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Minnaar Set To Equal Peaty's World Cup Record

16:56 7th June 2011 by Dirt HQ

Santa Cruz Syndicate’s Greg Minnaar on the brink of equaling Steve Peat’s 51 World Cup Downhill podiums.

Fort William. Greg, Steve, Marc Beaumont, Brendan Fairclough. Probably the night before.

How quickly the World order has changed in the flash of two summer seasons. And we’ve not even reached the solstice. The end of 2009 drew to a close with Hill claiming the series after a very strong year – not that he hadn’t had one the previous season – six podiums out of seven, but still losing the title to Minnaar. We’ve not seen much or heard a hell of a lot of the Australian since then, a podium to begin 2010 and then nothing, except the odd World Championship gold at least.

It’s now a year since Sam went down hard in Fort William and apart from the Karate kid like win in Mt St Anne last year all is strangely under wraps in the Specialized tent. Ahh, Mt St Anne, he did it previously in 2009 too, the year he beat Peaty by three seconds (one of the biggest margins in recent history) yet still the Yorkshireman’s strongest podium after you know what. What? Well he overhauled Nico Vouilloz’s record of World wins…what two years to the day? Similarly all has gone silent for the Sheffield man – well apart from a fifth in this year’s opener. Not bad for a man a year or so off veteran status.

Not exactly fireworks then for the two men who have dominated the sport in one way or other for the past decade. Still, Peaty by his fingernails holds onto one record and Hill another. Give me second while a take in some coffee…yes ok well Hill has the record of dealing out the most thumpings in recent history and like I said the last rider to put more than three seconds into a second place man.

Yer but hold your Aussie horses for just a moment. Greg dumped almost five seconds on Rennie in Canberra in his last championship winning year (that was 2008) and seven on Kovarik in fifth. Hardly the most retiring of characters that’s the last we saw of Nathan, and Kovarik for that matter. Shame. All the while a conservative vibe has surrounded Minnaar, one he confesses to hate. This perception is slightly hard to fathom or pin down, because a thirst for rare adventure in the narrow channels of World Cup racing fortunes only the brave. Maybe that’s why only four riders have got into double figure World Cup wins. No an un-adventurous attitude will get you nowhere in this sport. Gwinn now says he’s out to win every race, Hill has remarked on the need to back off a touch – strange old business that – but hey the facts will will not be erased.

The most chilling of which is Greg Minnaar’s record. Or should I say Steve Peat’s record that he stands on the brink of equaling, unless of course the old school has more in the tank. Mind you Minnaar avant-garde?

Kind of. The South African is on the brink of equaling that fifty-one set by Peaty. Just think a 101 between them heading into Leogang. Even if all the current racers got together they’d struggle to match those stats. And they are incredible figures. Consider them for a minute. Greg has podiumed 36 out of the past 42 World Cups that’s a staggering 86 percent rate in a ten-year period. The great Vouilloz managed 38 out of 50 (76%). Atherton holds 27 podiums of the past 42 races and Hill 25. Good but you know who your money’s on. (NB Gwin has podiumed 8 of the past 11 races)

Yes the old-fashioned tight rope walker once of Honda now of Santa Cruz has been living life on the edge for some time. Ask any racer the difficulty of podium places. Conformist yes but only in that he seems stuck in his winning ways.

Nine World Cup wins for Minnaar since 2008. Yup it does need repeating. In that period even if Atherton, Hill and Peaty clubbed together they could only club together one more between them. Not that they would because that exclusivity now sits in the Syndicate tent – a mighty 101 downhill podiums between Peaty and Minnaar. Minnaar is hauling and it seems hugely probable that he will outdo his team mate at some point if not this then next season. The pair are beautifully balanced right now. One World Championship and three series titles a piece, 17 wins plays 14, same bike same height and similarly nimble with a glass in their hand.

Its no time to be bashful, hell those two will be clobbering Leogang this weekend. One way or another.


  1. Tom_

    Thanks for that, a really nice read – it shows of what truly great substance this sport (our sport!) and it’s athletes are made of.

  2. Josh

    Steve, can you not just write in plain english please?
    Sorry, just saying.

  3. jonesdirtmag

    For example?

  4. jonesdirtmag

    Thought as much. Just to add to the caption folks…this photo is from the friday night before Peaty won Fort William in 2005. I remember it was quite similar business on the saturday….

  5. Hunter

    Steve, you’re the Dylan Thomas of mountainbike journalism. Hard as f**k to understand but some good substance in there.

  6. fanboy

    cheers steve, nice read for those of us who can manage it;)

  7. stevo

    good read. how long can minnaar keep going then? he seems to be at a cruise but hasn’t missed a podium in ages, that includes a wet wild ride at MSA 2010, about the only time i can recall greg relly hanging it out.

