The Interview: Greg Minnaar

Dec 11, 2017 at 14:43
by Ross Bell  





Greg Minnaar - The greatest of all time.





Greg Minnaar. A name, or rather the name that is synonymous with World Cup Downhill racing with a career closing in on bridging two decades at the top, in that time becoming the sport's most accomplished male rider. Sticking atop a sport for so long takes so much more than simply natural talent, a career greater in-depth than the lengthy statistics of wins, podiums, and points could even hint at.

The 2017 campaign showed Greg is still very much at the top of his game and the sport, despite the end of season unravelling. That's racing. Greg knows that better than anyone, and whilst it still feels raw he'll be fired up for next season. We caught up with Greg as he sets his sights on '18:

Minnaar smashed it the place erupted and cold lager fell from the sky.

So we are well into the off-season now, it's fair to say last few races of the year didn't go your way – how do you look back upon 2017 as a season?


It was a good season. It didn't end well but I think it was really cool pushing to develop the new bike, and having such a good season like we did. In the end it was somewhat a bit of bad luck and some good luck, I had that massive crash before World Cup finals... I think I had some luck there but probably used it all!

How did the 2017 overall battle compare to past years, say the likes of Vouilloz in 2001?


It was different, in years past I've more battled through the season. This year I got into the leader's jersey and rode the season out. I lost quite a lot in Mont-Sainte-Anne when I crashed which didn't help things. It was weird. It didn't seem as much of a battle, more just losing it slowly. Everyone had a pretty dramatic season, great results, poor results, weather... I think it made it exciting to watch but really stressful to be involved.

And with the deluge in Lourdes at round one, that somewhat turned the start of the season on its head...


It's not that bad. If you're all in the same weather it's a tough result and tough race, but it was tough for everyone who was going to be contending anyway. It was just trying to gather as many points as possible. People make quite a big deal about trying to change schedules around and everything else. I think it's quite a good system what they've got, all the riders that were contending for the overall were in the same weather – that's all you want really. It sorted itself out after a couple rounds anyway.

A bitter pill to swalllow Minnaar was riding with determination and passion all weekend.

Do you look back on the races and championships that didn't go your way with 'what ifs' or do you accept it's racing and move on?


I must just move on from them as I can't remember very many now! I know there has been quite a few, quite a few world championships, Mont-Sainte-Anne World Champs... Steve and I got some weather at the end. 2004 World Championships we had a mechanical on Honda. You've just got to keep moving on. I look back on it, yes it was horrible and it was tough. It was a problem we were having throughout the year and we thought it was resolved... That's the thing with racing at such a high level there are slight things that can cause issues and unfortunately, it happened on that run!

Downhill is most definitely a mental game, you seem to be one of the strongest at dealing with the pressure and jumping back from setbacks. World Champs at home in South Africa, frame snap in Val di Sole etc... What do you put that down to?


I think it's just focus. I've always thought if you really focus on something you can sort it out or really succeed and achieve what you want to do. You can always turn things around if you really focus on it, I believe it and it's something I've tried to show through racing.

Where did that come from, was that something whilst growing up you took from your parents or?


No, I think it was just something I've had to learn on my own. I'm pretty competitive so when I have a mishap I feel like someone who has been beaten so I need to set things straight to where they should be. I think being really competitive is part of it.

Greg Minnaar and a big wheel rolling through the some big rocks and big holes.

What advice would you give a young Greg Minnaar heading out of South Africa to race for the first time?


Oh man... You know, I stressed out a lot about all the travel at a young age and it really wasn't that bad. I think my biggest stress is that I feel like my five-year plan needs to be done in 3 weeks... So I stress out on time over things not happening quick enough, so I probably would have chilled a bit more because things do happen and it just takes a bit of time. I want everything done immediately and in some ways that is good but I guess in a lot of ways it just stresses you out for no reason.

In 2017 it was the start of a new era for the Syndicate with Loris and Luca joining the fold. What are they like to work and race alongside in comparison to Peaty and Josh?


