Mark Kuhnell and his daughter Maddison.
Mark Kuhnell and his daughter Maddison.

Far too young to die

IN a cruel twist of fate, a Tweed Heads motocross rider who risked his life on a regular basis for more than a decade, died suddenly on a quiet Sunday morning at a Kingaroy camp-site a month after a serious crash.

Mark Kuhnell was on strict doctor's orders not to race on the third stop of the Queensland National Thunder X Motocross Series at Kingaroy because of his crash at Mundubbera the previous month, in which he suffered bleeding on the brain and spent 17 days in hospital.

The 32-year-old followed instructions and attended Kingaroy only as a pit mechanic and spectator, but he was in more danger than anybody realised and died not racing, but sitting at the side of his bed when he was thought to be through the most dangerous part of his injury.

Despite the best efforts of friends at the scene, Mr Kuhnell couldn't be revived. The area was declared a crime scene by police because of the unusual nature of the death and funeral plans remain on hold while an autopsy is completed.

The Firestorm Motorcycles mechanic was one of four sons to well-known Crystal Creek couple Ray and Shirley and had three brothers Lee, Shane and Simon.

Mr Kuhnell was married to Leah and had a two-year-old daughter Maddison and was described by his friends as a dedicated family man.

His friends and family are now trying to come to terms with the death of the man they loved. Far's long-time friend Brad Leifels said yesterday his phone had been ringing off the hook with people wanting to know what happened to “Far”.

Mr Kuhnell and Mr Leifels met more than 10-years-ago as competitors at a race meet and had been friends since.

Mr Leifels said he was struggling to hold it together yesterday and he said Leah was simply devastated. He described his mate as a typical Aussie bushie.

“He was loud, he was obnoxious, he was outrageous and he was a straight-shooter. If something was wrong he would tell you,” Mr Leifels said.

“He was a typical Aussie bushie. I looked at him and saw me. He was mad.”

Mr Leifels said Mr Kuhnell was the type of bloke who would have a punch up with a fellow rider over a crash, but minutes later would approach the same man in the pit lane and help him with his bike.

He admitted they discussed the dangerous nature of the sport and its consequences around the campfire on the weekend.

“We wanted to die quick, and he couldn't have gone any quicker.”

Mr Kuhnell grew up at Crystal Creek and started competing in bike races at the age of 17 after riding from a young age.

He spent time in Brisbane completing a mechanical apprenticeship before returning to Tweed Heads.

Mr Kuhnell became one of Tweed's great motocross riders and according to Tweed Daily News archives, he had a five-year stint in the open class without losing a race at Murwillumbah in the first half of this decade.

According to Murwillumbah and District Motorcycle Club president Sam Hurley he raced both enduros and motocross competitively across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales winning many enduro races in the Yamaha Sprint Cross, and the Honda Pony Express Series

He came second in last year's Thunder X Series over 30s division and was a regular top three contender at the Far North Coast Interclub Series, Queensland Tri Series, and Sunshine State Series.

“More often than not, Far took home the win at Reedy Creek, Stanmore and Murwillumbah Club days in the A-Grade.”

“He was well respected and loved for his honest and old school approach to life and you could always count on Far to get things done.

“Far will certainly be missed by all his family and friends... He passed living the life he loved.”

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