The South Coast was recently honoured by the presence of mountain biking sensation, Greg Minnaar who competed at the recent KAP sani2c MTB race which finished in Scottburgh last Saturday. Minnaar joined the race on day two, not as a competitor, and rode on an e-bike with friends from Pietermaritzburg his home town.
“I rode the Santa Cruz Heckler, an e-bike. We did this for a bit of fun and obviously I didn’t ride from the start.”
He rode with some very new to mountain biking friends, who only got into mountain biking during lockdown.
“There was no ways these guys were going to make it on a regular bike, so I thought I’d ride with them. I have done sani2c multiple times on a regular bike, so wasn’t there to prove anything – just to have a good time, and I thought it would be fun on an e-bike,” he added.
Minnaar flew in from Andorra after a successful season in Europe, and made his way to Mackenzie Club in Creighton where he joined almost 500 other riders. The sani2c is the world’s largest 3-day mountain bike race, however this year it took place on a much smaller scale due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting at Glencairn Farm near Underberg in KwaZulu -Natal, the race takes riders on a 265 kilometre journey to Scottburgh.
Minnaar has won 22 World Cups, had 81 World Cup podiums, three World Cup Series wins and three World Championship wins. He is amongst the world’s best male downhill riders in the sport, so one may have been surprised to hear he was riding day 2 of the
KAP sani2c on an e-bike.
When asked about his 2020 season, Minnaar was happy with the outcome and his performance, however with the corona virus pandemic the season was little different and a shorter.
There were four World Cups that took place, with the World Champs being a bit of a messy race due to heavy rains.
“World Cup season kicked off on a track that I am not particularly favourable on, and I have had a mixed bag of results. I really battled to read the terrain and so I was really happy to finish seventh overall. Then we went to Portugal where I am a little bit more comfortable, and I managed to win a race and come second, a very close second,” Minnaar said.
“That just got that fire lit. I had a broken arm two years ago so I missed a season and my season last year coming back was a bit tough, but this year gave me the feeling that I can win again,” he added. With no plans to retire this year or next year, Minnaar has been training for the last month in Andorra and believes December will be challenging for training because he is such a sociable person, he still has a few good years a head of him and still feels as though he can still win at the highest level.
“When I look back, I started travelling at 16, I won my first World Cup in 2001, so it has been a while. I have loved it, every minute of it. What’s is so cool about this sport, is that we have so many ways to enjoy a mountain bike, or bicycles. We come here and we do 100km of really amazing trail in Africa, and we’re used to racing on the slopes in Europe,” he said.