  8. Max

    Someone forgot to mention that Hill won scladming with 8 seconds to 2nd place in 2005 haha

  9. Hunter

    I think HIll won’t have a great WC season, but will clean up come World Championships time.

  10. JC

    Hill’s saving himself for Val Di Sol and Champery world Champs I bet. Who wouldn’t be a little apprehensive after a massive crash at Fort William?

  11. Jon

    Greg is an absolute legend, and his stats speak for themselves. They guy has a lot of life left in his career and if the stats dont speak volumes already, I sure by the time he is done there will be little doubt that he is one of the greatest riders the sport has ever seen.

  12. Aidan

    nice to see some thing like this on the website, will we be seeing more of this?

  13. chris

    I agree. Jones writes with intellect and wit and is a joy to read.

  14. sulley

    Great read, well written SJ….

  15. Pauly

    Great article. More of this please.

  16. simon s

    who ever finishes with the most wins podiums, all are great riders and ambasadors of our sport . i dont think there will ever be another peaty minnar hill ,voullias .they have started a great legacy .

  17. steve

    This is the kind of article that used to have me gagging for dirt to come through the door every 2 months, keep it up!

  18. Northernwig

    It’s funny because i still regard Vouilloz as the greatest, but after reading this i feel i should change my opinion!

  19. Dave

    Great article Steve, an enthralling read with some things I never realized. Cheers.

    However I am with the language pedants here too. Dylan Thomas? No, Hunter S Thompson or more likely William Burroughs given your use of punctuation, or lack of it in places. This article, great as it is in its approach and content, is difficult to read at times due to a lack of punctuation. As an example, try these two with and without it.

    Mind you Minaar avant garde?

    Mind you, Minaar… avant garde?

    I found myself on many occasions having to stop reading because I couldn’t follow the flow of the argument. The flow of the prose needs to be punctuated to allow some of us to be able to enjoy the contents more fully. As a journo Steve your readers will get more from your good work if you re-read it, and then get it re-read before it is published, print media or web.
    Looking forward to more, keep it up!

  20. Gravityfreak

    I couldn’t agree more with Dave above. I applaud the attempt and upping the colourful language anti – but this article was just plain difficult to read.
    “yet still the Yorkshireman’s strongest podium after you know what. What?” – yea exactlt “what” are you on about mate?

    “Gwinn now says he’s out to win every race, Hill has remarked on the need to back off a touch – strange old business that – but hey the facts will will not be erased” – eh?

  21. james

    Minnaar might not be the loosest rider out there but thats better because it shows hes been going constantly fast as hell for ages now and has gotten so good that he can ride that fast and still look smooth and controlled when doing it.

  22. raddog

    Nice article. As a spectator it’s my perceived battle between the minds of the riders that I find as fascinating as the racing itself. It’s articles like these that give context and history to the riders performances, and it just adds to the drama. Roll on Leogang!

  23. Fish Monkey

    Yeah, basically, even with some added punctuation, the allusions to other information you SHOULD know is the same as the pretentious bike shop staffer who intimidates begginers for their lack of knowledge.

    It’s an interesting article but the style of writing does detract from it. Unfortunately, I can recall other instances of Steve’s opaque prose which includes product reviews (which become pretty worthless).

    Same great insights but more clear English please!

  24. raddog

    @Fish Monkey – I disagree. Dirt is a mag for enthusiasts. The ‘What’ above should have been clear to anyone remotely interesting in the sport. It’s none other than the biggest event of the man’s career; both something of a highlight and a curse….

    It shouldn’t be necessary to have everything spelt out. To me in that’s kind of article that’s painful to read. Dull and boring.

  25. Bikedog

    Why have editors when your readers so politely critic and encourage you. Personally, once I realised your loose style, I was able to understand the very interesting factual information being presented.

  26. Tim

    As a journalist and South African MTB rider, the language debate is almost as interesting as the subject matter. My 2c worth on both: great info and debate regarding the on-the-bike stuff and a really interesting read so thumbs up for that; when it comes to the words, not sure the writer has quite reached the point where a wannabe wordsmith has converted his thoughts into something that matches his aspirations – Close, but at times he seemed to me to be writing beyond his (current?) experience and/or ability … but as Dave said, a bit of proofreading and it may have allowed readers to concentrate more on the subject.

  27. Mark

    He’s the Jacques Kallis of downhill. Quietly and consistently brilliant without anybody really keeping track of his stats, then all of a sudden you look back & do the math and end up thinking “holy sh#t”. You can see how high he sets the bar for himself; qualifying 4th at Ft William he considers “getting smoked”. Suppose that’s the mentality of those top 3 or 4 guys that helps keep them up there. ps: peaty’s got plenty left

  28. VonDH

    @Mark i agree with you on Peaty’s got a lot left.
    Occasionally you hear remarks about peat’s age,as long as your putting in fantastic results and your sponsors are happy keep at it.
    here’s to many more years from Steve.

