In Memoriam: Mark Dunlop

Mar 15, 2016
by Paul Aston  


I was only lucky enough to meet Mark McKenzie Dunlop a handful of times while travelling the EWS circuit last year. A constant beam of smile, Mark was a staple of the New Zealand mountain bike community and worldwide. Mark's final tyre tracks were left at Crankworx Rotorua Enduro and Air DH events. On Friday, March 11th, 2016 Mark Dunlop passed away in his adopted hometown of Rotorua, aged 31. Our thoughts are with Mark’s friends, family, and loved ones in this time. The mountain bike community loses another brother, inspiration and hope.

Mark is on a Transition running Rockshox and WTB tyres.

Mark Dunlop (1985-2016)

Mark Dunlop has bigger calves than any rider in town When buying his bikes he has to try them first to see if the rear end is narrow enough so he doesn t hit


bigquotesWe'd really love it if his MTB mates or mates from other aspects of his life would ride with Mark on his final journey. We will be leaving from our family home at 12.45 and taking the 4km journey to Tahuna Hall. It would be awesome if Mark had a procession of bikes riding with him! Let's celebrate his life and let him see just how much we all loved him! - Hayley Dunlop

Depart: Kintail Farm, 1351 Tahuna Road, Morrinsville at 12:45. Plenty of parking available. Feel free to wear your riding kit.

More information of Mark's funeral are on NZ Herald. In lieu of flowers, our family have chosen to support, donations can be made on, a charity that gives kiwi kids the opportunity to ride a bike. Let's put that big grin of his on the faces of other kids. He was just a big kid himself!

Posted In:
Industry News


  • 245 2
 another brother lost, ride in peace. 2016 so far sucks.
  • 17 1
  • 17 0
 Much respect and condolences to the family.
  • 1 0
 So - a kindred spirit is lost - as a Scottish MacKenzie I left a memorial to his passing in the Pocono mountains - his flow and style won't be lost from west to east.
  • 136 1
 Just read that he had a twin brother who also passed away previously.......can't imagine the grief that family must be going through......................R.I.P.
  • 81 1
 The bike procession is a cool idea. Wish I was there to partake. RIP Mark. You will be missed.
  • 47 1
 2016 has certainly been a dark year so far, Dunlop, Mcgazza and Mirra. aswell as countless others outside of the bike circle.
  • 42 1
 He died at Crankworx???
  • 12 1
 what happened ? Frown Frown Did he have a fatal crash ? R.I.P.
  • 53 2
 Suicide unfortunately Cry Spoke with him once briefly he seemed like an awesome guy.
  • 15 2
  • 11 28
flag JC9won4 (Mar 15, 2016 at 13:31) (Below Threshold)
  • 60 0
 Yup this went up on Facebook a couple of days ago:
@mark_dunlop proudly wore his emotions on his sleeve. We had a lot of fun riding and working together over the last 6 months. This ride on Mt Riley on Feb 8th was a highlight for us both. "Best day of his life" Mark said. I didn't think much of it at the time, the stoke of shared experiences with friends elicits a lot of similar comments. On Friday night Mark made the decision to end his own life. He had on Thursday completed a Wheels Tracks and rollers endorsement and was about to move from his position as senior shuttle driver with Southstar Shuttles to start a new career as a trail builder with Southstar Trails. He had so much to look forward to, it's hard to understand how he could have felt the need to leave this amazing world filled with people that loved him.
  • 54 0
 Death from the sport's inherent risk like McGarry's or Will Olson's are troubling, but we know their passion pushed them both to the limits, and they enjoyed every minute of it. Losing great athletes with bright futures or incredible success to suicide is far more scary.
  • 6 10
flag Brahma (Mar 15, 2016 at 14:46) (Below Threshold)
 I read that his twin brother died previously. Does anyone know how he died? Suicide also?
  • 16 90
flag RollinFoSho (Mar 15, 2016 at 14:57) (Below Threshold)
 Suicides always raise much suspicion as well
  • 166 3
 Suspicion about what? That he was in a dark place that he couldn't see a way out from? Depression is a very real and very common illness, its not something you can speculate on, you have no idea what Mark may have been going through. There needn't be such a stigma about depression. If people were more accepting of the condition and tried harder to understand, then maybe people like Mark would be more comfortable opening up to those close to him and we wouldn't be mourning his loss right now.
  • 14 1
 i have respect for your thorts and comments more people should try to understand what depression can do to people and how it can effect there lifes, i couldn't of said thos words better my self
  • 15 1
 @bradical9 I am 100% with you at this. People need to be much more simpatetic and understanding towards people that chose to take this difficult yet horrible decision. I lost a very close friend from suicide and I know that much of their depression and mental problems are related with society and the things that, not only they, but most of us, dont't like about it.
  • 36 2
 From someone who has been hearing suicide songs all day long:

Mark, I hope you find in death the peace that everyone deserves in life. May your demons be silenced now.

