The multiple downhill mountain biking World Champion was the guest on this week’s Last On The Brakes, the official MotoGP™ Podcast
This week’s guest on Last On The Brakes, the official MotoGP™ Podcast, was multiple downhill mountain biking world champion Greg Minnaar, arguably the greatest competitor his sport has ever seen. So, no better man for Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld to debate with over the meaning behind the Greatest Of All Time tag. The 38-year-old South African won his first Downhill World Championship in 2003 and is still going strong today, meaning he’s achieved and done just about everything possible in his sport.
But how did he get on when MotoGP™ Legend Randy Mamola took him for a lap of the Estoril circuit in Portugal on the Ducati two-seater? Well, not great to be honest. Not only was it the “scariest thing” the man who regularly throws himself down mountain faces on two wheels has ever done, but the wet weather threw up a few issues too.
“Randy Mamola offered to take me for a lap on the two-seater,” started Minnaar. “And that’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It was in Estoril, and I remember going down the start-finish straight… it had been raining and there were patches of water on the corners, and he took off down the straight wheelie-ing, and it hit a damp corner, and I’m just holding these two little handles on the tank… I’m quite a bit taller than Randy, so my knees are by his ears, and he’s trying to lean the bike in, I’m trying to lean it out… Eventually, we overshot the braking and went straight. He turned around and says ‘I’ll tap you on the knee, just lean in and have confidence’, and I’m like ‘there’s no way I’m having confidence. I can SEE it’s wet! I can see it on top!’
“The difference between riding a bike off-road where you’re leaning in and you keep your body upright, to a motorbike where you’re trying to lean on the inside, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I honestly thought I was going to die.
“And Estoril has that long straight with the slight bend in, and it felt like we were doing about 400 km/h and I’m just thinking I’ve got no strength holding these narrow little things in my hands, I feel like the leathers… never had to crash in them, don’t know how well they work. Just doesn’t feel like much. It was a great experience to have but my heartbeat must have been at least 200 all the way!
“I’d probably like to do it without knowing what was coming. Then you’d just lean in and enjoy it, ‘yeah it’s fast but this guy’s great’… in the meantime, I’m thinking Randy might have lost it over the years, going into this wet corner – you know, given all the great road experience that I have, which is zero – and I feel like I need to lean the bike the opposite!”
If you fancy a little bit more of this over the weekend then you know what to do – click your favoured podcast platform link at the top of the article to go listen to the fascinating chat with Minnaar. Below are some of the other topics you can look forward to:
– Greg & MotoGP™
– Life on the road & life at home
– Greg had the same start in sport as every MotoGP™ rider…
– From motorbikes to bicycles
– The GOAT of downhill
– Being a South African sporting icon & meeting Brad Binder
– The scariest thing Greg’s ever done: riding a MotoGP™ bike!
– Kenwood Quickfire
– Things you need to see on YouTube!
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