The popular Redback MTB stage race is back for 2020 but it’s not a case of rolling out the old girl for another year, the multi-day event has had a significant makeover. With six stages and four days of mountain biking, The Redback returns to Alice Springs with a number of changes on and off the trails.
Previous riders gave their feedback and the event organisers, Rapid Ascent, have responded: new stages, new trails, longer rides and plenty of sunshine—all from a single hotel in Alice Springs. Dates for the 2020 event are Thursday 20 August to Sunday 23 August.
The Redback is known for its easy race logistics and friendly race vibe attracting riders from all over Australia—no rental cars or support crew are required. “Riders can start and finish in Alice Springs without having to book multiple hotel rooms or camp sites. It’s a massive weight off the shoulders so you can just concentrate on riding,” said race director, John Jacoby.
“The event is all about racing some good miles on your bike and then kicking back with participants new and old afterward,” added Jacoby.
New for 2020 is an opening stage of 36 kilometres thundering through Alice Springs’ famed singletrack in the “West Side’ area. This area has witnessed great development in recent years and the new 2020 course will include plenty of the popular new trails as part of the makeover of the event and courses. With almost ‘too much single track’, stage one sets the scene for the ultimate multi-day event.
The schedule for each stage has also changed in 2020 with two racing stages on day one and day three and single stages on day two and four. The revised format provides more time for rest and relaxation (around the pool) between stages while still providing plenty of variety and riding action.
Another new addition for the 2020 is the opportunity for the ‘most average’ club or group to win $1,000 cash to top up their supplies. The event has always attracted plenty of social groups of riding friends so this new award for the ‘most-average’ will add some extra fun.
First held in 2008, The Redback will celebrate its 13th anniversary in 2020. Many riders consider the race a dream mountain-bike holiday with most travelling to the Red Centre for a mid-winter escape. The camaraderie forged with fellow riders is unmatched.
“Mountain biking definitely brings people together. You could see it after every stage where people would be comparing stories from the day’s adventures out on the trails. This carries over to the pool, dinner, the airport and all the way back home,” said 2019 Ambassador, Paul Van Der Ploeg.
The race has been designed to be fun and achievable for riders of all abilities with some professionals mixed in. Riders up the front in 2019 were some of Australia’s best including Paul Van Der Ploeg, Rohin Adams, Henry Hackett and Oliver Hartung. Pro mountain biker Brendan Johnston will be leading the charge as official ambassador in 2020.