It's really different. It's been really good, they were rivals coming into the Syndicate and now I think they are really good friends so I think that has been one box ticked. You know in the Syndicate we run things a bit differently so it was nice to see that it worked, I think they've got such different riding styles that they both can learn from each other, and they are. Carrying on from Steve, he is always someone I've looked up to and always someone I've had a good relationship with racing, sharing lines and whatever else with. With Josh, we had such a different dynamic. It was different in many ways but I think having Steve around as 'the coach' as we call him on the team has maintained some of that. Definitely missing Ratty and his shenanigans, but I think as the guys grow things will start to happen, they'll realise how things happened in the past and understand the freedom of the limits.

The team atmosphere seems to have carried over?


I think so, Kathy plays an important role in that. She manages really well, that and having Steve around to keep the social scene alive definitely helps!

Only missing the Leogang podium once in the race s history Minnaar still leads the series by a whisker.

More importantly, can they handle the pace when it comes to the after-party?



Oh yeah, they've learnt to. Initially not, but downhill after-parties have changed a lot... There's not many riders that attend them and the ones that do are pretty loose so it's a tough line to walk! But I think we've got a good combination of racing and partying, we have it pretty sussed. We are serious about racing but you've got to be able to switch off as well!

3 World Cup overalls, 3 gold at Worlds, 7 more Worlds medals, 21 wins, 75 podiums... People might just see the numbers but obviously there is a lot more behind the success than natural talent, what are the major factors you've had to put focus into over the years?


I work hard in the off-season, I always make sure I'm in shape coming in. But to me, that's a given being a professional athlete. That shouldn't ever be an issue. It's tough, it's something I've never really thought about... I just really wanted to race and still really want to race and be competitive so I'm not really too bothered about the numbers. People ask me how many podiums... I didn't know until you just mentioned it. I don't worry about the stats, that is just something that has happened along the way. I think one of the main things is to just keep developing and keep progressing, it's something I take in when I look at Loris and Luca setting up their bikes, how they ride stuff, it's hard you know through so many different areas trying to reinvent yourself each time and I think that is key. To keep with a young sport that is progressing so much over such a short period of time you've got to keep changing things, you can't be content with where you are, bike setup, training... I'd put it to that.

Is there anything you've had to sacrifice over the years to focus on the sport?


To me if you're thinking of sacrificing things, and you know you are making sacrifices then they aren't really sacrifices... A sacrifice to me is something you don't realise that you are doing, you're so focused on what you are, that you are making these sacrifices without even knowing. I'm sure there are many more, but there are a few over the years that I've realised I've missed out on, but at the time I'm so focused on racing and being the best I can that I don't realise I'm missing out.

Greg Minnaar had a disaster of a day crashing and apparently getting disqualified for to reentering the track in the same spot. He claims he hiked back up and may try to protest the decision. With the points race super tight at the front right now even the minuscule 8 points he lost might come in handy at the final round in Val di Sole.

Form ebbs and flows but you've been at the top for close to 2 decades now, have you ever had to search for motivation or are you able to self-motivate easily?


Yeah I do and the biggest time to be searching is after a bad result, or bad season, or bad end to the season... There have been times when I have been, not tired of racing because I don't race a lot, and when I'm back in South Africa I'm really out of the scene. It's completely different and no one really cares about downhill, it's all about marathon racing. I really get to reset and refresh, the thing that I really battle with is when it comes to training. Doing the same training, riding the same forest and trails – that's where I really need motivation. Besides that, racing, I don't need to find motivation, racing in itself is motivating.

We see your parents and the one life crew along at the races as well as some insight into your life in SA in the 'This is Home' Shimano video. How instrumental have your friends and family been throughout your career?


