Local star profiled on film

2013-08-31 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG-born filmmaker Gary Perkin has captured on film the life and sensational career of South Africa’s world champion mountain bike racer Greg Minnaar.

The 20-minute movie, Greg Minnaar OneLife, was screened earlier this week to coincide with the UCI MTB & Trials World Championships taking place in the city.

“It’s an ongoing piece, but with the world championships taking place here in Pietermaritzburg, the timeline for the film got pushed because people wanted me to show it here,” said Perkin, who was still filming and editing the work in the hours before it was screened at Hilton College on Wednesday.

The teaser line for the film says: “Who is Greg Minnaar? What are his roots? Why is Pietermaritzburg so pivotal in his success? And what is OneLife? We’ll attempt to answer these and other questions about the two-time DH World Champion and three-time World Cup Champion with the OneLife series.”

Speaking about his work, Perkin said: “I started with Greg winning the championships and then cut to his dad talking about when he started riding … He had a passion for riding motorbikes and for jumping cars at places like the Royal Show.”

The film also shows how Minnaar got into the world of mountain biking and how his talent was spotted by Australian Martin Whiteley at a UCI World Cup event in Stellenbosch in 1997. Minnaar was just 16 years old and had been given a special dispensation to ride.

The following year at the same event, but on a different track, he finished 26th.

Perkin’s film also shares Minnaar’s decision to leave Carter High School to compete in Europe, his first contract in 2000 with Animal Orange in the United Kingdom, and his first World Cup podium in Big Bear, California.

Entirely self-taught in photography, Perkin, who attended Alexandra High School, is a passionate rider like the man he has profiled.

He got his first bike in 1979 and 10 years later brought his first single lens reflex camera. He now travels the world photographing people in amazing locations on bicycles.

“For the last couple of years I have been slowly moving into the realm of moving images, but stills are my true love,” Perkin said.

• The video is available on line at https://vimeo.com/gregminnaar/

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