A Riversdale man who died during the Milton Lake to Sea trail bike ride on Saturday was a much-loved "husband, father, colleague and friend".
A Queensland-based relative told the Otago Daily Times yesterday the victim was 52-year-old Lindsay Roy, a Riversdale drainage contractor and father to two teenaged children.
Roy's second cousin, Gold Coast resident Robyn Cooper-Radke, said she and New Zealand relatives were shocked and distressed by the sudden death of the dedicated family man, following an accident during the popular annual trail ride in South Otago.
Although details of the incident remained unclear yesterday, Cooper-Radke said her cousin was an experienced rider who was unlikely to have taken any undue risks during the 140km ride through forestry and farmland.
A further 11 people suffered injuries during the event. Two were airlifted by helicopter to Dunedin Hospital, one in a serious condition and the other in a moderate condition.
Cooper-Radke, who was born in Gore, said she understood from family members the event was "well run".
"They've obviously taken as much care as possible for the safety of riders, so I think it will take a fair bit of unravelling to work out what happened to cause this tragedy."
A reporter at the event said there was no hint anything untoward would unfold at the 9.30am start of Saturday's ride.
He said about 870 riders of mixed ability set off from Milburn on ATVs and trail bikes in good conditions, and took three separate trails, one for advanced riders, one for open riders and one for juniors.
It is not known which trail Roy took.
Two hours later, the trail groups met at Chrystalls Beach for lunch, before riders travelled the length of the beach and began their return to Milburn via loops.
But at 12.10pm, emergency services were summoned after two distress beacons were activated.
After attending an incident, understood to be in the forest area of the track, where a rider died at the scene, police said emergency services progressed through rugged terrain to two further crashes in the coastal area, within 150m of each other.
The event, in its 18th year, is a fundraiser for Tokomairiro High School's PTA.
PTA chairwoman Lynne Johnston said the rider's death had devastated organisers.
"Our hearts go out to this man's family and friends as they deal with the loss of their husband, father, colleague and friend.
"Our focus at this time is to support the family and those affected by this tragic accident."
She said the two riders who had to be airlifted due to the remoteness of the area were injured in single-bike accidents.
Other injuries ranged from a broken collarbone and a sprained wrist to cuts and grazes.
"The Tokomairiro High School PTA community thank all those members of the community for their support of this event, St John for their tireless work, and the rescue helicopter and police for dealing with this very sad situation."
Lindsay Roy's wife, Victoria — a teacher aide at Riversdale School — could not be contacted for comment yesterday.
However, principal Kay Stevens said the school and wider Riversdale community was "shocked and saddened" by the tragic incident.
Police said the death had been referred to the coroner, and inquiries were continuing into the circumstances of the crashes.