Greg Minnaar is considered one of the greatest mountain bikers of all time. The South African is a four-time DH World Champion and boasts 23 career victories - but even the best of the best in downhill mountain biking can crash and that’s exactly what happened to Minnaar at the 2022 Val Di Sole World Cup.
After talking about the events in a podcast, Minnaar was approached by a talented cartoonist - and former World Champion in Freestyle BMX - Taj Mihelich. Together, the pair created a short animation film reciting the events of the tragic crash.
Greg Minnaar: Fearless, Almost, by Taj Mihelich
Mihelich was first unsure if Greg would even want to document the story, but luckily he was keen and after lots of drawing, Greg Minnaar: Fearless, Almost was released.
“It was nice to get to know Greg a bit through our video meetings. He was so laid back that it was disarming. A couple of times I found myself nodding in agreement, “Oh yeah, the same thing happens to me on my bike.” But of course, it’s not the same. I was talking about the super smooth flow trail behind my house and he was talking about going full throttle down this year’s extra gnarly Val Di Sole track,” Mihelich tells about the collaboration.
The animation takes you through the events from Minnaar choosing his perfect line on the course, to flying in the air thinking “oh here we go, this will be a good one”, before landing head first onto the trail.
Despite the short, “good” flight, Minnaar is actually scared of flying and that’s why the thought of taking an airlift to the hospital made him do something unbelievable. After a break on the trail, he rolled down to the pits, on his bike.
But it wasn't all smooth sailing after Minnaar got to the pits. In a tragicomic manner, the animation details how Minnaar was then put into an ambulance, but not everything went smoothly with that, as the medics slammed the doors on his legs while he was near choking on a chord inside…
But in the end, Minnaar overcomes his fear of flying.
The video also works as a reminder of the importance of a good helmet - as without one Minnaar would’ve been a lot worse off. The crash left Minnaar with a neck brace for seven weeks and a further month of rehab - but the Santa Cruz Syndicate team rider is confident he’s going to get back to racing in the 2023 season.
[Image credit: Taj Mihelich]
You might also like: