Sixteen World Cup wins. Four World Cup titles. They are but numbers, but they nevertheless illustrate the utter dominance and also the hard work that goes into his art, his racecraft. Aaron Gwin goes into the 2017 season as the reigning World Cup champion, another series would equal that of Nico Vouilloz (95/96/98/99/00) and three more race wins would match the record of 19 set by Greg Minnaar in Fort William last year. Gwin has ROCKED the sport of downhill.
It’s in the detail that you find some other interesting stuff, that he has won almost forty percent of World Cup’s in the last half dozen years, that his losses to Danny Hart in 2017 accounted to no more than a few tenths, that he won first time out on the YT, one of the least expensive downhill bikes on the market, that the YT Mob was built in a matter of three months.
In the pits you will mostly find a focussed man (obviously) one stepping into and out of fan demands, a difficult place for racers with the continual movement of the crowds that seek a glimpse and chat with one of downhill’s most successful racers.
But it’s at home that you find the other side of Aaron Gwin, the man full of friendly banter, the one who is happy taking time with neighbours in the hills above Wildomar, doing his business at the local Starbuck’s, keeping it simple, engaging in things other than racing such as guitars, singing and Greek.
Gwin goes into 2017 with a cartload of young talent trying to prove themselves. Bruni and Brosnan with one world cup win apiece, Danny Hart, on a roll, and the possibility of some riders introducing 29″ wheels to the game. Gwin seems prepared, but then again a man that has shaken the sport to its core would be.