Designed and built by none other than Dan Atherton in the heart of the Dyfi Valley, in rugged and beautiful North Wales, the Red Bull Hardline is infamous for pushing riders’ skill and daring to the absolute limit. It is, without a doubt, one of the toughest downhill mountain bike races in the world. This year, Greg Minnaar will be commentating, so we hopped on a call with him to see what he thinks about the event, not competing in it, and what he’s currently riding and testing…
Exclusive Interview with Greg Minnaar
BIKERUMOR: On 15th September you head to the Dyfi Valley for Red Bull Hardline, not to race but to commentate. Tell us how excited you are.
Greg: I’m pretty excited. It’s gonna be new for me. I’ve always followed the event. It’s gonna be really cool and I’m really excited to be coming.
BIKERUMOR: How did you get the gig?
Greg: I know Rob Warner pretty well. Perhaps he put in a good word for me, I don’t know. I’m not really sure how it came about exactly, but to be honest I jumped at the chance. I just thought it would be amazing to get a perspective from the commentary booth and I thought it would be really cool to give something new a bash.
BIKERUMOR: Any aspirations for a future career in commentary?
Greg: No! No, not just now, I’m too young! My racing career will have to come to an end at some point but that isn’t just now.
BIKERUMOR: Are you not a little bummed that you aren’t racing the event?
Greg: I’m not too bummed just now, having just come back from injury and what with this being such a risky event, but I know when I’m there I’m going to want to ride. That’s one thing I know. I hate watching sports events, funnily enough. Like for example when I’d go to watch a motocross event or something, I always just wanna be out there on the track doing it myself. It’s just one of those things. I know that’s going to happen.
BIKERUMOR: Have you had a sneak preview of this year’s course yet?
Greg: No, I’m pretty excited for them to release it. If it is anything like last year, looking at the challenges it is going to be pretty exciting to watch.
BIKERUMOR: How are these riders setting up their bikes for this event? Any differently to how they’d set it up for a World Cup downhill race?
Greg: I’m pretty interested to see how they will set the bikes up. I don’t wanna be a couch coach. I’d imagine, judging by how big the jumps are, they will definitely want to ride a lot stiffer a bike than normal. Then again there is the really tricky technical sections so I’m really not sure. It’ll be interesting but basically they’ll need a lot stiffer a bike than usual.
BIKERUMOR: What about wheel choice?
Greg:I would stick to the 29 inch wheel, but I’m sure some of the guys will want to use 27.5, I would imagine.
BIKERUMOR: What bike are you riding at the moment?
Greg: I’m riding the Santa Cruz V10 29, that’s my downhill rig. I’m pretty excited about it, and excited to race it, I mean I got injured on it. It’s been a while since I’ve ridden it. It’s been a work in progress, mainly working on adjusting the linkages.
BIKERUMOR: You helped Maxxis design the Assegai tyre, what was that process like and how many versions did you go through before getting final product?
Greg: We didn’t go through too many versions. It was mainly just a lot of design work. We didn’t go through too many rolls of tyres, and we used existing patterns. Those guys have a tonne of experience, they know what they’re doing. I wanted something that sounded sharp and aggressive, and that’s how I ended up calling my tyre the Assegai! The Assegai is a traditional Zulu warrior spear, the Zulu being the traditional tribe of KwaZulu Natal, the region of South Africa where I was born and raised.
BIKERUMOR: How much bigger and gnarlier do you think course designers can take it before we reach the limits of what riders can safely handle?
Greg: I think Hardline must be testing that. If I look back 10 years, I think we’re reaching a maximum. Back then, I think everyone though that, but the tracks have progressed and the bikes have progressed. A lot of people are talking about tracks not being gnarly enough. But they are similar to tracks we’ve been racing for years. Now I think the equipment and the technology is helping us and making it a lot easier.
BIKERUMOR: Is the technology and equipment making it safer?
Greg: Yeah, I mean, if you look at the sizing of bikes people are now riding a lot bigger bikes than we did 10 years ago. 10 years ago it was all about riding a really small bike, now it’s about being centered on the bike, sitting between the wheels and getting more traction. That’s where we are.
You shredders out there will be disappointed to find that the Hardline track will not be open to the public following the event. Health and Safety, and all that.
Craig Evans’s Winning Run at Red Bull Hardline 2017
Red Bull Hardline 2018 Teaser Video
Check out the official event page for details and way more video, and be ready to tune in on September 15, 2018.