Cape Town - When downhill MTB ace Greg Minnaar was a young rider he looked up to Briton Steve Peat, but today he stands alongside his mentor as one of the greatest riders that the sport has ever seen.
Minnaar’s World Cup win in Fort William over the weekend was the 17th of his career, equalling the 40-year-old Peat with the most ever by an individual rider.
WATCH: Minnaar's winning ride
"It wasn’t ever the goal, it just kind of happened, but it’s really cool to hear," Minnaar told Sport24 exclusively on the fact that he is now being labelled one of the sport’s greats.
Minnaar, 33, is now third in the overall season standings ahead of this weekend’s third round of the World Cup in Leogang, Austria. After having finished 22nd in the season opener in France while riding with an injured thumb, Minnaar feels he is back to something resembling his best.
His performance in Scotland was somewhat out of the blue and there were many - including his competitors - who had written him off.
"Some of the riders were really stoked for me, and I think there were some who were a bit surprised," Minnaar said.
"But going into that weekend the testing had gone really well, my bike was working for me and I knew I was riding well. To beat those guys it was going to take a pretty flawless run, and luckily that’s what I managed to pull off."
The big question now is how far Minnaar can take this season and whether or not he will be able to replicate the Fort William performance in Austria on Saturday and Sunday.
"I move to a track now where I’ve won before. I came second there last time by a fraction," said the Pietermaritzburg local.
"I feel like I’m riding well and there is no reason why I shouldn’t be back up there again this weekend."
The finals of the MTB Downhill World Cup in Leogang will be televised on SuperSport 7 on Sunday from 14:30.