Australia’s most legendary mountain bike stage race The Redback presented by Ingkerreke Commercial concluded over the weekend.
The Redback provides four days and six stages of some of the most inspiring mountain biking Australia has to offer, racing along the jaw-dropping trails around Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
The event has been running for eight years and has seen a revamp this year with the new name The Redback and a condensed race format. The six stages 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 Anzac Hill
Over 200 mountain bikers from across Australia took part, from the elite to the weekend warriors and everything in between.
The 43km Chifley Alice Springs Resort Stage 6 finale started with a 1.7km circuit through the streets of Alice Springs under a police-escorted peloton before heading out onto the trails. Riders were treated with some superb single track including a brand new section of trail, Stimpsons Track on Undoolya Ridge.
The stage, and the event, concluded on the lawn beside the Todd River at the historic Telegraph Station, adding to the overall travel experience for the interstate riders.
Craig Cooke was once again victorious, finishing in a smashing time of 1 hour, 51 minutes. Two minutes behind him was Ben Hogarth in second place and then 15-year-old local young gun Luke Pankhurst in third.
In the women’s event it was a close race between Holly Harris and Terri Rhodes with Holly proving just too strong and taking the stage win by 37 seconds. Anna Beck from Queensland finished in third.
After four days and six stages of intense, challenging and interesting riding, it was Ben Hogarth from South Australia and Holly Harris from NSW who finished as clear winners at the top of the leader board.
The total time for Ben Hogarth was 7 hours, 47 minutes. Behind him was veteran rider James Downing in 7 hours, 59 minutes, followed by Craig Cooke from WA in 8 hours.
“I loved it today, there’s a lot more single track in the event now and the new Stimpsons Track today was awesome, it’s so nice and flowy,” said Ben Hogarth.
“It’s a great event. I’ve done other stage races in Australia and this is by far my favourite, I’d definitely recommend it. I love that you can ride to all the starts and finishes, so there’s less logistics to worry about.
“And the riding here is like not like anywhere else in Australia, it’s really cool,” Ben Hogarth said.
Holly Harris finished The Redback after 9 hours, 1 minute of riding, over 6 minutes ahead of second placed Terri Rhodes. Third overall female was Kim Willocks from Victoria in 9 hours, 52 minutes.
“I loved today, it was awesome and a good way to finish the event. Today was my favourite stage, the trails were awesome and I was smiling the whole way,” said Holly Harris.
“This is my first visit to Alice Springs. I’ve ridden all over the world and I’ve never seen anything like this, it’s pretty breathtaking.
“The quality of the trails is pretty awesome and there’s so much of it, you can just keep going and going and not ride the same bit.
“The other riders are just fantastic; everyone is super friendly and is out there to have a good time so it’s been really good, I definitely want to come back,” Holly said.
Well done to all competitors who took on the Alice Springs outback trails at the 2015 condensed version of The Redback.
STAGE BY STAGE:
Stage 1 – NT Major Events 50km Cross Country Race – Thursday (AM)
Male winner: Craig Cooke 01:36:09
Female winner: Holly Harris 01:50:18
Stage 2 – Ingkerreke Commercial 300m ANZAC Hill Climb – Thursday (PM)
Male winner: Luke Pankhurst 00:00:44
Female winner: Holly Harris 00:00:59
Stage 3 – Schwalbe 22km Individual Time Trial – Friday (AM)
Male winner: Craig Cooke 00:51:23
Female winner: Holly Harris 01:00:31
Stage 4 – Cyclecover 22km Night Race – Friday (AM)
Male winner: Craig Cooke 00:53:27
Female winner: Holly Harris 01:03:09
Stage 5 – Lasseters Hotel 50km Cross Country Race – Saturday (AM)
Male winner: Ben Hogarth 02:27:51
Female winner: Anna Beck 02:56:55
Stage 6 – Chifley Alice Springs Resort 45km Cross Country Race – Sunday (AM)
Male winner: Craig Cooke 01:51:32
Female winner: Holly Harris 02:07:41
Click here to view all results from the event.
The feedback on the event overall has been really good, from both local riders and interstate visitors. This is what they’ve had to say.
Craig Cooke, from Western Australia, finished 3rd overall
“It’s a lovely part of the world and the volunteers did a fantastic effort to make it really enjoyable for everyone; it was really good fun and good variety in the stages.
“The local trail builders have been doing a fantastic job to create such a wide network of amazingly varied trails that really keep you on your toes; hats off to the locals who have built them. It shows how a few people putting in a lot of hard work over the years can generate such an amazing experience for so many people coming here.
“The night stage was stunning, you had to concentrate pretty hard to see where you were going but to see the trail of 200 lights of the other riders going through the bush was pretty spectacular.”
Mary Pickavance, from Ballarat, Victoria
“It’s beautiful to come up here for some sunshine and dry trails. I’ve wanted to do this event for a long time and I’ve been really enjoying it. I particularly liked the night stage, it was very unusual riding and quite awesome.
“I came early for the event so I could have a look around Alice Springs and then I’m going to squeeze in a hot air balloon ride on Monday morning before I fly home.”
Leonie Thom, from Queensland
“The single track is just divine; it’s been an amazing event. I came up early to practice on the trails and take photos and see the scenery and I’ve loved it.”
David Speakman, from Alice Springs
“It’s been an awesome week, we love it. I rode trails today I’ve never ridden before. It’s awesome having so many visitors here. I’ve been sharing snakes, lollies and stories with other riders during the race and they just can’t believe how good the trails are here, they’re blown away.
Debbie Rogers, from Warrnambool, Victoria
“The night race was definitely my favourite stage; I’ve never done any night riding before and I had a ball. The event atmosphere has been great, I’ve loved it. Back at the accommodation you get to mingle with everyone and kick back by the pool.”
Check out the photos highlights from the event on the Rapid Ascent Events Facebook page.
For further information on the event visit theredback.com.au