Mountain biking world loses ‘exceptional character’


Kelly McGarry, one of New Zealand’s best slopestyle mountain bikers and track builders, has died while biking on a Queenstown track yesterday.

St John Ambulance said yesterday it appeared to be a medical event.

The 33-year-old was biking on the Fernhill loop track when he apparently suffered from a cardiac arrest while riding uphill.

He died at the scene.

McGarry was the only New Zealander ranked in the world’s top 20 for slopestyle.

As co-owner of Elevate Course Building, McGarry built the slopestyle course for the Crankworx World Tour event at Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park next month.

McGarry’s bike sponsor YT posted a statement on their website saying the company was deeply saddened and shocked by the death of “a truly unique character”.

“We were informed about his death in the morning and are petrified, shocked and heartbroken about losing one of our family members. Kelly was a warm-hearted, friendly and relaxed guy.

“He stood for the true essence of mountain biking through every aspect of his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, girlfriend and his friends.

“The mountain bike world lost an exceptional character,” the statement reads.

McGarry’s probably best known for landing an insane backflip across a 22-metre Utah canyon in 2013, as part of the Red Bull Rampage.

St John Central Lakes territory manager Kelvin Perriman said yesterday: “It looks like it’s been a medical event. We’ve flown two paramedics from Queenstown up there.

“It is a fairly remote area only accessed by helicopter.”

Speaking last night before McGarry was named by his sponsor, Fraser Gordon said his close friend was a down-to-earth Kiwi bloke and a hugely inspiring person.

– additional reporting NZ Herald