Tyrone Gilks was just 12 years old when he met US daredevil Evel Knievel during a freestyle motorbike competition in the United States.
The legendary stuntman's assessment of Gilks was blunt.
"You are a really crazy kid," Knievel told the boy, who by that stage was already breaking world records on the back of his small motorbike.
"Death-defying" are words that were often used to describe the spectacular jumps and flips and twists that Gilks performed while hurtling through the air on his bike.
And this weekend, the 19-year-old from Lake Macquarie in the Hunter was hoping to celebrate one of the biggest moments in his career: breaking the world record for distance jumping on his Yamaha 250cc motocross bike.
“When it comes to distance jumping this is by far up there with the scariest, the gnarliest, the most fun things I've done so far," Gilks said on Monday of his impending 100-metre jump at the Bike and Hot Rod Show in Maitland.
"It's pretty insane; you feel like a mini plane flying through the air.”
Gilks had spent the week at the Maitland Showground with his family preparing for Saturday night, when he had to jump more than 94.61 metres.
Earthmoving equipment was brought in to dump mountains of dirt on the showground to form the ramp off which he would launch.
On Monday, Gilks shared a photo of himself clearing a 60-metre gap on his blog with the note: "Hit my distance ramp for the first time in 4 years today and for the first time on my YZ 250 #projectbike ... Happy kid."
On Thursday morning, at about 10.30am, Gilks revved his motorbike to life and flew off the edge of the ramp during another practise run that went horribly wrong.
He had launched at full speed from one ramp but slammed into the front of the dirt landing ramp on the opposite side of the 100-metre divide. He was rushed to John Hunter Hospital and underwent surgery, but died that evening.
"I think he just didn't have the speed to make it," said Rob Paric, the president of the Lakes Motorbike Club, of which Gilks had been a member since he was four.
"I think he was up to about 85 metres [during practise] and he had done it reasonably comfortably in the past, but it just wasn't right this time.
"He's well and truly experienced at this type of thing. It's just a tragic accident that can happen in any type of motor sport."
He said news of the horrible crash began filtering through the close-knit motorbike community in the Hunter, which was reeling after Gilks's death.
"It has hurt a lot of people because Tyrone was just a character. His nature was the best thing about him," Mr Paric said.
"Tyrone just lifted everybody. He always had a smile on his face and he'd make you smile. He was a great kid, very positive with everything he did."
Gilks set his first record when he was just 10 years old, jumping 29 metres in 2004.
His next world record was set the following year when he jumped a distance of 34.1 metres, before later that year he completed a 65cc record at the Newcastle Auto Show in front of more than 500 people.
He was also the youngest person in the world to backflip a full-size 85cc motorcycle.
He was soon invited to ride at the annual World Evel Knievel Day in Montana in the US, where he jumped 51.51 metres on an 85cc bike.
But he also knew the dangers involved in his line of sport.
In 2010 after a jump in Braidwood, Gilks spoke of how wary he was at the time of the wind, which could catastrophically affect his jump.
"I woke up early in the morning and saw that the breeze was going strong," Gilks said at the time.
"I was keeping an eye on those flags, because if I got blown around that could've had a bad outcome."
Mr Paric said the freestyle show on Saturday night would still go ahead as a tribute to Gilks.
"They want to go ahead and do a tribute to him, they're going to do a fly-over tribute," Mr Paric said.
X Games gold medalist Jackson Strong paid tribute to Gilks on Twitter, saying: "You did more in 19 years than many do in a life."
Gilks had been attempting to break the record of former Kiama stunt rider Robbie Maddison on Saturday, and Madison also farewelled his friend on Twitter on Friday.
"Rest in peace tyronegilks. It's a sad day when such a good kid it's taken. #restinpeacetyrone," he wrote, alongside a photograph of Gilks.