CAPTION: Whakatane’s Damon Rees, a shining light on the New Zealand road-racing scene and a rising star internationally. Photo by Andy McGechan,

JUNE 30, 2023: It was with incredible sadness that the New Zealand motorcycling community learned today of the passing of one of its brightest young stars.

Bay of Plenty man Damon ‘Damo’ Rees passed away while in hospital in England, struck down by a medical tragedy totally unrelated to the sport he loved and from which he drew so much pleasure.

The 28-year-old from Whakatane passed away in hospital in the United Kingdom early today (NZ time) with family at his side.

The governing body for the sport in this part of the world, Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ), wishes to express its heart-felt condolences to his family and wife of sixth months, Talia, at this time of hurt and reflection.

“We ask that our motorcycling family take a moment to give respects to an engaging, competitive young man who still had much to give to the sport of motorcycling,” said MNZ general manager Mike Kerrisk.

“The sudden passing of Damon will, without doubt, shock and deeply sadden the motorcycle community both here in his home of New Zealand and on a wider-global scale.

“I have known the Rees family both professionally and personally for some time now and I wish to extend my great sorrow and support for them at this time.

“All who knew Damo would agree that he was such a grounded and respectful young man, as is the whole Rees family, but he came with that rare ability and competitive edge that put him ahead of many when it came to riding a bike consistently fast and consistently well.

“The tough thing to accept from a motorcycling view is that Damo probably still had so much to offer the sport of motorcycling, both on and off the track, and that loss will only be truly realised as time goes on.

“This family has given their lives to the sport and business of motorcycling and we as a motorcycling community can only say to them that we walk with you through this sad time and offer our support in any way possible.”

His family posted on social media: “He fought an extremely hard battle to overcome his illness; but passed in the early hours of the morning surrounded by a lot of love.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support and messages.

“It is an extremely hard time for the family and we would appreciate if their privacy could be respected as they navigate this time.”

His wife, Talia Rees, today confirmed his death on social media, saying “I am heartbroken. I love you Damon Rees – you are now my guardian angel”.

The former New Zealand champion was a rising star on the international scene and racing in the Supersport 600 class in the British Superbike Championships.

Damo – You will be greatly missed.

Damon Stewart Rees: 30.03.1995 – 30.06.2023.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,