For 2015, the ICME Stage Race has morphed into the Redback – with 4 days of mountain bike racing on the hand-crafted trails around Alice Springs in Australia’s Red Centre. Close to 200 mountain bikers will descend on Alice Springs for The Redback, presented by Ingkerreke Commercial, often known to be Australia’s most legendary mountain bike stage race.
The Redback has run for 8 years under previous names, and for 2015 has been had a condensed race format, providing four days and six stages of some of the most inspiring mountain biking the country has to offer.
Riders will be flying in from interstate over the next few days, coming from every state and territory in Australia as well as 4 international competitors, and racing commences on Thursday 20 August.
The six stages of The Redback are extremely varied, offering up stunning 40-50km cross country stages through to a 22km night race and a 300m climb up Alice Spring’s infamous Anzac Hill.
Reigning champion Ben Mather from Tasmania will be back to defend his title and James Downing from the ACT – who came third last year – will be returning for his third year in a row.
“For me it is the perfect opportunity to escape the dreary winter weather and hit up some of the best single track in the country. Nothing quite beats the stage race lifestyle… riding, eating, sleeping… and chilling out by the pool after each stage. It is simply living the dream,” said Downing.
Rowena Fry from Tasmania won The Redback in 2013, then known as the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro. She didn’t compete last year but will be back to contend the 2015 title, drawing on her extensive experience in cross country mountain biking. Fry was the National XC Champion in 2009 and 2010 but will be up against from stiff competition this year including 3-time XC Australian Champion Holly Harris as well as consistent top performers Terri Rhodes and Anna Beck.
“I’m really looking forward to riding in Alice again. I really do love the trails and there is plenty of single track in your event which suits me. I particularly like the final stage (the 45km Stage 6 from Chifley Alice Springs Resort to the Telegraph Station). Then post-race, Ben [Mather] and I will stay on a few days and drive to Kings Canyon and Uluru. We’ve never been there so it will be nice to relax and play tourist after the event,” said Fry.
Erica Galea from Sydney hasn’t done the event before.
“Mountain biking is my soul sport, I wish I had found it about twenty years earlier. Now I’m making up for lost time doing all the riding I can. I’m looking forward to the night race with my trail LED lights,” said Galea.
84% male, 16% female
Oldest competitor is 72 (Gavin Brown from WA)
80% of competitors this year are new to the event
4 live overseas – New Zealand, Thailand and Timor-Leste
Every Australian state and territory is represented
Victoria is sending the biggest contingent with 48 riders.
The Redback, presented by Ingkerreke Commercial, will be held from Thursday 20th to Sunday 23rd August 2015, with the event based from the Chifley Alice Springs Resort. Competitors can choose to do the full six-stages or can enter the individual stages that suit their schedule.
Alice Springs residents and visitors are encouraged to come along to check out the action. One of the best stages to watch is Stage 2 – a 300m climb up Anzac Hill that commences at 4:30pm on Thursday afternoon.
For entries and further information visit theredback.com.au