A fitting tribute

Kelly McGarry was remembered in his home town of Wakefield, New Zealand with a procession of mountain bikers, heavy metal music and a touching tribute from his girlfriend.

McGarry passed away while riding on a YT Industries photoshoot near Queenstown. It is suspected he suffered a fatal heart attack while riding uphill.

The memorial was held earlier today at the Wakefield Recreation Reserve where Kelly McGarry built his first ever BMX track as a young boy. His casket was transported on the back of a Chevrolet Ute with an honour guard of hundreds of mountain bikers. The casket was topped with his two trophies from the 2013 Red Bull Rampage, his helmet and a fern leaf.

Tributes were paid by his girlfriend Samantha Hitchcock and his father Nick McGarry. There was also heavy metal music and a photo slideshow of McGarry’s life.

Hitchcock described Kelly McGarry as her “soulmate” and said: “From the moment I laid eyes on him I instantly had a bit of a crush and looking back on photos of him at that age is pretty hilarious because I just think he looks the same except he was quite a bit goofier. I would catch the bus to college, meet him behind the bike sheds and he would show me tricks on his BMX.”

She also spoke about his famous Canyon Gap backflip at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage. She said: “He had his run set out and he knew all he had to do was get to the bottom. Kelly had never got to the bottom of a Rampage run before. Kelly’s run was everything he’d ever dreamed of and he has the famous footage to prove it. Now, with over 30 million views on YouTube, it is the most viewed mountain bike footage in history.”

Following the memorial, McGarry’s body was escorted to his former family home where there was a private ceremony for close family and friends.