They've been very instrumental. Without my parents making the sacrifice that they made to get me into Europe at a young age, it would never have happened. They helped me get over when I was 16/17. I knew at that point the tracks I was used to racing in South Africa weren't sufficient enough and I really needed to learn to ride roots and rocks which we just didn't have. My friends are so supportive in so many ways, they've been out to quite a few races, coming from South Africa is a long way and it's really expensive, so I do appreciate the guys coming out to support me as much as they do and it means a lot to me. When I'm at home I spend a lot of time hanging with my friends, they're not all into bikes, they don't all ride, they do enjoy watching it and have become big fans of mountain biking. It's a good crew, I think half the separation I have from the sport that has given me longevity is hanging out with guys that aren't really into mountain biking. They do love watching the racing, they sit down for every race we have, support, cheer, and drink... I've been fortunate to have really supportive family and friends.

Have there been any key moments when you've had to rely on them? Tough races, injuries...


Yeah, I think you automatically rely on friends and normally you hang around with them because you can automatically rely on them. Maybe it's the part when you're not feeling as confident as you should be or are feeling a bit down there's is always someone there. I can't think of a time that I have but I'm sure there's been many times where they've been supportive without me actually knowing and that's what family are for. I've got a big network of friends at home, the whole one life crew, yeah it's a good bunch!

Greg Minnaar is the undisputed master of Fort William.

You've experienced the sport's evolution into what it is today, what do you make of its current direction?


We are a point now and who knows where it is going to go. It was kind of like this some years back. We've had steps of progression, suspension has improved a hell of a lot, the frame and the design, all the components have just improved. There's all this talk about the tracks not being technical enough and this and that, but yeah we ride these tracks like Fort William that have been around for years... Go to a section that's technical, the bikes handle better, rides better, you can ride it faster, the suspension, I remember my suspension used to be really slow and soft... now it's really hard and fast and it's just completely different. You ride Fort William, suddenly you're going through a left-hand corner that drops away over some rocks, no matter what year you rode it, it was hard. No matter how they taped it, it was always just as hard. Now you're really carrying so much speed off it you aren't just rolling down the rocks you're dropping off them, so now you've got to slow up to get back side... In the late 2000s even 04/05 I remember going through that corner and it was tricky, now it's tricky because you're going so fast around it that when you drop off you drop off too far. That's solely due to bikes, tires, components, it's still a technical corner... I think people are a bit dramatic when they say that downhill tracks aren't as technical as they used to be. I think we just ride a faster line because we can ride it, we can hold the camber better, we can let off the brakes sooner and just rail out the corner, the bikes just track better. Things have changed a lot, we're just riding a higher pace. I think no matter how technical they make a course it's just going to be a lot quicker nowadays.

A lot of people slate places like Leogang, but do you not think it makes sense to go to these bike park venues since such a large portion of the public ride that terrain?


I think Leogang got quite badly slated this year. There were teams complaining about the man-made rock gardens and I don't really have a problem with it as long as the tape marks the direction going into it well and it's not too dangerous. I think it served its purpose of slowing down the course, we saw this year it was a little bit too fast because they were removed. Leogang, it's going to be the same top 10 roughly that is going to be on any other track... So I always see it being a good race, unfortunately, they don't show all the technical bits, you've got some tricky woods and they're quite high speed which makes it hard. There is a bit of high-speed flat stuff in the middle with some jumps. There is some taping that could make it a little better but generally, I think it's a good venue and I think going to a bike park makes sense. If you want to grow the sport then it needs to relate to people who can see it, there's a tonne of people who ride bike parks and then they know there is a World Cup track there then that just advertises the bike park as I'm sure Leogang do. I think there are many reasons why we go there, I think maybe the TV cameras could be in some different sections to show the technical stuff because there is a lot of technical sections but then again they had some stuff this year that the guys just ripped straight through. It was a bit drier so it's going to happen but that same section in the wet is pretty hard to ride.

If you could make a change to the sport what would it be?


I can't think of anything right now... We've made some great changes in the past, we're in a good direction. I think it's showing. It's exciting, I hear from people all the time that they're watching Red Bull TV and how it was such a great race, and you know it's families, it's not just the husband watching it anymore cause he is into bikes, the wife and the kids are as well. That's important as it shows it translates to a bigger audience and that will bring growth within the industry. I think we are on the right track and I don't think we need to make any major changes, just some subtle changes that will improve what we already have.

