My day started out like any other, I went downstairs at 7am, put the kettle on and checked my phone before my family was up. The first thing that came up in my Instagram feed was, “RIP Steve Smith”!
I did a double take and then scrolled down through… there were post after post of condolences; fellow riders, friends and fans in shock, many unable to believe that Steve Smith had indeed passed away (myself included).
The press release said that he died after suffering a massive brain injury resulting from an enduro motorcycle accident. We don’t know any more details, and really, we don’t need to. It sounds ridiculous, but you just don’t expect people like Stevie to die, and I can’t quite believe that he was only 26, he seems to have been around the downhill scene forever.
There are many images that stick in my mind of Stevie, but the most vivid and touching one would have to be his segment in Anthill Films Seasons where his mum is doing shuttles for him up the mountain. It is such a great image of love and devotion, not just to one another – human to human – but to the sport of downhill.
As a competitor he was driven and intense. At the race track he was single minded, he was there to win, the fun could be saved for another time. But of course he did have fun, he had fun all the time. He was such a great ambassador for all of the brands that he represented that he would often turn up in photoshoots and video edits, his racer style shining through.
There will be a lot of people hurting right now, his family and close friends of course, Gabe Fox at Devinci who had championed the young Stevie from an early age, his mechanic Nigel Reeve, his team mates, all of his sponsors (many of whom are close friends) and of course the wider (and global) mountainbike community itself – our thoughts go out to all of these people. The outpouring of grief for the loss of such a great rider and racer, taken at such a young age, is clear to see.
Steve Smith was a super talent who was respected by his fellow racers and universally loved by his fans. An individual who will be sorely missed.
Mike Rose, Editor.
Photos: Seb Schieck