While I’m sure most of us can’t wait to be rid of 2020, one extremely talented motorcycle racer has even greater reason to look forward to the start of 2021. To ring in the New Year, the U.K. government announces its New Year Honours List at the end of the previous year—and for 2021, none other than road racing legend John McGuinness will receive an MBE.  

Consulting the official list of honors for 2021, the listing next to McGuinness’ name says the award is “For services to Motorcycle Racing [sic].” The man himself spoke to MCN about it, and said the news hasn’t really sunk in yet. You can read the full interview here

Short for “Member of the Order of the British Empire,” the award is one of a trifecta of Orders of the British Empire awards. They’re meant to recognize British citizens making positive impacts in their respective fields. The Orders of the British Empire awards were created by King George V during WWI to recognize people who helped in the war effort, but weren’t on the front lines. The full slate runs like so: Commander of the British Empire (CBE), Order of the British Empire (OBE), Member of the British Empire (MBE). 


Other motorcycle greats to have been so honored during their careers include Joey Dunlop, Jonathan Rea, Dougie Lampkin, Maria Costello, Barry Sheene, Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Phil Read, and David Knight.  

Individuals who are awarded one honor can go on to receive additional honors in coming years, as well. For example, seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton will also be knighted in 2021, and was previously awarded an MBE in 2008—back when he took his very first F1 championship.  

Overall, there are 1,239 New Year Honours 2021 recipients on the list, and the overarching theme of the list is individuals who have gone above and beyond in serving their communities through COVID. Congratulations to everyone who’s worked so hard to bring light and hope to all in these times. 

Photo: John McGuinness on Twitter

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