Big wheels make the Fort William weather gods angry. Greg Minnaar doesn t care though.

Would you say there is anything the EWS could learn from the World Cup or vice versa?


I think the EWS is a totally different thing. I'm sure there are things they can learn from each other. I think they can work well together, there is a lot of people at EWS who follow downhill but ride enduro. I think it's a great participation sport and downhill is a great racing sport.

You've already got a few projects going on out of racing, have you got any other plans or projects you want to get involved with?



Yeah, I get into all these projects all the time and I have quite a lot going on. I think it's just natural for me to keep working on things but sometimes I take on too much. I found that coming into the season I really wanted to focus on racing, so I pushed aside a few projects or at least got some guys in place to ease the workload. It seems to have paid off. I want to finish racing strong and I know I don't have too many years left but I do enjoy the other side, I enjoy being involved with businesses so yeah that probably won't stop and I'll still be multitasking for a few years but I definitely need to still be focusing on racing, I love it and it's not going to be here for long so I'm going to give it the best I can until I do retire.

Would you continue to work within the industry after hanging up the helmet?


I love the industry, I've got some stuff I work with outside of the industry. But I do enjoy working within it, it's a great industry and I do see areas of improvement on certain things and I've got a few projects I'm working on right now. I think it's cool, it's a nice industry, I love bikes, I love riding so it makes sense to be involved.

The hunter and the hunted. 160 points separates the two.

What are you involved with outside of the bike industry right now?


We founded a jewellery company called Misahara sometime ago, together with Rob Roskopp and his wife. Then we develop property that we run in South Africa, developing and leasing property, that's all the out of industry stuff for the moment!

What are your plans for winter as you set your sight on 2018?


I'm going to try and take some time off and be at home, just finishing up my house so I know I've got a bit of work to do there. I need to relax. I've been travelling a lot and with the travelling I do a lot around racing so I end up being overloaded a little bit. I found this year I kind of fatigued towards the end so I want to take some time off and relax a bit, and then start training at the end of November and get ready for the season. If there are any positives that came from the bad finish to the season it has definitely fired me up to get ready for next. I think that our progression to the 29 V10 was good and I mean we had a bike that was really good this year and I think that it showed, I think we'll make some refinements to it and I'm pretty excited about that. Just perfecting some things, we had some mechanical issues that I think we will be on top of and that just takes some time. I'm looking forward to the season, I think 2018 will be good. We had a great time this year, the whole team dynamic has been good. Every winter I look back on the season and try to adjust a few things, so I'm sure I'll change things up a little. Even when we stop racing we still have all these events, I have a couple things back at home, some charity events, then it's fully relaxed... Whip out the surfboard get some surfing in before getting ready for next season.


MENTIONS: @davetrumpore / @natedh9 / @rossbellphoto




100 Comments

  • + 133
 Great interview from a class act! So cool to see Minnaar's been at the top for almost 20 years now, you can never count him out in a big race. Can't wait for the 2018 season!!
  • + 5
 Yes!!! Agreed.
  • + 52
 minaar is the 007 of dh racing.
  • + 19
 I think "Class act" pretty much sums Greg up, I've had so much respect for him over the years, I've been saying to my mates for years never count him out, even when it has seemed like a dead cert win for Gwin or such.
I still remember thinking "who the **** does this he think he is upsetting the order?" 16 or so years ago, some how he has kept the dream going, in some ways he is the definition of professionalism in others he clearly knows how to let off steam and play just as hard as he works. Either way his consistency in Fort Bill has won me enough in bets to pay for the trips up there every year.
Keep it up GOAT, i'll be there again in Fort William cheering you on in 18!
  • + 6
 @fullbug: in his case not shaken or stir by anything >>>
  • + 41
 Love his comment on enduro. "I think it's a great participation sport and downhill is a great racing sport." Couldn't agree more. Seems like getting good tv coverage would be such a challenge on a 62km enduro course. DH gives the viewer that instant gratification.
  • + 5
 It was a leveled response but I guess we all know what he thinks of Enduro deep inside... anyways, he's a pleasure to watch riding and brings a unique quality to the whole world of gravity MTB.
  • + 22
 I fully agree!
Independently of my riding, I believe DH is the best looking format on a screen. It's intense, fairly easy to cover, simple to understand, and has a "whoa" factor that isn't lost through a flattening screen. Rampage falls into the same category, for the same reasons in my opinion.
If I show my friends a video of enduro and tell them I ride this, they'll be like like " ok , chill mate, must be fun! ". If I show them a DH run, they will be much more impressed by the jumps, the sheer speed etc... And the fact everybody goes through the same run, with the same camera angles make comparisons much easier. I watched a world cup with a friend who knew nothing about the sport, and after 3-4 runs he was enjoying himself and was able to pinpoint differences in riders etc.. Overall this makes for a much more TV-friendly sport than enduro.
And lets be honest, to the noob enduro is not sexy, you see ppl covered in mud, grinding pain faces uphill just to see bits of downhill here and there cause the area is so vast you can track full runs.

