Greg Minnaar's rookie race was a mudfest

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That race board is getting framed, without doubt. (Photo:
That race board is getting framed, without doubt. (Photo:

Greg Minnaar is unquestionably the greatest downhill mountain bike racer of all time.

Despite a punishing international travel schedule for racing, training and promotional duties, Greg spends South African summers at home – in Pietermaritzburg,

His longevity in a sport littered with risk and themed with speed, has been remarkable. Greg recently turned 40 and part of the celebrations included a mountain bike event.

enduro race
Many style points, for this rookie crew, at Greg’s race. (Photo:

Home and a happy hunting ground

The Greg Minnaar Rookie Cup was an enduro race was hosted at Pietermaritzburg's Cascades trail venue, over the weekend.

Pietermaritzburg is a place of significance for South African mountain biking. It was at Cascades where Greg won his 2013 World Championship.

Although Greg is a downhill racer, the enduro format is more accessible to most riders.

enduro race
Greg cleverly kept it clean and sartorial. (Photo: deklandavies)

Getting rookies involved

Enduro mountain biking is like a downhill race, with riders only timed on their descents. But the trails are not quite as technical, with fewer large drops and jumps.

An objective of Greg's event was to encourage rookies' participation in the enduro discipline. A total of 120 riders braved very wet and slippery conditions in Pietermaritzburg - and 71 of those were enduro rookies.

mountain bike
Foot out, flat out. The trails were slick and flat pedals, made a difference, for some. (Photo:

Muddy, wet and wild riding

With most trails in Cascades having a clay surface, the riding was very slippery – which added to the fun element, for many.

When the timing sheets were collated Cameron Curtin (11:14) was the rookie men's category winner, with Jade Davies (12:34) victorious in the women's.

enduro race
Peak fun for the rookies. Laundry nightmare for the parents. (Photo:

Fast or slow - mud was part of the show

Among the pro riders, Matthew Wilkinson (09:36) triumphed in the men's, with Sabine Thies (12:04) winning the women's.

Beyond the thrill of participating and some cool medals, the real win for most of the event's riders was having Greg in attendance.

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