Sometimes it feels that with all the hype surrounding stage racing in South Africa people just don’t get it.

They don’t get that the UCI World Cup Series and World Champs is like the F1 of Downhill and Cross Country (XCO).

They don’t get that the guys racing it are literally the fastest guys on the planet!

They don’t get that other than the Olympics (which is only every 4 years and only recognises XCO) there isn’t a higher achievement in the sport.

 Photo Credit: Craig Kolesky
Greg Minnaar doing us proud. © Craig Kolesky

When a crowd of 30,000 spectators line up next to a cramped Downhill and XCO track with revving chainsaws and the banging noise of bicycle rims and cow bells – they get it.

When people move to their edge of their seat and jump up and kiss their dog when South African and multiple World Champ and recent winner of most World Cup’s ever, Greg Minnaar, crosses the line to win the World Champs, in South Africa, with a picture of Mandela grafted to his helmet – these people get it.

When people are surprised when a South African makes headlines for leading a Mountain Bike race at the Olympics and ended up finishing just short of an Olympic podium and who owed much of his success to the World Cup series (being a former U23 World Champ himself) – these guys didn’t get it but hopefully that was a wake up call for them. (R.I.P Burry Stander)

 

So, do you even have to ask why the World Cup matters?

 

Here’s your chance to make amends. The 2nd Round of the World Cup takes place this weekend in Australia. The South Africans to look out for are Greg Minnaar, Andrew Neethling and Stefan Garlicki all managing to qualify for the main downhill race on Saturday, 23 April. Live streaming on Red Bull TV kicks off @ 06:00.

The 1st XCO Cup also takes place the next day on Sunday, 24 April with the Men’s Final race starting @ 06:00. (Sorry girls, but a 3am start… Eish)

Danny Hart charges into the finish. © Lukas Pilz
Danny Hart charges into the finish. © Lukas Pilz

How do I watch Red Bull TV?

There are 3 ways you can tune in:

  1. Stream it straight from your computer by pointing you browser here: Downhill (http://www.redbull.tv/videos/event-stream-637/downhill-finals), XCO (http://www.redbull.tv/videos/event-stream-639/cross-country-men)
  2. Downloading the App on you Smartphone or Tablet. Click for Android. Click for Apple.
  3. You can view it on your Smart TV, Media Box, Xbox and PS.

 

In closing, the XCO and Downhill SA Cup is the breading ground for young talent wanting to compete at World Cup level. Those who’ve made it will tell you that’s where it started for them.

The next National Cup event will be taking place at the much raved about course in Port Elizabeth in the Settlers Nature Reserve right in the city. More info here – www.xconationalpe.co.za