Ride in paradise, brother.
  • 8 86
flag RollinFoSho (Mar 15, 2016 at 16:38) (Below Threshold)
 Just saying that sometimes the cops call it suicide, case closed even when it wasn't suicide at all.
  • 14 1
 @RollinFoSho you clearly didn't know Mark so we can forgive your earlier comment, if you'd known him you'd know that no one would want to hurt him, he was a truly great guy. May he ride in peace.
  • 6 0
 i did not no mark and wish i would of met him i am very sorry i did not mean eney disrespect i have suffered from depression my self and suppose i still do at times may mark ride in peace
  • 13 46
flag RollinFoSho (Mar 15, 2016 at 18:24) (Below Threshold)
 I mean no disrespect, just striving for the truth. Sometimes things aren't as evident as we'd like them to be. Ride In Peace Mark
  • 17 0
 Depression is such a dreadful illness that is very real. The level of absolute distress it can cause is impossible to comprehend for most of us. I knew Mark not as well as others did, but enough to see that he was a very kind and caring person and just loved to help fellow riders when he could. He was absolutely not a quitter, and this only shows how desperate he must have felt. I'm absolutely gutted that none of us - myself included - knew of his need or were there for him when he most needed a shoulder to lean on....just like he had done for so many others in the past. R.I.P. Mark. I can only hope your legacy will be to make us find just a little more time for compassion and support for each other in our everyday lives.
  • 7 0
 @pHeller McGazza didn't die doing anything "risky" per se. He was climbing on a trail ride when his heart gave out.
Sorry to hear this about Mark - a fallen brother with such despair. Tragic for friends and family.
  • 2 2
 @herzalot he wasn't doing anything risky, but there is certainly more risk pushing yourself at elevation than there is playing volleyball on the beach, even if those risks are minimal. We can't prevent "athletic life" types of injuries or death, we can only minimize them. I like to think we could do something to help those battling inner demons of the mind, but thats a much more complex challenge than taking an aspirin or wearing added safety equipment.
  • 5 0
 @RollinFoSho Just stop talking
  • 8 1
 Fair enough, my apologies
  • 1 3
 where did the suicide word from at first ?... Some people say he had an OTB with a concussion ....
  • 3 2
 @enduro86 Him being a mountain biker and taking a lot of hard hits, concussions can be a major key to having depression.
  • 4 2
 Could be the case, but I really don't know enough details about the situation to comment on that. All we can is wish his family our condolences.
  • 2 0
 sometimes as friend you need to listen ( which is not akways talking esp bros, it's feeling observing) not judge or give the feeling you are judging, real people are with you no matter what, I hear, see way too much of this after the fact, not enough before, bradical is 100% about that, fact is people you trust should give unconditionally but often dont have your back, listen to gossip rather than treat u the way u treat them, instead feed the BS, I didnt know you Mark, but we shared the same trails, RIP, I hope you are in better place, to others just never give up no matter how hard it gets or who hurts you, hang in there!
  • 27 0
 So sorry to hear this. RIP Mark. Depression is a real illness. Please if you feel suicidal ask for help. In the us or call 1 800 273 8255. We want you to live. Depression is a real illness and it is horrible. Seek help, there are people on this earth who may not know you but want to help you. Mark ride on the endless trails of the next world. So sorry for his family. Deepest condolences.
  • 26 1
 What a terrible thing to read when I get home from school. Ride in peace, Mark. My condolences to family and friends.
  • 25 1
 2016 stinks
  • 24 2
 It's okay, you can cuss. 2016 fucking sucks.
  • 17 2
 What?! Mark the SouthStarShuttle driver passed away?! Frown I can't believe what I am reading! I only 'knew' him as the shuttle driver and have seen him shred trails at Redwoods, but I am absolutey shocked. Incredibly sad news. Let him shred in peace.
  • 16 0
 Shit. Mark was driving the shuttle bus when I rode the red woods for the first time last year. Sincere condolences to the whanau.
  • 12 0
 I was proud to call him my friend. Rest easy brother, we will ride again some day.
  • 9 0
 This was awful to hear! Some friends rode with him on their travels last year and have started the hashtag #skidsfordunlop it would be cool to get it out there Smile

  • 10 0
 I've suffered with depression in the past, I can only sympathise. At least he's achieved more and had more fun in his 31 years than most people will in 80. RIP.
  • 7 0
 Very, very sad news. Just goes to show that an outwardly bright smile can hide so much. Depression and all it's related sub-groups really does seem to be a silent epidemic of our times, with lots more sufferers (either diagnosed or not) than we might think. We're more interconnected than ever, but less engaged on a personal level. If we take one thing away from this, let's make sure we check in on our mates properly in real life for a ride, a beer or a bite to eat, or a quick phone call if that's not possible. We all show our best sides online, but real contact would probably reveal so much more.