In the end it is a bit like for motor sports, the most intense and geographically compact sport dominate: Nascar, Formula1, MotoGP, SX over more tactical, endurance focused disciplines ( Dakar, WEC/LeMans, Enduro MX etc... ).
  • + 6
 DH coverage is getting better but with drones, 3D cameras and all the other techno gizmos maybe Enduro will look less like a participation sport one day. Minnaar makes Enduro sounds like house league.
  • + 2
 @polarproton: I second this. I think enduro is a great sports but I don't think it will ever be a TV-Friendly, as you say. DH is still more exciting and definitely more thrilling to watch.
  • + 7
 We'll see what he thinks of it five years from now when he's racing EnduroWink
  • + 1
 @polarproton: bmx is right there as well, if you like it...
  • - 3
 I just wish they could make the downhill courses more crazy. Like some enduro coures from EWS were insanity compared to like Karins.
  • + 11
 I have the utmost admiration for two athletes: Greg Minnaar and Nino Schurter... Now who would win in an EWS race.. That's an exhibition match I'd pay to see! Wink
  • + 2
 @Spark24: given no mechanicals Minnaar, by 2-3 minutes?
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I guess he still thinks about the moment when he was overtaken by Fabien Barel.

It is two different disciplines and he didn´t say much (=being diplomatic) about it when he was asked in the interview. Both disciplines are a success and I guess that proves both are doing a lot of things right.
  • + 15
 @WAKIdesigns: I've raced enduro against Greg locally, he's a machine, raced blind and beat all the top local enduro guys! The fact that Barel overtook him in an EWS blows my mind. The average rider doesn't realize just how much of a different level these guys are on.
  • + 0
 @listeryu: When it comes to Barel and Greg event, I tend to speculate in the same way...
@SonofBovril: I think there is very little to assume in the ways of how much time Fabien spent practicing on the site and why Greg would be upset about it. However that is the specific of the sport. I can only wonder whether it is the same issue with WRC.

