Mountain bikers from across Australia will race along kilometres of hand built single-track in Alice Springs next week as part of The Redback, a four-day, six-stage bike race held around Alice Springs, NT.
All the action begins Thursday 23rd August with a 39km stage and continues with racing each day, finishing on Sunday 26th August.
First held in 2008 and every year since, the race formerly known as the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro celebrates its 11th anniversary in 2018 under the management of event management company Rapid Ascent.
The Redback features four days of racing on the popular Alice Springs trail network and includes three different 40-50 kilometre racing stages, a hill climb up the ANZAC Hill Lookout, an Individual Time Trial and an electrifying night race where competitors race through the night lighting the way with their own lights on the helmets and handlebars.
Many riders consider it a dream mountain-bike holiday with plenty travelling to the Red Centre for a mid-winter escape to enjoy the big blue skies and dusty trails in August.
This year The Redback will be host to over 150 riders, from the recreational to the elite, road cyclists, runners, triathletes, adventure racers, ironmen, locals, first-timers and returning riders.
Canberran rider James Downing is racing The Redback for a sixth time and says he will be aiming for a high finish again, having placed within the top 10 each year.
“In January when I am putting my race calendar together The Redback gets slotted in first. I love racing in Alice Springs! These sorts of trails are my favourite type as they challenge you in every single way,” Downing said.
“It is a must-do for me every year not only from a racer point of view, but also from a social point as well. I love being able to escape a cold winter, ride some awesome trails, hang out with some great crew, relax by the pool after reach stage and as an added bonus come back home with some extra stage race form in the legs and lungs.”
Ben Henderson, 2017 Redback champion said the courses were super fun and the four days tested him from start to finish.
“The Redback is so well-organised and the tracks are amazing, I think the locals have done an awesome job. It’s a unique race, it’s got a really good vibe, and obviously coming out of the Canberra weather, is definitely a bonus, it’s perfect, I really love this race,” Henderson said.
The Redback has been designed to be fun and achievable for riders of all abilities; with those up the front in 2018 some of Australia’s best riders including Jarrod Moroni and former professional road cyclist Justin Morris, Ben Henderson and Kristen Gadson from WA amongst many others. And the mid-field is made up of weekend-warriors who simply enjoy their riding and partake for a new and unique experience in a part of Australia they may not have visited before.
Race Director John Jacoby from Rapid Ascent said he was excited to welcome competitors to the 11th edition of the iconic race next week.
“The trails surrounding Alice Springs are like nothing else in Australia. Anyone who rides the Red Centre for the first time is blown away by the quality and quantity of the trails. The network of hand built single track that weaves its way through this incredible outback landscape is endless.”
All races start and finish within rolling distance of Alice Springs so riders do not need a support crew or a hire car and can stay in the one hotel for the entire event. There is also the flexibility for riders to either do all stage races or pick and choose just the stages that suit them, ideal for working locals.
The nightly presentations and social functions create a great atmosphere, especially as most riders choose to stay together at the Mercure Alice Springs Resort – the official event centre.
For more information about The Redback MTB Stage Race or to enter head to theredback.com.au