AFTER a difficult upbringing, Aberdare teenager Kane Harding had used the last few months to turn his life around.
The 18-year-old started his dream job constructing stages for the Crusty Demons daredevil motorcycle crew, even getting the opportunity to meet some of his heroes.
He had another job driving trucks lined up, had just bought a new car and had rekindled his relationship with his father, Anthony.
The pair, along with Kane's brother Ashton, would ride their trailbikes through the bush surrounding Aberdare, Kitchener and Kearsley.
"He loved being on his bike and he could really ride," Anthony Anderson said.
"Kane was a daredevil, he had no fear."
After a full day of riding on Tuesday, Kane left his father's Rawson Street home to meet mates before dropping in to his mother's home on the other side of Aberdare Road.
Kane's KTM 450cc trailbike, which was also carrying his mate Hayden Rigby as pillion passenger, did not have headlights as they powered along Congewai Street after dark.
At the same time, a 58-year-old Aberdare woman was driving in the opposite direction before making a right-hand turn to park outside a house.
She told police she swerved to miss a second trailbike but had driven into the path of Kane's bike as it travelled along in the dark.
Kane suffered massive head injuries and, despite being revived twice, was later pronounced dead in John Hunter Hospital.
Hayden was not seriously injured.
"Kane didn't have a real good life growing up and it had only been the last few months that he had started to get his life back together," Mr Anderson said.
"He wanted to actually work and get somewhere.
"Choosing to turn the life support machine off was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
"He's going to be sorely missed that's for sure.
"I still think he's going to walk in the front door in all his motorbike gear."
Crash investigators turned their attention to the second trailbike yesterday after witnesses reported seeing it leaving the scene.
But Kane's step-mother, Kim Anderson, told the Newcastle Herald the bike was being ridden by two friends.
She said the pair had ridden to Rawson Street to alert Kane's father.
Ricky Duncan, who lost his 16-year-old son Jayde Duncan in a horrific double fatality just around the corner on Duffie Drive in 2009, reached out to the grieving family yesterday.
"Anthony and I went to school together and all of my kids, including Jayde, went to school with Kane," Ricky said.
"My youngest, Rick, was riding motorbikes with Kane about half an hour before [the accident]."