In one way I don't like what Fabien and few other seem to be doing with doing shitty practice before the event, at the same time I find it a bit weird that Greg and Peaty take such umbrage.
  • + 1
 @GOrtho: You are never to old to participateSmile . I like Greg's enduro comment. It is an inclusive format. The fast competitive guys go off the front and everybody else has a fun ride with a bit racing. It the best measure of all around mountain biking skill and its inclusiveness is good for the sport.
  • + 21
 This is a great and very welcome interview. I dunno what it is but I don’t get the same feeling from PB interviews as I do from Vital. For me Vital has the edge on real inside interviews that come off completely honest and feel as though the subject is really talking to me. This is where the two differentiate for me and I hope to see Vital grow stronger from it. Still pretty cool that we get insight like this from whichever url.
  • + 12
 Actually fu k that I know exactly what it is. Every response sounds like it’s been looked over by marketing before being published. Every punch is pulled to please the masses. A bit like my initial comment. Sorry Greg if that’s not so but that’s the way it comes off on PB. Everything is driven by marketing, at least on Vital (and most other outlets) they’re not trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Filthy f*cking salesmen all of you.
  • + 4
 @ThomDawson: I shared a gondola with him and needles in fort Bill a couple of years ago. Had a discussion about exploding carbon rims. His verbal responses then were very measured, but the twinkle in his eyes and the slight smile on his face as he spoke told a different story. Maybe he’s just one of those people he speaks less, but says more, which might not come across so much in print...
  • + 3
 @Thor44: actually, I totally agree with you. I haven’t had the pleasure of speaking with the guy but I reckon you’re right. My beef here is with PB and not Mr Minnaar so just in case he’s mad enough to read these comments, my apologies and I meant no offence. PB is great at the big, corporate, glossy sell-you-shit but not great when it comes to the interviews and insider stuff that I actually care to read. I just can’t read anything here without feeling like somebodies trying to sell me something, usually because they are. So when you get quite a reserved character, as Minnaar can be, the two don’t work well for the reader.
  • + 3
 watch the vital podcast with the syndicate. Way better than this interview
  • + 19
 The guy is a legend in so many ways, ultimate respect for him on and off the bike. He’s one of if not the greatest for more reasons than just riding a bike , his whole attitude and work he does to help others needs commending, as do others in the sport.
  • + 17
 The interview 2: seth rogan, james franco, and greg minnar
  • + 13
 I often try to consider who my favorite DH racer would be. It's a topic of hot debate amongst my friends and I. I'm typically on the side of men like Brendog and Brook because I really appreciate how above most others they just seem like they're having a good time. It's hard for me to forget Danny because I feel like for so long he was an underappreciate underdog and it's been a real treat watching him come into his own.

I always come back to Greg though. As a tradesmen I've always appreciated those in my line of work that I would consider "Mastered." The 50 year journeyman who can solve any problem. If I were to think of Greg in any light it would be "Consummate professional, master of his trade."
  • + 4
 True, I've always described him as the "true professional". Dead serious when it comes to what is his job, he also acts as a fantastic brand ambassador with his public personality, a facette Gee struggled for quite a while. I'd also add he has this serenity aura of someone who has mastered his craft. He knows what he is worth and do not need to talk about it.
I believe him, along with Gee and Gwin have played a big role in the professionalisation of the sport.
  • + 3
 @polarproton: I agree... you see a lot of people lamenting the death of the drunken peaty and rat-boy days... but as the sport matures I don't think that's necessarily such a bad thing. I think these three played a big part in stepping the sport up. Like Danny Hart had to do when he got serious and his girlfriend said it was the first time she'd ever seen his abs... it's these 3 who brought a real professional level of focus and athleticism to the sport. Now if you wanna be a competitor you have to bring your A-game as you would in any other high end sport. With mountain biking there will always be facets of the sport for the rat-boy or brendogs who just wanna have fun and I for one will be right there ready to watch their next video projects. But I think it's good to have this top level contest, that is also pretty TV friendly, that really shows what the bikes and riders are capable of in order to help push and grow the sport. This means more riders on the trails, more trail access and a bigger swath of the riding community who will be able make a living out of it in the future. All good things!
  • + 15
 One last question for Old Greg, Have you ever drank baileys from a shoe?
  • + 3
 What a classic! My little fuzzy peach of a man!
  • + 4
 ..wanna come to a club where people wee on each other?
  • + 15
 I have such a man-crush on Minnar. Class act.
  • + 4
 Haha same, he is a handsome chap
  • + 2
 Definitely has the best head of hair in the game. This thread is weird.
  • + 0
 @rip8569: it's his twinkly green eyes. Honestly my missus takes the piss.
  • + 9
 Dear interviewer, There is one question i really missed!

The next time could you pleas ask Greg what hair product he uses?

Its unreal, he rides a racerun, takes off his helmet and looks like a calvin klein hair model...
  • + 6
 I love the industry, I've got some stuff I work with outside of the industry. But I do enjoy working within it, it's a great industry and I do see areas of improvement on certain things and I've got a few projects I'm working on right now. I think it's cool, it's a nice industry, I love bikes, I love riding so it makes sense to be involved.

