Hundreds of people attended the opening of the Steve Smith Bike Park. Kendall Hanson reports.
Dignitaries, family and friends from around the world were in Nanaimo Wednesday for the official opening of a bike park built in the memory of Canada's most accomplished downhill mountain biker.
"He would be proud of the fact the community cam together to build a park that will help other riders become better at the sport," said family friend and Steve Smith Foundation founder Michelle Corfield. "I think he would be absolutely honoured."
Nanaimo's Steve Smith, the "Canadian Chainsaw" as he was known, won the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Title in 2013. He was the first and is the only Canadian to win the title.
In May of 2016, Smith died from a motorbike crash at Nanaimo's Wastelands Motorcross Park. He was 26.
Soon after friends and family created a Foundation in Steve Smith's name. They raised close to half a million dollars and the park soon followed.
"Just stoked. Just so happy to see it come together," says Steve's sister Kara Smith. "Very proud."
Many friends from the world cup riding circuit are here from New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Among them Claudio Caluori who built the pump track at the new park.
"Obviously he was a super fast racer but there's many super fast racer's," said friend Claudio Caluori, who came from Switzerland for this day. "When he was with you and when he left he left something positive behind and that's what he did now too."
Fittingly, instead of a ribbon cutting, his mother, who raised him, cuts a log with Steve's signature chainsaw.
And to top it off the Steve Smith Foundation along with the Share the Ride Foundation gave away bikes to 25 deserving Nanaimo children.
The bikes and the park handing the next generation more biking opportunities, which fulfils Steve Smith's dream of helping the kids in his hometown.
The new bike park is part of Nanaimo's Beban Park and can be accessed from Labieux Road.