Rider Of The Week puts the spotlight on a famous rider and we’re looking into the career of Steve Hislop. Hislop was a bonafide biking legend, claiming eleven victories at the Isle of Man TT. He also won what many consider to be the greatest TT race in history when he competed against rival Carl Fogarty in 1992. In 2003, he tragically lost his life in a helicopter accident, but his career speaks for itself.
Born into a close, Scottish Borders family, Hislop was encouraged by his father Sandy to enjoy motorbike racing. Hislop became an avid Jimmy Guthrie fan and he and his brother Gary started racing together. Unfortunately, Gary was killed in a racing accident at Silloth circuit in 1982. This affected Hislop deeply and it led to a stint of depression.
Hislop overcame his depression and started training. In 1983, he finished second in the newcomers’ race at the Manx Grand Prix. This carried resonance because his brother had won it the year before. Hislop competed in his first Isle of Man TT in 1985. In 1989, he was the first rider to lap the TT course at over 120 mph.
TT success came in 1992 when he rode a Norton to victory. It could be argued that this was the defining moment of Hislop’s career when he raced against Carl Fogarty. Hislop started at number 19, while Fogarty started at number 4. Hislop needed to contend with more traffic and both went on to break new records. It came down to a tense final lap when Fogarty tried to set a record lap of 123 mph. However, Hislop wouldn’t be denied and came out with the win.
Hislop also made a name for himself on short circuits, winning the 1990 250 cc British Championship. Another accolade came when he won the British Superbike Championship in 1995.
Throughout his career, Hislop suffered various injuries. In 2000, he broke his neck in a World Superbike round at Brands Hatch. He also hurt himself in 2002 when he collided with a barrier. Despite this setback, he went on to win the 2002 British Superbike Championship.
At this point, Hislop sensed his riding career was coming to an end. He’d been taking helicopter flying lessons with the aim of becoming a professional pilot. In July 2003, he died when piloting a Robinson R44 helicopter.
Hislop was one of the greatest riders of his generation. He was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.