YUGE Quote

- Greg Minnar???
  • + 1
 Make Downhill Great Again
  • + 6
 Great interview, but one thing I disagree with: dumbing down tracks IS an issue.

A big part of DH racing is creative line choice. Can't think of any other racing sport, where people drop their jaws like they do, when a racer pulls off an amazing, hitherto unseen line.

This is what we need more to differentiate DH from say downhill ski. In contrast, tracks like Leogang don't provide creative line choice, they are pretty much one-line-wonders.

Give us less fighting for tight times, and more amazing riding!
  • + 2
 You should hit up the vital podcast with the Syndicate... they provide an interesting point of view on this.
  • + 1
 @dhx42: if you're referring to the line choice question around 1 hour 14min, i think it's more that GM states that line choice is difficult to master, not that he'd prefer one-line-tracks.
  • + 3
 Creative line choice ftw! Can't remember the race but having watched the world's best come around a certain line to the riders right, last man down the hill - Gwinny - just comes barrelling over the top of the hill and straightlines/no lines the thing at lightening speed and me and Rob Warner both shout "whoooaaaaa" at the same. Yes.
  • + 9
 #GOAT
  • + 11
 Minaar is good, but John Tomac is the greatest of all time!
  • + 3
 Vouilloz always be for a lot of us. But who cares, just enjoy
  • + 2
 I too was thinking Vouilloz. I still think Gwin has time to surpass both if World Champs success ever comes his way for an extended period later in his career. Until then, you have to go with Nico and Minaar.
  • + 3
 Thanks Greg for this takeaway....


"I think it's just focus. I've always thought if you really focus on something you can sort it out or really succeed and achieve what you want to do. You can always turn things around if you really focus on it".

