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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 21:10 GMT 22:10 UK
Bike world mourns Hislop death
Steve Hislop on his Yamaha
Hislop won his second British title last season

British Superbike champion Steve Hislop has died in a helicopter crash in the Scottish Borders.

Hislop, who was a Scot, was 41 and had won the British Superbike title in 1995 and 2002 and also won 11 races at the Isle of Man TT.

His helicopter came down at a remote farm near Teviothead, off the A7 close to Hawick.

He was understood to have been visiting friends living in the area when the accident happened.

Inspectors from the Department of Transport's air accident branch have been sent to the crash site to try to determine what caused the helicopter to come down.

A post-mortem examination is also expected to be carried out on Mr Hislop's body.

Lothian and Borders Police were alerted to the accident at 1650 BST, but a spokesman said it may have happened earlier in the day.

It is understood the aircraft may have been travelling from the south of England.

You would hardly know it was a helicopter unless you knew what had happened
John Hepburn,
Farm worker
Firefighters and other rescuers have had to use a four wheel drive vehicle to get from the A7 road to the scene.

The helicopter is believed to have come down on moorland, leaving wreckage scattered over a wide area.

Pat Douglas, 47, said her husband Walter, 51, had come across the crash scene while tending livestock.

"We didn't see or hear anything really. We heard a helicopter buzzing around earlier today but we were not aware that anything was untoward until later," said Mrs Douglas.

Steve Hislop factfile
1962: Born in Hawick, Scotland, on 11 January
1990: Claims British 250cc title
1994: Wins Isle of Man TT
1995: Clinches British Superbike championship
2000: Breaks neck during championship round at Brands Hatch
2002: Fights back to take second British Superbike title

She said Caerlanrig farm was the nearest inhabited building to the scene of the accident.

"We are about half a mile from where the crash happened."

Farm worker John Hepburn, 18, from Teviothead, who saw the crash scene said: "The main body of the helicopter was on top of a bank and the tail was below, next to a burn.

"You would hardly know it was a helicopter unless you knew what had happened."

Map of crash site
Hislop was a regular race winner but suffered two horrific accidents which would have ended a lesser rider's career.

In 2000 he broke his neck at Brands Hatch while a year later he was within touching distance of another title when he crashed into title rival John Reynolds at Rockingham.

He ploughed into the concrete retaining wall at terrifying speed and suffered a badly broken leg, ankle and collarbone, costing him the title.

Hislop, who was born in Hawick, was a popular face at racetracks around the country.

Nicknamed 'Hizzy', he enjoyed wild card appearances in World Superbikes and regularly upset the international stars on home turf.


SEE ALSO:
Hislop sacked again
07 Jul 03  |  Motorbikes
Hislop aiming to retain his title
05 Feb 03  |  Motorbikes
Hislop vows to return
23 Oct 02  |  Motorbikes


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