  29. Tobias

    great write up, i agree that Greg makes watching a world cup a whole lot more exciting because no mater how loose and pind the younger guys are greg always beats them so they have to push harder, why do you think gee atherton is so ripd and trains so hard? because greg scares the shit outa him

  30. MmmBones

    Greg is the number 1 stunna

  31. WAKi

    Minnaars style is amazing, he’s like a rock on wheels. Hill looks like he’s riding a different track than others, just flying through it – Peaty and Atherton perfectly conform to the bombholes in the track – Minnaar looks like he’s making them!

    Bloody mental solid rock…

  32. jonesdirtmag

    Totally agree, there’s repeated words, punctuation is shoddy…it could be a lot better but answering the phone every two minutes don’t help. I appreciate the criticism however. But overall do you think it’s worth having this type of thing on the news?

  33. Ben

    Steve, I’ve enjoyed reading through it and do like to get a bit geeky with facts n figures and would like to see more like this in the nag or on here please

  34. GDH

    More features like this please. Very informative and interesting piece. Keep them coming.

  35. John

    Steve, keep it up!

    I think that this article represents what is great about DIRT: People who are passionate and informed about the sport we all love delivering great content.

    Sure, there are a couple of sections that could be better – but I’d much rather read an article with a couple of dropped commas from someone who knows how to ride a bike and understands the mentality of the riders, than perfectly punctuated prose from a know-nothing jobbing journo.

    For me, this along with the recent Enduro piece, marks a sort of upswing in the online content of DIRT. The fact that it is all done while you are answering the phone, emails and twiddling shock settings on test bikes (Plus giving it us for free) makes it all the better.

    The stream of consciousness stuff can sometimes be a little hard to follow, but it’s all a part of DIRT’s rich tapestry of different writing styles. Your articles and reviews are still head and shoulders above most other UK mountainbike mags.

    Looking forward to reading more of this sort of stuff during the season…

  36. TomD

    Whatever people might think of your style Steve I think it’s a hell of a lot more interesting having things like this to read rather than just press releases or whatever.

  37. Furaxrider

    Steve, it seems like the Dirt readers have spoken and, whether the grammar was correct or not, we really enjoyed the content! I have an article request though: can you do a bit on some of the top WC racers’ (past and present) and riding styles? Most of us already have a pretty good idea of what their styles are like but it’d be great to see some side-by-side photos write-ups that really personify a particular rider/style. Maybe some interviews from those riders as to how they came to ride the way they do? Please?? I’ll buy you a beer (or several) if you pay for my flight :)

  38. billy

    Good work Jones, I’d certainly like to see more of this on the web!

    How about we do another video showing life in the Dirt office, then folk will really be able to see how little time we all get to do stuff in between emails/phone/delivery drivers/waifs/strays/company visits/gasmen/plumbers/fire fighters/police/landscape gardeners/bike shop staff/tea/coffee/sandwiches/donoughts/meetings/discussions/…

    oh the list goes on…its a bloody miracle the mag gets out the door every month if you ask me!

  39. jonesdirtmag

    Dont you good work Jones me…….. go and find out the real story behind that racer we’re all keen to know who is riding so below par…..

  40. billy

    Don’t you “go and find out” me. It looks wet outside and Austrian day time TV is ever so good you know.

  41. Evans

    The only similarity I can see between Jones and Thomas is their inability to drink more than a handful of ales without falling over. I know this as I’ve drank with Jones and my Grandpa drank with Thomas, we’ve compared notes and agree the similarity is uncanny….

  42. Peter O

    It would be great if you did a league table of who had the most world cup and world champ wins and also podium apearances. Just to see how the current crop of world cup racers compare to years gone by

  43. jonesdirtmag

    Consider it done Peter O

  44. Fish Monkey

    I would definitely rather have the article with issues than not at all!

  45. Ben H

    One of the best reads ever on the website. Admitted, a little extra punctuation would help here and there, but I love the style.
    Loads of useful info, well written, and a clever piece of writing. More of it please! Good for us, good for the sport!

  46. Kevin W

    I think the best thing about DIRT is Jones! Yes his articles are hard as fook to read and sometimes they seem to waffle on a bit. But I think this is because he sees MTB and DH racing as so fantastically great, and you can read his passion in his articles. Keep up the great work. :-)

  47. paul l.

    The TerMINNAARtor is a sledge hammer! When all is said and done with his career – he will stand a lonely man on the precipice of mountain biking lore.

  48. british bruiser

    Great article, like the style even if it was a little hard to follow. Keep it up Steve. Peaty and Minaar are rock solid and deserving of the often over used “legend” tag but Nico is still the main man for racking up all those wins in the shorter time, he just chose to retire when he could have kept on winning. Does that make Nico number 1 “legend” ?


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