Stage racing in Central Australia is not a new thing. I remember jealously watching team mates and friends pack up their bags 10 years ago to head out for a stage race at Alice Springs, and they came back raving about raw trails, an amazing event vibe, and thorns. Alice Springs has hosted various iterations of MTB stage races, and Rapid Ascent have relaunched their race, moving the event to August and have changed the structure.
The Redback is a four day, six stage mountain bike stage race. Compared to a marathon race, a stage race can give you a lot more of an experience, and might allow you to take in the local area a bit more. With travel costs the same if you’re racing for one day or 8, it can be a little easier to justify as well, if you’ve got some leave on your hands.
Alice Springs is surrounded by kilometre after kilometre of hand built single track made for mountain bikes by mountain bikers and The Redback makes full use of these quality trails that everyone enjoys so much. Plus, if you plan to stay a little longer, there is more riding to be done, and countless other outdoor activities.
This year’s winner of the ICME Stage Race, Ben Mather from Tasmania, raves about the event and encourages more people to attend.
“Those who haven’t done the event for a while or are yet to do it are definitely missing out,” Ben Mather said. “The locals have put a lot of work into making new singletrack and improving the existing trails and it’s a really good event,” said Mather.
The event was formerly conducted as the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro and although Ingkerreke Commercial remains as presenting partner of the event, race organisers Rapid Ascent decided it was time to revamp the event format.
Subaru-MarathonMTB racer Imogen Smith competed in two stage races in Alice Springs in 2014, including the ICME, and loves the riding in Australia’s centre.
“Alice Springs is a great place to visit and an even better place to ride. In fact the trails there are some of my favourite in the world. I hope the new, shorter format, makes it easier for people to compete in this event, because every mountain biker should get out to Alice Springs at least once.”
The main differences between the ICME and the Redback are:
· Condensed event format to 4 days and 6 stages racing (rather than 5 days, 7 stages)
· Change of dates to August (instead of May)
· Event days that run over the weekend – Thursday to Sunday = less time away from work and family
· Updated stages to include more of the best of the best trails in the region
· The ability to race either all 6 stages or pick and choose just the ones you want to do
There’s still plenty of time to refuel at cafes in the Todd Mall, and see other sights around town.
Jessica Douglas from Victoria finished third overall female in 2014 and will be returning in 2015 as one of the event ambassadors. Jessica is a huge fan of the event and riding in Alice Springs.
“This is not just a stage race, it’s a 5 star stage race – live it up in luxury in your accommodation, race for a few hours, get a massage, have an afternoon nap, eat lunch by the pool… chat with new friends… whatever takes your fancy. So you can see why this event feels like a holiday! Alice Springs 2015, I am back for more fun and awesome trails. The Redback is the perfect event for both adventure and travel,” said Jessica Douglas.
Ingkerreke Commercial is pleased to once again be the presenting sponsor of the event. Ingkerreke (pronounced: In-ger-uka) is an Aboriginal owned, Alice Springs based all trades construction company. The Redback will be held from Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd August 2015, with the event based from the Chifley Alice Springs Resort.
Combine the 2015 improvements with the easy race logistics, friendly atmosphere and quality trails of the old race and this is one incredible mountain bike event.
Entries to The Redback 2015 are now open at theredback.com.au
1. Stage 1 – NT Major Events 50km Cross Country Race – Thursday (AM)
2. Stage 2 – Ingkerreke Commercial 300m ANZAC Hill Climb – Thursday (PM)
3. Stage 3 – Schwalbe 22km Individual Time Trial – Friday (AM)
4. Stage 4 – Cyclecover 22km Night Race – Friday (AM)
5. Stage 5 – Lasseter’s Hotel Casino 50km Cross Country Race – Saturday (AM)
6. Stage 6 – Chifley Alice Springs Resort 45km Cross Country Race – Sunday (AM)