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.
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.
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.
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.
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.