Right, time to change your personal world anyone?
  • + 6
 Can't wait for the DH season!
  • + 5
 Awesome to see Greg still in the top ranks of the sport. Looking forward to seeing him ride next year!
  • + 2
 I just looked at Misahara’s website out of curiosity because I’m a huge fan of Greg Minnaar. But now my brain hurts. On the one hand we’ve got the GOAT. Santa Cruz Syndicate! Greg Minnaar! The guy that I sit on the edge of my seat in front of the TV to watch him come down the mountain. The guy who pedaled around the block with a pizza on Soho bikes TV with Warner narrating the pizza ride. Yes he’s a class act and always carries himself with extraordinary professionalism. But... “win or loose we’re on the booze” Greg Minnaar. Hangs out with Peaty. You know the guy. But then there’s this other Greg Minnaar apparently that co-owns a high end ( and I mean high high end, the kind of high end that if you have to ask you can’t afford it high end), jewelry company??? With a boutique in the Plaza Hotel??? And one in Neimann Marcus, San Francisco?? Somehow I can’t marry the two images of Greg in my mind. Peaty brews beer and sells bike maintenance products. Got it. Perfect fit. Makes sense. I’d have the same mental ache if Rat boy told us he co-owns a Parisian fashion house. If Rat was starting up weed boutiques in Colorado all would make sense in the world. If he told us he was running a Parisian fashion house my brain would melt a bit trying to piece that together. Don’t mean to dwell on this but I can’t wrap my head around it. We thought we knew Greg Minnaar but really he leads a double life: Greatest downhiller of all time and high society jewelry mogul? Yeah my brain’s doing flip flops. Not because Greg’s involved in other business ventures, but because DH and a boutique in the Plaza hotel that caters to the truly upper crust of the upper class doesn’t seem to go together. Maybe I’m just weird idk.
  • + 7
 I have a feeling Greg has a better business head than... probably any other DHer in history. I don't think we'll see him arrested as a drug mule in twenty years. Grasshopper and the ants.
  • + 2
 @iamamodel: Gracia made quite some money outside mountainbiking too. In one of the videos on his YouTube channel he talked about importing cars from the US.
  • + 0
 @iamamodel: It’s not business savvy sense that gets me. He’s obviously got that going on. It’s the type of business that threw me for a loop. If he was into high end exotic cars, I’d get that. But jewelry??? Jewelry that costs more per piece than a Ferrari? A business that caters only to snobbery and vanity? That really threw me. He never comes off like that. You could say the same about exotic cars but they at least do something other than just look pretty. They certainly push engineering envelopes. I can’t believe I’m the only one who is scratching their head over this. I’m not taking anything from Greg in our world. He’s the friggin GOAT! I’m the biggest syndicate fan. I just don’t see him moving in the world of the untouchables in the off season. Maybe you’ve never been to Mid town Manhattan and seen the kind of people that actually shop in these places. If you did you’d get what I’m saying. We’re talking about people with so much money they believe they’re another species from the rest of us. I just didn’t picture anyone in DH to float in that crowd. They tend to affable accessible people from what I’ve seen. The folks shopping for necklaces in the Plaza hotel are tend to be neither accessible nor affable. Trust me.
  • + 4
 Ok my wife just did a little research on Misahara. Seems that they used the company to start and run a children’s charity to aid severely impoverished children. That fits with my image of Mr. Minnaar. Between the hours I’ve been working, Vernon’s article about the Krampusnacht and Greg’s interview. I had nightmares of the Krampusnacht capturing children to bringing them to Greg’s SA jewel mines!
  • + 2
 @fattyheadshok: It seems to me you may be mistaking two things: customers and people who run a company. The identities of those two groups are often very different. Keeping it with cars, you'll find many people purchasing Ferraris, Lambos, McLarens etc.. without any intention to go on track, appreciating fine craftsmanship or even being remotely able to master the car. For many ( not all ! )it's a symbol. On the other side of the shop, you have guys like Horacio and Christian Von K who live, eat, drink, sleep cars. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't get along with 99% of their customers.
Although odd, it's very possible he is passionate about jewellery and is involved in this business ( which, by essence, only caters to people with extra money). Remember that South Africa is one of the leaders in diamond mining, #1 in platinum ( 74%) and palladium and accounts for ~15% of world's total gold extraction.
  • + 4
 Minaar's hair is also legend. Takes a WC race run, pops the helmet off and it's like BAM. Perfect hair. Every time. Unreal.
  • + 1
 "If you could make a change to the sport what would it be?"
Making it illegal for anyone called Gwin to enter races.

Joking aside it would be interesting to know if Greg relishes the battles with Gwin, or if he wishes Aaron was still racing Motocross.
  • + 4
 He does, there is nothing worse than being competitive and having no competition!
  • + 1
 Thanks for doing the vitalmtb podcast and thanks for talking a bit! Makes some downhill fans(like me) f*cking stoked... Seriously. Amped. As. f*ck.

That said, when I was listening to the podcast I kept thinking how fun the syndicate webisodes were and they were hugely missed(to me) this past year. Im not a fanboy, but Id say you lost huge on advertising because the syndicate vids were way too infrequent this year.... Double edged sword I know. Kicking myself for even saying it, sorry! Thanks for putting it out there though man!
  • + 3
 The Tom Brady of Mountainbiking.
  • + 3
 Definitely one of the better riders of all time! Good interview.
  • + 3
 What a chiller whale
  • + 1
 Be aware, product placing: Stiegl Goldbräu - The real austrian energy drink! :-)
  • + 2
 Doesn't he live in San Francisco a lot of the time now?
  • + 1
 Minnaar is a machine! Never count him out Big Grin
  • + 1
 Yeah, Greg is the GOAT, such an inspiration!
  • + 1
 Still relevant and still a MTB icon after all the years!!!
  • + 0
 These need to be pod casted
  • + 1
 He is the Quiet Riot!
  • - 3
 Can you guys put these on audio so us lazy people can enjoy this content. Way too much reading!
  • + 1
 Give 'Chrome Speak' a go.
  • + 1
 Reading is good for you, give it a try.
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