In just two short years, it’s become hard to imagine the World Cup circuit without Aaron Gwin in the colours of the YT Mob.
But really they’re both upstarts. Gwin a late immigrant from the world of BMX and moto showing up pros who had been racing mountain bikes their whole lives and YT, a brand undercutting all the founding fathers of the sport and now beating them in its holy church.
Enjoy our full documentary charting their parallel rise to the very top of downhill.
The Rise of Gwin
In ten years downhill has been shaken to the core by one brand and one rider. Having started racing downhill in 2008 Gwin finished top ten at his first World Cup in Mont Sainte Anne on the 27th July that same year. Within a year he podiumed the same race following it up with a podium at Schladming. This was not just an American succeeding on home soil but one who knew how to race overseas.
The seven race 2011 was still a titanic battle between Minnaar and Gwin, the only two to win that year (5 to Gwin 2 to Greg) but the season marked a shift in racing – Minnaar on a seemingly downward curve and Gwin on the move. 2012 started off in a similar mood in South Africa with the local now winning by a few tenths. Gwin went onto another series winning four on the trot whilst doing so and producing one of the guttsiest runs of all time at Val Di Sole with and eight second winning margin.
The end of 2012 saw the sudden and shock split between Gwin and Trek. The fall out was gigantic. Having been so successful Gwin parted ways with manager Martin Whiteley and the great support team. He reappeared in 2013 wearing Specialized colours with a totally new setup. He opened with a twentieth at Fort William and only at round two realised he needed to switch from a medium Demo to a large. The year was right off in which he only podiumed once. Was Gwin a spent force?
No. He rocked back by winning south Africa again in 2014 but simply had no answer for Bryceland in what was a messy World Cup season. By 2015 Gwin was back in the groove dominating Lourdes and blowing people minds on Leogang by winning without a chain. The series was his, another four wins in one year.
And then he did something quite remarkable.