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Last Updated: Monday, 16 June, 2003, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Steve Hislop forum
Steve Hislop in action at Silverstone in March on his new Yamaha bike
The current British Superbike champion joined BBC Sport to answer your questions.

The 41-year-old has enjoyed a distinguished career, including domestic Superbike titles in 1995 and 2002 and the British 250cc crown in 1990. He also won 11 races at the Isle of Man TT.

Hislop's career has not been without incident with 2000 seeing him involved in a high speed crash at Brands Hatch that saw him break his neck.

This season has so far proved to be more challenging than last with the rider languishing in eighth place in the standings after 10 rounds.



Is the R1 a championship-winning bike?
Sharon Killick, Cambridge

Not at the moment. It's been hard work up to now. The first four or five rounds of the season were a big learning curve for me. But things are starting to improve now. We've altered the injection of the whole system on the bike and from this weekend at Brands Hatch I'm expecting a lot better from it. Fingers crossed.


Motorbike racing has changed a lot over the years. Do you think it's improved or got worse?
Nicki, Gosport, Hampshire, UK

It's far more open. There's a bigger and wider audience now and the sport is far more accepted. Motorbikes used to have a Hell's Angels image but now there's a far better audience.

But at the same time I think it's also become more of a business. It's become a bit more ruthless and the sport side of it has disappeared. But it's still good for the industry as a whole.


Of all the riders you have raced against, who have been the hardest to beat and ride against?
Steven Wooldridge, Coventry, UK

In the early days definitely Carl Fogarty. He was my main rival. Carl was so determined, even though his bike wasn't always set up properly. He'd ride even if the wheels were square! Such determination.

In the later years it was probably Neil McKenzie. He was the complete package; the perfectionist. His bike was always set up right and he was very fit. The other one would be John Reynolds. There have been some great rivalries over the years.


How does your Yamaha compare to the Ducati?
Oliver Dillon, London

It's hard to compare. Within the rules the Ducati is basically a twin cylinder with full tuning. Everything is available to that engine.

Whereas the way they've made the rules the 1000cc cylinders are very restricted. They're pretty much a standard road engine with cam-shaft modifications.

At the moment it's quite a fair formula, but I think the edge just lies with the Ducati.


Hi Hizzy, as I'm an enormous fan of the TT, is it likely that you will ever race on the famous TT circuit? I would especially love to see another Hizzy/Foggy battle.
Martin Smith, Barnsley

It would be good Martin but it's never going to happen. I used to have great confidence in my own ability there but things can happen that are out of your control.

After 1994, when the wheels were starting to break and collapse, it was as much as my nerves could take and I never bothered going back.

Even this year when poor old David Jefferies was killed in practice, it's something we believe was out of his control. There was oil on the circuit. So I don't believe I'll ever be back there.


What, if anything, can be done to make the IOM TT safer, especially when considering what happened to the great Dave Jefferies?
Dave Garrad, Leeds, West Yorkshire

As I said, the thing with David was oil on the circuit. It looks like it was maybe caused by poor marshalling at the crucial moment.

David was hurtling along and he had no indication of anything on the circuit. So maybe more professional marshalling on the circuit is the answer.

But that would be hard to provide; it's almost a 40-mile circuit. That would take a lot of cover and a lot of money spent to educate marshals properly. I don't know if that will ever happen.


Have the deaths of David Jefferies and Daijiro Kato affected your career and how you ride your motorcycle?
Jordan Waterhouse, Bradford

No it's never affected me. If you let things like that worry you then you wouldn't - or shouldn't - be getting on board.

We all feel for the families of those two but you have to get on with it. It's our hobby and our career. You just have to crack on.


Hi Steve. Just wondering how long you think you've got left in the game as the season on the new Yamaha isn't going to plan?

Will you give it another season to try and regain your title?
RJ Cowell, IOM

I'd like to get the Yamaha working and I think by next year we'll be much stronger. But at the same time I'm 41-years-old. Every time I get a little knock it takes longer and longer to recover. So I don't know how much longer my enthusiasm will keep me racing.

But it would be nice to think I could give it another year and then call it a day. As long as I'm successful and enjoying it I will continue.


When you eventually retire, what do you think you will do? Do you think maybe a race school, a team owner, or possibly TV coverage? I hope it's not for a long time though personally.
Jon Mercer, N/West

I've not really got any set ideas or plans. I have dabbled a bit with track days so that's an avenue I could take. That could perhaps lead to a race school.

Or there might be a possibility of working with England on the Superbike teams and advising youngsters.


How do you wind down after a typical BSB race?
Pete Wilson, Essex

Just head home and get back into an ordinary way of life. I tend to just go home and spend time with my two boys. They certainly bring you back down to earth.


Do you anticipate riding World Superbikes in the near future?
Ricky Jones, Burton

No. In the few events I've done, especially at Brands Hatch, it ended in a lot of trauma and disaster for me.

Plus, it costs the teams a lot of money to do these one-off world events, and it's for nothing. It's just for a bit of glory on the day. It's not for any championship points or anything so I'm not really bothered about it any more.


Do you think it is possible to win a Superbike title if you are not riding a Ducati?
Chris Barton, Stockport

At the moment it doesn't look like it, but I think the scales will tip very shortly. The 1000s are starting to develop well and it won't be long before the Ducatis are coming to the end of their run. Definitely.


You've obviously given a lot of pleasure to motorcycle race fans over the years but who did you most admire and enjoy watching as a racer?
Alan Godsmark, Dover, UK

Over the last few years I've really started to take an interest in young Stuart Easton. He hails from Haig, the same as me, and he's one of Britain's best prospects for the future.

Because I've had a bit of influence on him and he's listened to things that I've said, I take a lot of pride in his results.

It's good watching him. Rather than getting revved up watching some old-timer like myself, I enjoy watching Stuart benefit from some input.


Is there anything that you would have done differently in your career if you could go back to the start?
Phil Lloyd-Bushell, England

Definitely. First, I wouldn't have lingered as long riding on the roads

Secondly, I would have had a manager in my earlier years; someone to take care of all the hype and the pushing and promotion. Then hopefully things would have worked out in a different way.


Congratulations to Phil Lloyd-Bushell, Martin Smith and Sharon Killick, who were the lucky winners of signed copies of Steve Hislop's autobiography, Hizzy.





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