Ride in peace dude.
  • 7 1
 Stories that discuss suicide can, unfortunately, give rise to suicidal thoughts for some other people. Maybe PB could put up links to organisations that can help people if they have any issues they need to talk about regarding suicide (someone has posted the details for the US above). In Australia, the organisations are Lifeline ( and Beyond Blue (
  • 8 0
 In New Zealand, try this

As a sufferer myself, I feel lucky that I live in a country where mental health awareness is high and there is an open and supportive culture around it.

Mark was a friend of mine and I will miss him greatly. It's been said by others of his friends that a positive result of this terrible tragedy has been that it has given courage to many of Mark's friends to open up about their own troubles or emphasise their support for sufferers like Mark. If only he knew how many people could have helped him so much.

Kia Kaha
  • 10 1
 He is probably riding that endless trail.
  • 5 2
 It's gotta be. He pulled out of Crankworx because he was worried about his head. They say that bad concussion dramatically increase your chances of stroke, and I remember Liam Neeson's wife dying suddenly a few days after a concussion that gave her migraine which cleared within 24hrs.
  • 10 0
 Read up above that it was suicide, which also could have been due to the concussion.
  • 5 0
 He committed suicide Frown
  • 2 0
 Ride In Peace Brother. Thats is really really worrying that there may have been such serious reprocussions from taking a hit to the head. Lets just hope that if it was due to this, that up to that point his life was a truly happy one, and this wasnt a sad underlying issue that he kept to himself.
  • 4 0
 Frown that's terrible.
  • 25 0
 We know traumatic brain injury is linked to depression and suicide. However, each death by suicide is different and while it may be easier to point singularly to something like brain injury, there is often a lot more going on. I doubt many have a full idea of what happened in this case but what a tragedy. I wish his family and friends well in organizing and managing the grief and loss. I hope those that knew him can enjoy and cherish the times and spaces shared with him and continue to find joy and support in the relationships still with them.
  • 4 0
 So sad. There's also that interesting phenomenon amongst twins...when 1 of 2 isnt quite the same when one is gone, or not close by.
  • 10 3
 this year just get shittier by the minute
  • 2 0
 Proper dog shit news. Wishing all the best to family and friends. Lord knows what they're all going through. All my thoughts are with you...
  • 4 0
 This is crazy.. I just met this guy and talked with him for almost am hour on Friday before the Downhill. Amazing dude, my thoughts going out to his Family. Keep shredding brotha
  • 3 0
 Like most of us here I share the passion of mountain biking with Mark. But, even though I live on the other side of the world, I was lucky enough to spend a week riding with Mark in the inaugural TransNZ. He was a great and amazingly talented rider. After those five huge days of riding and mechanical issues he managed to still finish fourth place overall. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. I know all too well how hard this time can be. You will be missed Mark.
  • 4 1
 Riding bikes to celebrate life is a great idea. But the loss is still terrible. Lost my best friend to suicide just before Christmas. 34yrs old was no age. If any one reads this and feels this way. Please tell someone, people do care and will miss you more than you can imagine. So I don't know mark. But I feel for those who have a big hole and questions about him passing.
  • 6 0
 wtf 2016 ?? ride in peace.
  • 2 0
 RIP man. You were always laughing and smiling and telling good stories, that's how I will remember you. Hardly knew you but I could tell you were a decent bloke. Don't know why things got to this stage but the world is just a little darker now. Condolences to the family
  • 2 0
 Things have to be really fogged up for mountain biking not to be able to at least get you to that NEXT ride. Sorry for the loss. I wish that people suffering could just see that suicide is really just an emotional, ever heavy burden left behind to weigh on those who loved 'em most. I hate how these stories make me sad for ALL the other stories.Go Ride today anyway!
  • 2 0
 Sometimes you the worst things in life can happen. You might not want to think about the bad things but every time you go on a bike ride in the back of your head it is a dangerous sport
  • 7 0
 but rip mark
  • 4 0
 The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
  • 1 0
 Hearts and condolences to family and friends, I would give just about anything to be able to jump on a plane and make that ride. That is one of the most honorable requests for a fallen fellow young man of the bike to be accompanied by many of the wheels which he loved.
  • 1 0
 Mark was an Awesome guy, All smiles and a friend to everyone. I was lucky enough to have riden with him and he has greatly inspired me as well as many others riding. RIP Mark
