Mountain bikers from across Australia and overseas will race along kilometres of hand built single-track at Alice Springs this August as part of The Redback, a four-day, six-stage mountain bike race that attracts Australia’s elite riders as well as keen amateurs.
First held in 2008 and every year since – the race formerly known as the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro will celebrate its 11th anniversary in 2018, taking place from 23rd-26th of August in and around Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory.
The event 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.
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 event has become a dream mountain-bike holiday with many travelling to the Red Centre for a mid-winter escape to enjoy the big blue skies and dusty trails in August. Fellow Canberran rider James Downing returns as event ambassador for The Redback in 2018.
“This will be my 6th Redback. My first one was in 2013 and I have been hooked ever since! It is such a great location for racing and riding. 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!” Downing said.
The Redback has been designed to be fun and achievable for riders of all abilities; with those up the front including some of Australia’s best riders, and the mid-field 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.
“This event for me was the ultimate adventure regardless of my lack of fitness, every stage was achievable. The Redback left me mesmerised that you could be only 5km out of town yet feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. It’s the vibe, it’s all about the vibe. I definitely want to do this again,” said Mick Bushell, 2017 competitor.
Race Director John Jacoby from Rapid Ascent said he was stoked to conduct the 11th edition of the iconic race in 2018.
“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 that also offers discounted rates for The Redback competitors.
Entry discounts are available for groups so riders can share the holiday with their mates, and discounts are also available for Alice Springs locals.