Kelly McGarry during his visit to Waimea Intermediate as part of Bikefest in 2015. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport.

Cycle trust winds up, gives money to locals

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A school and a charity set up to honour a much-loved mountain biker have benefited from the winding up of the Nelson Cycle Festival Trust.

The trust – which was established in 2013 to organise festival events as a way of promoting Nelson as a cycling destination – recently concluded that it was no longer economic to continue.

It decided to distribute its remaining funds to Nelson Intermediate and the Kelly McGarry Foundation, which was set up by his family and friends after the renowned mountain biker died last year while riding near Queenstown.

The school received $2500 for its school bike programme, while the foundation got $3100 to help with the development of McGazzaland Bike Park in Wakefield, where Kelly was born.

Kelly gained international fame at the 2013 Red Bull Rampage for a daring 22m backflip across a canyon which has been viewed more than 33 million times on Youtube.

The run earned him a silver medal and the People’s Choice award.

The foundation has since raised money for various mountain biking projects throughout New Zealand, including McGazzaland, which will be based near his home town of Wakefield.

Foundation chairman Fraser Gordon says it was “pretty awesome’’ to get a grant from the trust, which would be added to the $10,000 the foundation has already allocated to McGazzaland.

The project involves building an asphalt pump track, jumps and skills area on a site behind the town’s recreation reserve.

Fraser says they were in the final stages of getting approval from Tasman District Council and hoped to begin construction by the end of the year and have it completed a few months later.

“It will be a place where kids and their parents can go along to practise their bike skills in a safe environment.’’

Fraser says Kelly would be “stoked’’ by the project.

“Kelly was very outgoing and always keen to help build trails and encourage and coach kids.

“This project would be right up his alley, particularly as it’s in his home town.’’

Nelson Intermediate principal Hugh Gully says the school was “surprised and delighted’’ to receive the money which would go towards purchasing three mountain bikes to replace older ones, tools and spare parts to help maintain its 20-bike fleet and realigning its mountain bike track behind the school gym to include some jumps.

“We are happy that our school has been recognised for actively promoting biking as a good way to get around town and as a good healthy recreational pursuit.’’

Trust chairman and Sport Tasman Community Sport General Manager, Tony Thomas, says the school and the foundation were chosen because they are doing a good job getting young people involved in biking.

“Nelson Intermediate’s programme has been very successful and Kelly was a great supporter of the Nelson Cycle Festival.’’

He says the trust – as a promotional umbrella for individual bike races and events – relied on grants to operate, but these had become more difficult to get so the decision was made to dissolve and distribute its remaining funds.