Steve Hislop, affectionately known as ‘Hizzy’, was born to motorcycling enthusiast father Sandy, and mother Margaret, in Hawick, and raised in Southdean near Chesters. From a young age, Hizzy and his brother Gary were encouraged by their father to be enthusiastic about competitive motorcycling, and to take up racing. Surviving the trauma of both his father’s and brother’s deaths (his brother dying in a racing accident) before his twentieth birthday, Hizzy somehow managed to return to racing in 1983, and placed 2nd in the newcomer’s race at the Manx Grand Prix.
This was but the start of what would become one of motorcycle racing’s most successful, dramatic, and controversial careers. Hizzy went on to become one of the world’s most famous racers, winning the Isle of Man TT an astonishing eleven times (between 1987 and 1994), as well as being the first rider in history to lap the course at an average speed of over 120mph. Steve is also remembered for winning on a Norton at the Isle of Man TT in 1992, the last victory by an all-British machine. In 1990, Hizzy won the British 250cc Supercup, he was world champion in endurance racing in 1993, and British Superbike Champion in 2002, despite suffering horrendous injuries that year, and breaking his neck in 2000. The champion turned his back on the Isle of Man TT in 1994, citing that it had become too fast and dangerous to be driven on modern superbikes.
In 2003, Steve ‘Hizzy’ Hislop was training to be a helicopter pilot when he tragically crashed, not far from the spot in Teviothead where there now rests a memorial cairn. His funeral was the largest Hawick had seen since the service for the town’s other motorcycle-ace, Jimmie Guthrie, who died in the German Grand Prix of 1937. Hundreds of bikers followed the funeral cortege to Steve’s final resting place in his native village of Southdean. Hizzy’s many trophies are on permanent display in Hawick Museum, and a full-scale statue commemorating his life stands proudly in Wilton Lodge Park, looking over at the statue of his hero, Jimmy Guthrie (the sculptor of Guthrie’s statue was also responsible for the Minto and Canonbie war memorials.
‘Farewell to a brave Border callant,
In tune with his racing machine,
Who conquered the world with his talent,
And comes home to sleep in Southdean.’
- Tim Douglas from an unknown source