Day 2 of racing in the red centre of Australia for the Redback stage race involved two 22km races one a TT and one a mass start race both competed on the same course but with one BIG differentiating factor. One competed under the warmth of the sun and the other under the stars and cold of the desert night. Making for a unique experience in both stages. As well as the racing one of the most appealing aspects of this race comes with the environs in which this race is undertaken. Alice Springs really is a special part of the world to ride a bike. After this mornings TT I took myself on the ‘Simpsons Gap’ bike path a publicly owned 16km of bike path that winds through the stunning outback scenery. For all users of two wheeled machines this part of the world really has so much to offer and is free from the stressors of traffic, draconian road rules or even weather.
In the morning stage it was GC leader and stage 1 winner Scott Thomson who scored another victory completing the 22km mix of singletrack, fire trail and golf cart paths in a time of 53min 40seconds. In second marathonMTB.com team rider Justin Morris finished 1 min in arrears. 3rd place went to local young gun Oliver Hartung who used his local knowledge to hold off Jarrod Moroni from Bendigo.
The thin gaps between the podium positions in the Women’s field remain as such with Carmen De Rooze overcoming GC leader Kristen Gadsdon to take the win in the morning TT stage. This leaves now only 80seconds seperating the riders in the overall classification. With 3 stages remaining the rider who can recover best between these final 3 stages will likely take the overall win. Sophie Marshall rode a solid stage today to take 3rd place on the stage. Full results here.
The evening stage a scratch race on the same course brought with it the unique challenge’s of racing at night. A good opportunity for those with local knowledge to excel. One such person was young Oliver Hartung who calls Alice Springs home and has been racing his first big year of MTB, track and road races around Australia. Hartung showed his skill and local knowledge to gap off myself and just edge out James Downing for 3rd place on today’s stage. Hartung says he “loves this event as it brings people from all around Australia to my local trails and gives me an opportunity to race these interstate riders on the trails I call home”. On form Scott Thomson from Melbourne took the stage win again just ahead of Jarrod Moroni.
The Women’s race including some exciting developments with Carmen De Rooze displaying an increase in form as this race goes on by taking another stage win and claiming the GC lead. Carmen travelled all the way from Bendigo, Vic by car to be at this race. Carmen has raced numerous XCO and XCM events in the past but this being here first stage race she was apprehensive with her expectations for this race but said “the format is so much fun and straightforward coupled with awesome trails it is hard not to be having a great time”. With 2 tough stages remaining the tide is turning in the favour of De Rooze whom now holds a commanding 13 minute lead over Sophie Marshall. Former leader Kristen Gadsdon unfortunately lost close to 30mins on stage4 succumbing to a mechanical.
Tomorrow a 42km daytime stage will test riders on day 3 of The Redback stage race. Smiles are still evident across the board of competitors.