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World MTB champion Greg Minnaar's Top SA Trails

Helen Wallace

Homegrown mountain bike champion, Greg Minnaar, might be an international sporting hero, but he still loves SA trails. Here are the ones he recommends to get your adrenaline pumping.

When he made his professional debut when he was just 19, no one knew just how great mountain bike champion, Greg Minnaar, would be. He is now one of the most decorated and accomplished athletes in his field and races for the Santa Cruz Syndicate.  

 

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At age 21, Greg took first place at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in Switzerland. Nine years later, he would take home the trophy again, as well as the following year where he won in his home town of Pietermaritzburg. He has now acquired 11 World Championship medals as well as a host of other achievements in his sport. What a legend! 

 

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Greg Minnaar’s job as a pro sportsman means that he is always on the move. But, when he comes home, he still enjoys riding the local trails where he first learnt, and honed, his skills. Here are the ones he loves and recommends for an adrenaline-pumping downhill experience. 

 

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Cascades Mountain Bike Park, Pietermaritzburg, KZN 

The Cascades is the hub of mountain biking in the KZN region and has hosted several world cup championships. Greg admits that this trail is probably his favourite and the most underrated one in SA (and not just because it’s in his home town, either!). It boasts a variety of different trails and has a lot of length to it, so you won’t get bored in a hurry! 

 

Hellsend Trail Centre + Dirt Compound, Stellenbosch, WP 

Greg says that, while this doesn’t have quite the same length or diversity in terrain. But what it does have is a 1.3-kilometre flow trail (plus many other downhill tracks) an amazing jump setup and a very cool vibe. Hellsend caters to riders regardless of their experience level and is considered to be one of the best gravity riding destinations in SA.  

 

Not from ‘Maritzburg or the Mother City? Check these trails out: 

 

3 Silos MTB Park, East London 

New (or new-ish) to mountain biking and want to test your stamina and skillset? The trails at 3 Silos are great for beginner to intermediate-level bikers who have a few hours to spare. Home to four purpose-built trails of a world-class standard, each of different lengths, this facility contains natural and man-made obstacles and is in a picturesque location for awesome views while you cruise. 

 

Vlei Park MTB Trail, Johannesburg 

Situated in Rietvlei, Vlei Park is home to an abundance of birdlife and natural beauty. As well as several bike trails. Ranging from 4.5 kilometres for newbie riders to 12 kilometres for those who want to test their endurance, there are plenty of routes to choose from. When your legs get tired, you can make use of their picnic facilities for a much-deserved break to soak up the scenery.  

 

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Need a hit of hydration for your post-cycling recovery? Grab an ice-cold Castle Free to refresh and recharge. 

 

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