Reigning British Superbike champion Steve Hislop has died after his helicopter came down in moorland in the Scottish Borders on Wednesday afternoon.

The crash is believed to have happened on Wednesday afternoon, though when exactly is uncertain at present.

Reuters reports a Lothian and Borders police spokeman as saying. "There was only one person on board. Although the debris was found in the afternoon the accident could have happened earlier in the day."

Though Hislop has not been officially named as the pilot, there is now no doubt it was the immensely talented - but modest - Scot who was killed in the accident.

The wreckage was found by a farmer on a hillside near to Teviothead in the Scottish borders. It does not appear that bad weather was a factor so the cause of the accident is currently a mystery.

In his career, the Hawick-born rider claimed some eleven victories at the Isle of Man TT course and also made appearances as a wild-card entry in World Superbike championship rounds, breaking his neck at the Brands Hatch round in 2000.

'Hizzy', as he was known to thousands of motorbike race fans, had enjoyed a long career that had seen him take the British Superbike title in 1995 and 2002, only missing out on the 2001 crown after an unfortunate accident at Rockingham left him with a broken leg.

For 2003, Hislop had been dropped by the MonsterMob Ducati team with which he had taken the title last year and a swap to the Virgin Yamaha squad had not proved successful, the Yamaha machine not being suited to Hislop's smooth riding style. He had been due to return to the series on board his title winning 2002 Ducati for the ETI team, alongside Sean Emmett.

The 41-year-old had admitted it was hard to secure backing for his title defence and hinted that 2003 was to be his final year of racing. sends its condolances to Steve Hislop's friends and family.



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