Freestyle motocross rider Jim McNeil, 32, died Sunday morning during practice for an exhibition that had been scheduled to coincide with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The event was one stop on the 2011 Boost Mobile FreestyleMX.com Worldwide Tour; McNeil had been a member of the Boost FMX team for the last nine years.
According to a statement released by Boost Mobile, McNeil was practicing on The Midway at the Texas Motor Speedway when he crashed. He was taken by CareFlight to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Lucas Mirtl, McNeil's longtime friend and agent at LM Action Sports Management, confirmed McNeil's death on Sunday and said he's waiting for more details about the accident. "I'm heartbroken; I don't know what else to say," Mirtl said.
McNeil, known to his friends and fans as "McNeil The Real Deal," competed in motocross events since 1987 and made his X Games debut in 2005. He lived in Phoenix, Ariz., and was a constant presence on the FMX competition circuit, including the Red Bull X-Fighters, Dew Tour and International Freestyle Motocross Association events. He was even better known amongst FMX fans for his performances on the Nuclear Cowboyz tour and standout parts in videos like Powerband Films' 'On The Pipe 5.'
"Jim was truly the nicest rider I have ever filmed and didn't have a bad bone in his body," says Jay Schweitzer, director of the On The Pipe films. "Jim truly put the 'real' in McNeil The Real Deal."
A post on the FreestyleMX.com Facebook page Sunday read: "Today we mourn the loss of Jim McNeil and remember the happiness he brought us all. You will never be forgotten because you were AND still are the Real Deal. We love you buddy."