THE sun smiled on an estimated 300 motorcylists who took part in the ninth annual Steve Hislop Memorial Ride on Sunday.
They came from far and wide to pay tribute to Hizzy – the legendary Borders racer who won 11 Isle of Man TTs and two British Superbike championships in an illustrious career and an inspirational life, tragically cut short when his helicopter crashed near Teviothead on July 30, 2003.
“I still think that Steve would wonder what all the fuss was about if he was here today,” observed event organiser Wendy Oliver, who runs the family garage business in Denholm where the memorial run started and finished.
The route was especially poignant this year as it started in the village where Steve served his apprenticeship as a mechanic, before heading out to Bonchester Bridge and past the Horse & Hound hostelry which Steve and his mother Margaret once ran.
The riders proceeded towards Southdean past Doorpool Cottage, where Steve spent his early years, then passed The Pendicle bungalow, built by his late father Sandy, where Steven and his younger brother Garry played on their scambler motorbikes in the neighbouring field.
The run progressed to Southdean Cemetery where Sandy, Garry, who died in a motorbike accident at Silloth in 1982, and Steve are all interred, then over the Carter Bar where a large crowd, including a piper, had gathered to wave and play the riders over the border.
The run then headed to Bellingham, Chollerford, Alston, Whitfield and the outskirts of Carlisle before the riders began their return to the Borders, via, Longtown, Langholm, Teviothead and then through Hawick and back to Denholm to a packed village green where Margaret and friends had been selling raffle tickets.
There was a surprise visitor in the shape of Hawick racer Stuart Easton – whose career was inspired by Steve Hislop – who was there to present the raffle prizes. Stuart is currently recovering from a serious World Superbike injury.
“The support the run achieves after all these years always amazes me,” said Wendy. “It is always a highlight for myself and everyone who takes part.
“People have gone to the effort of going out into the country to take photos and videos, which is just fantastic.
“The day could not have been better and a big vote of thanks is due to the travelling marshals, parking marshals, Lothian and Borders Police, the Fox & Hounds Inn and, of course, all the Borders folk who support the event.
“We’re already looking forward to next year which will be the 10th anniversary.”