The Anaconda MTB Enduro - Red Centre finished Friday morning after five days and seven stages of intense and skilful riding through spectacular terrain surrounding Alice Springs. From stage one on Monday, the pace was on and competition furious between the top riders who are amongst the best that Australia has to offer. The majority of the 264 participants were along to enjoy themselves and just complete the gruelling event that would give them bragging rights.
The rivalry between eventual winner Ben Mather from Tasmania and Matthew Fleming from NSW started from day one with the two swapping the lead throughout the event with the outcome coming down to performances on the final day. Fleming threw everything he had at Mather for 34km and won the last stage but it wasn't enough to take top spot on the podium with the margin being just 30 seconds over the eight and a half hours of racing they did over the week.
The two weren't without a battle and fierce competition from a hot men's field capped off with third place and 2008 winner Adrian Jackson, Shaun Lewis, Perren Delacour, Troy Glennan and Nick Both. Veteran mountain biker Tim Bennett had his last hurrah at the race and is now retiring after what was probably a disappointing week of racing in his eyes due to sickness. A commendable performance to anyone else, he will be missed by the cycling fraternity.
Jo Bennett, Tim's wife, flew the family flag high and won the women's race. A great rivalry and tussle early in the event with Jodie Willett saw Bennett gain momentum as the week progressed. The final margin was 10 minutes with Niki Fisher rounding out the podium.