2013 downhill world cup winner Stevie Smith has died at the age of just 26 years old.
The Canadian favourite passed away yesterday after an enduro motorcycle accident in his hometown of British Columbia left him with a fatal brain injury, report Pinkbike.
Smith was a rider renowned for his aggressive riding style and lightening speed. He had been at the forefront of the Canadian scene for years before he dropped onto international radars in 2013, taking World Cup wins in Leogang, Hafjell and Mont-Saine-Anne, and subsequently going on to take the overall win.
After a few years of injury, we had been lucky to see his form rejuvenated for the 2016 season, with Stevie finishing in second place at the world cup opener in Lourdes and qualifying in fifth place at round two in Cairns before getting a puncture in finals.
Tributes have been pouring out from throughout the mountain bike community as the news has spread this morning. A Celebration of Life will be held on May 21 at 1 p.m. at the Vancouver Island Convention Centre in Nanaimo, B.C. You can make a donation to the “Stevie Smith Legacy Fund" here.
Devinci Global Racing teammate Mark Wallace writes: “I would not be anywhere on the bike without Steve. Most importantly he taught me to be confident in my abilities, race my bike properly and take risks. As training partners, we pushed each other to the limit."
"Today we lost a great person, who taught me about myself and influenced many," says DCR Team Manager, Gabe Fox. “Stevie was a fierce competitor, an honest friend and a rider who made me proud on countless occasions. I am honoured to consider him my friend for so long."
Fox write: “Steve was the most successful Canadian Gravity Racer of all time. His passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts here at Devinci."
Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Stevie, and the rest of the mountain biking community who will mourn his loss. Rest in peace - you inspired many.
— Crankworx (@Crankworx) May 11, 2016