  • 1 0
 I was lucky enough to meet Mark a few times on the shuttles (when he was riding, not driving) and he was always such a happy, friendly and inclusive guy; freakin' shredder on the bike too! A terrible terrible loss for his family, friends and the MTB crew in Vegas. My thoughts are with you all.
  • 1 0
 Wow, another one gone but what an amazing worldwide community we're all part of. Sends chills down the spine when something like this happens but at the very least we all know what he felt like roosting awesome trails with great mates. A life worth being lived. Keep roosting wherever you go bro!!
  • 1 0
 Had the pleasure to 'ride'... be in the same event as Mark at the Enduro 2 last summer there are few people who before even riding with you just know they need to go ahead of you down the trail Mark was one of those guys. RIP
  • 1 0
 What an absolute tragedy. If all else failed and I felt like my life had totally collapsed around me, I know I could escape from everything by jumping on a plane heading over to the Redwoods - where was this guy to go? I had many a chat with Mark as he drove me up in the Shuttle. He brought untold joy to my life, there would be thousands of mountain bikers who feel the same. Thanks for everything mate. RIP.
  • 1 0
 wow another one, WTF! does all these new standards cause depression or something? Anyone who is thinking about it are more then welcome to come and stay at my place, maybe a new environment and some random stranger can evoke some major conversation can help.
  • 2 0
 2016 sucks.... biggest condolences to Mark´s family, may the guys that left us this year ride together an endless trail in heaven
  • 1 0
 I can still remember is voice telling us about jumps and shit and controlling the tables down roadside challenge, super sick guide for my mates and I, we are all shoked. Wish I could fly out NZ just for the last ride :'(
  • 4 0
 Ride in paradise
  • 2 1
 What is wronbg with 2016!!! So many riders passing away!!!..Ride in paradise Brotha!!! Say hi to mcgaza and dmiracleman for me!!!
  • 3 0
 Very sad - RIP and condolences to the family
  • 2 0
 Much love to his family and friends. Ride in paradise man. Rest in Peace. Ride on!
  • 1 0
 man another brother off the mountain bike community sadly lost may you rest in peace my thorts and respect to all his family and friends he will be sadly mist
  • 1 0
 Ride in peace Mark. We'll ride again sometime along the line. Your smile was infectious and your passion for your bike inspiring, that will live on. Till next time bro.
  • 1 0
 R.I.P Mark, if I lived in NZ, I'd be leading the procession of bikes on your final run. Mark Dunlop, 85-16, gone but never forgotten.
  • 1 0
 I met this guy last year at redwoods, I've never seen someone getting soooo stoked on explaining to us where the best trails to ride where at.. Super cool guy... Rip
  • 3 0
 Ride In Peace
  • 3 0
 RIP to another legend
  • 2 0
 oh man fuck 2016 stop with the death please... ride in peace mark.
  • 2 0
 Dang. Condolences to his family and may he ride in peace.
  • 2 0
 RIP and ride on in heaven Mark
  • 2 0
 Another ripper off to the never ending loam. RIP brother
  • 2 0
 lost another brother today. you will be missed
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 Ride in peace, and wish all of his family and friends strength to overcome this terrible loss.
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 i rode with this dude up at roto forest and he was awesome so sad rip
  • 1 0
 Really sad news.Ride in paradise and condolences to his family and friends.
  • 1 1
 Very hard to understand this from afar, and ultimately what a waste. A decision made in a bad moment that sadly can never be reversed... RIP
  • 1 0
 Ride high in the sky mark, great to have shared some skids with u. Hope ur at peace now dude
  • 2 0
 Thoughts and prayers to family and friends! Rest In Peace!
  • 1 0
 ad the end of 2016 every body agree's 2016 was the worst year ever
  • 2 1
 Dear jeebus. Please leave us bikers alone for a while. Thank you
  • 1 0
 Love to his family and friends. I know your pain.
  • 1 0
 That's unfortunate. I hope he is in a better place.
  • 1 0
 What is wrong with 2016. Goddddd
  • 1 0
 The 2016 season isn't starting off to well Frown RIP Mark!
  • 1 0
 WTF! why 2016 picks up our brothers?
R.I.P good people
  • 2 0
 ride in peace
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
  • 9 9
 If you ask me, it's a lot more selfish to make someone carry a very painful cross just because you don't want to lose him. If no one is going to carry your pain, no one has the right to tell you if you can resign.
  • 1 0
 Rest in peace, comrade.
  • 1 0
 too young .... Frown
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Ride in peace rider
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Ride in peace
  • 1 1
 To anyone who said ride in peace, my question is how. Please stop 2016.
  • 5 7
  • 2 0
 He lost his battle with depression and took his own life.
  • 3 0
 That sucks, My thoughts are with his family and friends. Ride in Peace Bro!
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