Greg hopes to emulate bike idol

2013-07-17 00:00

THERE is a new mountain biking Greg in town.

Extremely talented Greg Brown, using a seven-year-old, second-hand mountain bike, has qualified to represent the South African juniors at the upcoming Mountain Bike World Championships in the city next month.

He is now well on his way to emulating his idol Greg Minnaar.

The 17-year-old has always either finished second or third, but never first, and those in his corner feel that he could follow in the footsteps of that other Greg if he had the equipment to compete on a level footing against those in his age group.

“He’s achieved what he has on very little. He’s got to where he is on talent and passion alone … he needs the full package that includes the equipment,” said Team Jeep’s Max Cluer, whom Brown races for.

“He’s qualified third in his age group on a seven-year-old, second-hand bicycle. He’s racing against guys who are on bikes that are worth R30 000, R40 000,” Cluer told The Witness yesterday morning at Coffeeberry at Cascades Mall.

Cluer, Brown’s aunt Penny Marshall and Coffeeberry owner Con Malherbe said they wanted to raise funds to help the talented teenager get a bike so he could have a fair chance against those competing in the championships.

The home-schooled teenager was given the nickname “Little Greg” in reference to his hero, world champion downhill cyclist Minnaar, with whom he trains from time to time.

Brown told The Witness he has been cycling for about four years, but only started “proper training” two years ago after being introduced to the sport by his friend Tiaan Odendaal.

Of the legendary Greg Minnaar, “Little Greg” said: “He’s my biggest idol because he’s from our home town.

“He has changed a part of my life, just checking how he rides, how smooth he rides and the way he has always said to me, ‘keep trying.’

“One of my friends, who is also a bit of an icon, is Tiaan Odendaal. He has always helped me out fixing my bike. Sometimes he has spare parts for me, sometimes he makes me pay for them, but he is a good oke, and so is Greg,” he said.

In his years as a competitive mountain biker, Brown said he has broken a few fingers and his collarbone.

He described the broken collarbone as his worst injury to date, and it kept him off the course for six weeks

“I’m fine now. I’ve put some muscle on it,” he said.

Greg was unlike other teenagers, said Marshall.

“He’s so committed to his sport. He eats healthily, which is unlike someone his age. Usually boys of 17 tend to devour everything, but you’ll find him eating well,” she said.

According to Cluer, Brown also took risks on the course.

“He takes lines and turns no one else sees. With a bike like that, he’s going to end up hurting himself.”

Greg showed The Witness his Mongoose bike. A nail holds the brake in place, while the frame was recently welded together.

As much as R15 000 has already been raised to help Brown get a new bike.

Anyone interested in donating to help, can contact Penny Marshall on 082 412 8725, Max Cluer on 083 744 7103, or Con Malherbe on 082 371 4427.

Those interested can also go to Coffee­berry at Cascades Mall to enquire on how to make a donation.

PMB’s cycling bonanza: page 16

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