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Steve Hislop Remembered
Author Malcolm
Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012 12:12 pm
Steve Hislop Remembered
Hizzy "The Flying Haggis" Hislop

 Hizzy as he was known by friends and fans was a dominant force throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. He was one of a rare, extremely talented breed who could be successful on both the short and the classic road circuits as well as his versatility on 250cc GP bikes through to full blown factory Superbikes.

It's often been said that if everything was right and came together then Steve was the fastest rider in the world. A bold statement perhaps but few who were at Donington Park on an Autumn Saturday afternoon can forget when Steve was the fastest man in the world, beautifully controlling his Monstermob Ducati around the undulations of the Leicestershire parkland circuit to a pole position time that was faster than that achieved by the 990cc MotoGP elite just two months earlier.

That weekend was concluded in the best way possible with Steve finally lifting the BSB Champions Trophy, it was a result that delivered 100% adulation.

The events of twelve months before and also just days after the championship crowning moment demonstrated the dramatic flip side, the rock bottom bad luck. In September 2001 all eyes were focused on the latest instalment of the Hislop vs Reynolds championship battle taking place at the newest circuit on the BSB calendar, Rockingham. A collision just after a restart from a safety car period with Steve clipping the rear of his rival saw him go down heavily sustaining a season-ending ankle injury. It was history repeating itself as yet again a strong campaign had been thwarted by injury just as it had been twice in the previous three years.

With the 2002 championship wrapped up, for once you would have assumed that the following years ride was a given, but controversially the championship-winning Monstermob Ducati team elected to go with the young rising star Shane Byrne and once again Hizzy was left in the wilderness with all the other major rides allocated. A late deal with Rob McElnea's Virgin team saw the number 1 plate stuck to a Yamaha. The rich form of previous years' successes on the Cadbury's Yamaha couldn't be repeated and team and rider parted company in July.

What now for the Hawick rider? A deal was agreed with fellow Scot Alistair Flanagan to complete the season on an ETI Ducati, it was a prospect to relish. Hizzy was back on a Ducati that suited him so well and the upcoming round of the BSB Championship was at the majestic Oulton Park, a real riders circuit that Hizzy excelled at.

As history records it wasn't to be. The news filtered out to the racing world, who were still reeling from the death of TT hero David Jefferies just a few weeks previously, that Steve had been lost in a helicopter accident. Most people would have frankly been happy to see the 2003 season curtailed at that point, it was almost too much. But it was at a somber Oulton Park that the paddock reconvened and the sole topic was Hizzy and what he meant to all those who respected him.

The iconic white Abus Norton TT winning bike was hastily transported from the National Motorcycle Museum to be displayed in pit garage number one. Under the cover of darkness Hizzy's pit header board was handed over from the Yamaha team. Emotions were high and it was to the background of Braveheart music that his young protege Stuart Easton rode the white Norton for a lap of honour on raceday and also to inaugurate the section of circuit called Hizzys. Ironically and in retrospect the naggery right/left flick was probably the type of corner that Steve didn't like.

Thanks for the memories Hizzy.

Stuart Higgs

BSB Series Director

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