VIDEO: ‘Deadpool 2’ stuntwoman who died was pioneering motorcycle racer

Joi (SJ) Harris was known for her beautiful spirit and bubbly personality

A stuntwoman killed while filming a scene for the movie “Deadpool 2” in Vancouver on Monday is being remembered as a pioneering motorcycle road racer who lived her life to the fullest.

Joi (SJ) Harris was a true personification of her first name, friends say, as she exuded happiness and had an ever-present smile.

“She played by her own rules and lived her life to the fullest by following her motto: If it’s not a challenge, it’s boring,” said Kim Edwards, who said they were “besties” and she affectionately called Harris her “lil sis.”

“She will always have a place in my heart.”

The BC Coroners Service identified Harris, 40, as the stunt driver killed on the movie set in downtown Vancouver. Spokesman Andy Watson said Harris, a resident of New York City, died at the scene.

RELATED: Ryan Reynolds ‘heartbroken’ after death of stunt driver on Deadpool 2 set

Witnesses said she appeared to lose control of her motorcycle while filming outside the Vancouver Convention Centre and crashed through a ground floor window of an office building across the street.

A memorial of flowers and candles has been set up at the scene in front of the boarded-up window. A message written on one of the candles reads, “Brave, beautiful and free.”

Harris’s Facebook page was updated Tuesday with a statement that called her ”an extraordinary woman with a passion for riding and motorsports. She was known for her beautiful spirit and bubbly personality.”

“She was fearless and relentless in her pursuit of her dream, to ride as a motorsports professional,” the statement said. “She was living her dream, when her life was suddenly cut short while filming as a stunt rider. She will be dearly missed by her race fans all over the world.”

Harris described herself on her website as the “first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned, motorcycle road racing events.”

James Holter, vice-president of the American Motorcyclist Association, said it was difficult to confirm her claim. The group has many African-American female members but does not collect ethnicity information when licences are issued, he said.

“I think her skill, both at the controls of a motorcycle and in representing herself, I think have gone a long way, not just to advance African-American female motorcyclists but all motorcyclists,” he said.

Kevin Elliott, president of the American Sportbike Racing Association, said Harris began racing with the association’s beginner-level Champion Cup Series in 2014 and this year moved up to a “feeder” series that is meant to prepare riders for racing at an expert level.

Harris loved the freedom, the excitement and the adrenaline rush that motorcycles brought her, said Elliott, adding he will always remember her smile.

“She would get off the track and even before she’d pull her helmet off, she’d have a grin from ear to ear. No matter what happened, whether it was good or bad during that race, she would always get off the bike just like she had won the race,” he remembered.

“It’s the pure joy of being able to get out and compete and do your best. She always showed that, every day.”

For the first two years she was racing on a bike that was too big, but when she switched to a bike that was more suited to her size, her talent showed itself to be “very promising,” he said.

Harris hadn’t won yet, but she came in third at a race involving amateurs and experts in West Virginia in May, a proud moment for her, Elliott said. A photo taken after the race shows her smiling next to her bike.

He said the association does not allow tricks on the racetrack and he didn’t know what experience she had doing stunt work.

A spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox said the movie’s production had been shut down on Monday and Tuesday and she couldn’t say when filming would begin again.

Watson said separate investigations of the crash are underway by the coroner’s service and WorkSafeBC, the province’s workplace safety agency. He said the coroner’s report will be released publicly when it is complete.

Just Posted

ELECTION QUESTIONS: How do candidates form their opinions on transit in Surrey?

Who is on the right side of Surrey’s transit debate? That’s for voters to decide come Oct. 20.

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Possible shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Witnesses report what sounded like 4 shots fired Tuesday evening, but that has not been confirmed

5 to start your day

B.C. parents sue after toddler dies in unlicensed daycare, vehicle explodes in Pitt Meadows and more

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The city clerk says 73 people signed up to speak at the hearing that began early Tuesday evening and adjourned hours later with 34 speakers still waiting.

North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina.

North and South Korea say they plan to bid for 2032 Olympics

Moon and Kim announced a sweeping set of agreements including a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Russia’s reinstatement after doping scandal goes to a vote

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to vote Thursday Sept. 20, 2018, on possible reinstatement of Russia.

Most Read