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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July, 2003, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Hislop: True grit, truly gifted
By Sophie Brown

Steve Hislop, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday at the age of 41, was a British motorcycling legend.

The Scot had been one of the mainstays of the British Superbikes circuit in recent years, winning the title twice.

STEVE HISLOP: 1962-2003
Steve Hislop
Born: 11 January 1962
Died: 30 July 2003
Career highs:
1990: British 250cc championship
1989-94: Won 11 Isle of Man TT titles
1995 & 2002: British Superbike champion
2001: Third in World Superbikes race at Donington
Career lows:
2000: Broken neck
2001: Broken leg, ankle & collarbone
2002: Dropped by MonsterMob Ducati despite having won British Superbikes title
2003: Sacked by Virgin Mobile Yamaha
While other riders saw the domestic series as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, "Hizzy" stuck with British Superbikes, making only the occasional foray onto the world stage as a wildcard rider.

His record shows he had just one podium finish in the World Superbike Championship, but this was more down to his outdated machinery rather than any lack of talent, which he had in spades.

On his day, Hislop was one of the most gifted riders to sit astride a motorbike and but for a lack of consistency would surely have claimed a hatful of British Superbike titles.

His career was hit by several setbacks - including two serious accidents - but his overwhelming desire to compete ensured he always fought back.

His brutal natural talent was honed on the Isle of Man, where he won 11 TT titles before quitting the road for the track in the shape of the British Superbike Championship.

The Hawick-born rider won the title at his first attempt in 1995 and immediately became one of the big names in the domestic series.

He was expected to dominate for years to come but instead found himself playing second fiddle to a string of young guns who were passing through on their way to the world stage.

But Hislop's indomitable spirit ensured he never gave up hope of recapturing his British title.

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

Steve was known in the industry as a flawed genius
Steve Parrish BBC commentator

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

But he bounced back to win a second championship last year, only to be dropped by his MonsterMob Ducati team.

He began this season with Virgin Mobile Yamaha but things did not work out and at the time of his death, he was set for a new start with ETI Ducati.

There was also tragedy in his personal life - his father, who had given him his first racing bike, died of a heart attack when Hislop was 17, and just three years later, his brother was killed while racing.


SEE ALSO
Tributes pour in for Hislop
31 Jul 03  |  Motorbikes
Hislop's career in pictures
31 Jul 03  |  Photo Galleries
Bike world mourns Hislop death
30 Jul 03  |  Scotland



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