Superbike, and the team had limited sponsorships and funds to run a test programme. Resultantly, Hodgson never felt he had the bike set up like he ever wanted it to be, while Xaus's natural extreme style appeared to get more out of the machine. Xaus ended up as rookie of the year, while a disillusioned Hodgson came 17th in the championship
Hodgson at the time vowed never to return to MotoGP, stating that a combination of age and nationality was now against him, and he would never be offered the best machinery capable of competing let alone winning.
Having shown loyalty to Ducati throughout the experience, the question now was where to place him. Ducati had a works team focusing on making Régis Laconi the next WSB champion, and Hodgson didn't want to return to World Superbike in a satellite team or to British Superbikes. Resultantly, with the stated aim of becoming the first rider all three Superbike titles of British, World and American, he moved to into the less-prestigious American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) championship in the USA for 2005 - he came second to Mat Mladin. Hodgson finished the 2006 AMA Superbike championship in 5th place. As Ducati has pulled out of the AMA Superbike Championship for at least the 2007 season, it is unknown where Hodgson is going to ride for the 2007 season. It is believed that he is looking for a ride in the World Superbike Championship.
Hodgson is married Kathryn with one daughter, Hollie-Jean. The family live in Onchan on the Isle of Man. His hobbies include motocross, trails and mountain biking