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The Night Harvest 2018
NEWS

GREG ILLINGWORTH | I HAVE A LION LIVING INSIDE ME

Jun 122018

It's no secret that there's been a huge influx of BMX riders heading out to South Africa to ride in two amazing events over the past few years. Namely, The Night Harvest and Ultimate X. Could it be the all year round Summer weather? Or the attraction of riding at an exotic destination? We catch up with Greg Illingworth to find out more on why South Africa is fast becoming a "go to" destination for BMX pro's from all over the globe.

 

Check out the video collaboration with Endless Mag below as they make the journey out to South Africa to capture the authentic vibe both the country and these two BMX events have.

Let’s be honest, where else in the world can you hang out on a beach in 30+ degree heat with penguins running around?

So Greg – How is that all of the worlds best BMX riders find themselves in one of the worlds most remote locations to ride BMX in South Africa?

I’ve spent the last 6 years collecting dirt on all of them, now I use that blackmail them in to coming to South Africa. Haha! No I’m just kidding... About 6 years ago I went Pro on Mongoose, Monster Energy & Fox. This meant I was traveling a lot more and riding with those teams. After becoming friends with some of the riders on those teams I started inviting them on trips to South Africa while the Night Harvest & Ultimate X contests were on. I knew they would ride in the contests if they were there for filming for a video project anyway. 

The Ultimate X, Night Harvest and surrounding SA mission haven’t always been such an International affair and came from quite humble beginnings ? Tell us how it all sorted out?

After a few years of having a couple more international riders over, the contests got some more coverage and riders from all over the world ask me about them. After some reassuring and putting them in contact with the contest organizers, they were in! In the beginning it was a little difficult getting guys to commit to coming over, but now almost every Pro I meet wants to come over. It also helps that South Africa is so beautiful and the riders get treated so well too.

How did these projects start becoming popular with the global BMX community and how have you seen it develop over the years ?

It’s a combination of seeing how good the Night Harvest jumps are and how amazing South Africa is. When riders see how many rad things there are to do and see in South Africa they all want in. Each rider that comes over and posts photos and videos on their social media pages inadvertently advertises the events and projects for us. Let’s be honest, where else in the world can you hang out on a beach in 30+ degree heat with penguins running around?

The riders come for the contests, but to be honest the experience and the good times is a huge draw card right? Tell us what the riders get up to when not at the events and why you think South Africa makes for what most athletes call the “best trip of their lives”

Yeah exactly, as I said above...the experiences make it so unforgettable. Top of the list would be Boulders beach for the penguins, Table mountain, shark cage diving, animal safaris, snorkeling with seals, Llandudno beach, Lion park, lions head sunrise hike.

As a South African, what is it like to bring your fellow athletes, friends and heroes to your home and show them a good time on their BMX?

It’s such an unbelievable feeling on so many levels. I feel honored and proud to show the international riders how amazing South Africa is. I also know how important it is for the local scene to see these riders and meet them. I love the excitement I see and feel from the locals during and after our visits. I remember how I felt as a kid the first time I saw and met Pro riders. It’s incredibly inspiring.

Do you really have a lion in your back yard?

I have lion living inside me!

Greg’s South Africa top 5's for athletes coming to SA

Spots to ride: The Germiston bowl, The ditches in the Western Cape, The Night Harvest trails, Cape Town central street, the new bowl at the Shred Skatepark.

Places to chill: Llandudno beach, Camps Bay, Boulders beach, Cape Town central, Chapmans peak

Restaurants/food: Kauai, Woolworths, Nando’s, Thai cafe, Clark’s Bars / party vibes: Yours Truly, Aces and Spades, long street area, Melville in general, anywhere that we’re at.

Views/places to See: Table mountain, Chapmans peak, Cape point, Boulders beach, lions head

Truly SA experiences: taking a ride in Tucker’s (Dwayne van Schalkwyk's) Mark 1 Escort, getting hustled in the street by beggars and car guards, no WiFi, bribe a cop, A South African Braai (BBQ)

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