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One of the world’s top mountain bikers is in Queenstown to pay tribute to his former mentor Kelly McGarry.

Red Bull pro Carson Storch, from the United States, will help launch the three-day bike festival McGazzaFest, which starts today.

“Coming down here is giving back and definitely means a lot to me,” Storch says. “I miss him a lot.”

The festival is being held to remember legendary slopestyler McGarry, who died riding a Fernhill trail in February last year.

Giving back: Carson Storch
Giving back: Carson Storch

Storch, who describes McGarry as a mentor, says it has been a long and surreal year for those who knew and rode with him.

The American picked up third place in last year’s Rampage, the event that cemented McGarry’s place in biking history with a crazy backflip over a 22-metre canyon in 2013.

Storch is going to document his time here and re-create many of McGarry’s tricks, in some of his favourite spots.

He describes McGarry as “super-kind, welcoming, warm and fun to be around”.

The Kelly McGarry Foundation will be officially launched on Saturday night.

Chairman Fraser Gordon says the weekend will be tough, emotionally.

“But we’ll think ‘what would McGazza do’ and we know he would want us to be shredding bikes, doing jumps, having a few beers, spinning yarns and having a laugh – it will lift us up.”

louises@scene.co.nz

FRIDAY: McGazza memorial mega train, Bike Park
McGarry’s reconditioned trails unveiled at Atlas Bar
SATURDAY: Fernhill Loop group ride, memorial unveiling
Kelly McGarry Foundation launch party
SUNDAY: Gorge Rd Jump Park session