18-Time Downhill World Cup Champion Greg Minnaar On Tech Pushing The Sport Forward

We catch up with Greg Minnaar to see how the sport of downhill mountain biking is changing with the integration of technology.

When Greg Minnaar isn’t barrelling down a hill and smashing world-records to become the rider with the  most world cup wins in the history of downhill racing, he’s a pretty chilled guy and we recently caught up with him at the the Oakley X-Over Challenge presented by Seartec, proud distributors of Sharp, to find out how technology influences the daredevil’s day-to-day life.

The 33-year-old three-time World Championship holder says that the use of technology is integral to his life, both in his competitive field and his time off the track.

“It plays a major role in everyone’s lives, especially that of sports people’s lives,” emphasised Minnaar. “These days you have to be online and engaging with social media, so interacting with technology in one way or another takes a huge chunk of my life.”

“Looking at the use of technology, we definitely capitalise on it in many ways. Video analysis is really effective now; we use it to help work out how the suspension should be set up, as well as the telemetry of the bikes. I think it’s definitely improved the sport and the companies that are using technology to their favour definitely have an advantage over the competition.””

In terms of how to use social media, Minnaar (who has over 43,000 followers on Twitter) says that using a platform like Twitter is a great way to show your fans a little more to your life, even if it’s not sports-related.

“I think for me the best way to use it is the real way”, explained Minnaar, adding that “showing people what you do in your daily life and expressing that in a condensed and enjoyable way is what it should be for.

Minnaar went on to say “that is the easiest way to organically grow your social media presence,” but Minnaar did emphasise the commitment involved in being up to date with his fans, saying “social media is a beast and it’s ‘on’ all the time, and that’s time-consuming, but technology has helped streamline that in many ways.”

Minnaar (left) competed in the 2015 Oakley X-Over alongside the likes of Wihann Kotze (centre) and Kevin Evans (right).

Minnaar (left) competed in the 2015 Oakley X-Over alongside the likes of Wihann Kotze (centre) and Kevin Evans (right).

The SA athlete, who won his 18th Downhill World Cup crown in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, earlier this month, explained that the right tools allow him to continue his work even when travelling, which is a big part of his career.

“Travelling all the time, I’m around my computer a lot. At least 3 to 4 hours a day behind my laptop. Unfortunately it’s not for entertainment so much, but emails and work, but thankfully I’ve got the time on the road and the devices at my disposal to deal with work while on the move.”

“And I can’t go without my phone, because you can do just about anything you need to on smartphones these days. You’ve got your phone itself, with email, camera, social media, YouTube and games capabilities embedded on it to keep you busy.”

Minnaar also joked about how amazing it is to see the change in technology since beginning his professional career.

“And it’s funny to think; I remember travelling to Japan back in 2000, and seeing this phone that was being advertised there. We thought it was incredible it could take a photo, and now our phones do a lot more than that in not a massive timeline since then, so it’s pretty incredible how I’ve even seen technology evolve throughout the last couple years.”

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