Grieving LegendsSee Full Feature
The last decade delivered significant loss, as the industry grieved the deaths of three of its most beloved riders. In early 2016, the death of Kelly McGarry, the perpetually smiling Kiwi who became a household name with his 72-foot backflip over the canyon gap at Rampage in 2013, shook the mountain bike world. McGarry, then just 33, died of a cardiac arrest while riding in his native New Zealand. His spirit lives on through the Kelly McGarry Spirit Award, which goes to one rider at every Rampage who best embodies Kelly’s larger-than-life personality and positivity.
Just three months after Kelly’s death, mountain bikers were dealt another bout of sadness when Canadian downhill champion and World Cup racer Stevie Smith, then 26, died from a brain injury suffered during a crash while riding his enduro moto near his hometown of Nanaimo, British Columbia. Smith first came on the scene through his touching segment in “Seasons,” which showed the teen’s mom shuttling him for hours as he worked toward his goal of making a career out of mountain biking. Sure enough, he quickly cemented his legendary status by becoming Canada’s DH Champion and winning the DH World Cup Overall in 2013, the first Canadian to take that honor. Smith’s legacy lives on through the Stevie Smith Memorial Bike Park, which opened in Nanaimo in 2017.
And less than three months ago, another shock: freeride legend Jordie Lunn sustained a fatal head injury in a simple crash while riding in Mexico. Lunn’s steadfast spirit and seemingly fearless riding style over his long 20-year riding career made him a fan favorite and his loss was felt far and wide.
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