FMF KTM Factory Racing-backed Cody Webb (@codywebb2) withstood a heavy international assault from the UK’s Graham Jarvis (@gforcejarvis) and Spain’s Mario Roman (@marioroman74) to take his fifth straight Kenda AMA Tennessee Knockout win. The American was once again unstoppable on the tough terrain at the Trials Training Center, winning all four rounds despite intense pressure from Rockstar Husqvarna’s Jarvis.
The multi-round Tennessee Knockout started with 250 Amateur entries competing on Saturday in a two-race format that allowed the top thirty riders to move forward to compete in the four round Sunday competition that included twenty nine pre-qualified pro riders from around the world. Jarrett Mohn topped the Amateur competition to earn the AMA Amateur Extreme Enduro Grand National Championship and move forward to Sunday.
The Sunday morning program started with a Hot Lap on a mile long “short course” and Webb started the day off with a 3:53 lap to earn the first starting position for the next Knockout round. Sherco’s Ramon proved a quick learner to set the second fastest time at 4:15. SRT Offroad backed Kyle Redmond was third fastest at 4:17. Jarvis was fourth at 4:18 and SRT backed Cory Graffunder fifth at 4:39.
The second round sent the riders out on a fourteen-mile loop in thirty second intervals and Webb was again fastest with a 1:10:28 lap. Roman continued to impress with the second fastest time at 1:14:30 and Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn (@jashburn7), who is a Tennessee native, was third with a 1:16:16. Jarvis (1:16:25) and Graffunder (1:21:52) rounded out the top five. Fifty-six riders started this round and only the fastest 25 riders moved on to the next Knockout.
Round three, switched from the riders hitting the track by themselves to a multi-rider head-to-head format. The fastest twenty five riders were split into five groups of five but before that, one last rider was added to the mix in a one-on-one elimination straight line dual between the 26th to 29th place riders. Chuck Dulullo earned that final spot to join group five. Webb, Roman, Ashburn, Jarvis, and Graffunder won their respective groups to earn front row starting positions. The second and third place finishers in each group also moved on to the fifteen rider main event.
The main event moved back to the short course and would be a 30-minute plus one lap battle. Webb quickly moved into the lead followed closely by Jarvis and Roman and those three opened a large gap on the first lap. Roman then got stuck in the notoriously tough water fall that had stopped many of the other riders on lap one.
Jarvis kept the pressure on Webb and even managed to take the lead for a second or two a few times only to quickly lose it back. This went on for six laps in what turned out to be an eight lap race. Then Webb managed to open a small gap and squeeze by a few stuck riders while Jarvis took a more cautious wait and see approach that ultimately allowed Webb to extend the gap. Webb took the win after nearly forty minutes of racing while Jarvis finished a little over two minutes back. Webb lapped Roman on the last lap but the Spaniard managed to hold on for third position.
“The day was fantastic, after Erzberg, I felt like I let everybody in the States down by having some arm-pump issues so it was great to get the win,” Webb said. “After training a lot on the EnduroCross course, that paid off because I am used to the high intensity and Graham and Mario are more used to longer events but it feels good to take the win and this one was the toughest yet since Graham pushed me really hard.”
“The Knockout stages are pretty straight forward but that last race was probably the most intense race I have ever done but it was fantastic,” said Jarvis. “I gave it everything I had and it was not enough to keep up with Cody for the whole race so congrats to him.”
Beta’s Max Gerston (@maxgerston) had a pretty quiet day but managed to pass his teammate Ashburn on the last lap to take fourth. Ashburn was right in the battle for third with Roman for most of the race but a few mistakes in the closing laps cost him two spots and he ultimately finished fifth.
Graffunder, Ben Kelly, Mitch Carvolth, Quinn Wentzel and Grayson Gonsalves rounded out the top ten. Gonsalves had made the long trip from Hawaii to compete in the Amateur day and advanced into Sunday so his top ten was an impressive result. Fellow Hawaiian’s Kealoha Estrella (11th) and Chris Satterfield (15th) also made the main event proving that the Aloha state residents know how to ride the tough stuff.
Beta’s Morgan Tanke (@mtanke31) took the Saturday Women’s class win over Victoria Harcy. They were the only two female riders that finished the morning lap and faced off in a main event on a special short course.
2017 Kenda Tennessee, Knockout Main Event Results
Cody Webb, KTM
Graham Jarvis, Husqvarna
Mario Roman, Sherco
Max Gerston, Beta
Jordan Ashburn, Beta
Cory Graffunder, Husqvarna
Ben Kelly, KTM
Mitch Carvolth, KTM
Quinn Wentzel, Husqvarna
Grayson Goncalves, Husqvarna
Kealoha Estrella, KTM
Josh Rooken-Smith, KTM
Noah Kepple, GasGas
George Kowalski, KTM
Chris Satterfield, Husqvarna
Keep an eye on this blog for a video recap within a few days.
A large list of riders from around the globe have confirmed that they will participate in the 2017 Kenda Tennessee Knockout this weekend at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee. American Cody Webb is the favorite but he will have to fend off the UK’s Graham Jarvis, the most successful Extreme Enduro racer in the world, who won the Red Bull Romaniacs for the sixth time. Spain’s Mario Roman finished second at the Red Bull Romaniacs and he too will likely be a threat to Webb’s TKO dominance.
Two of the top Japanese riders are also participating in the TKO, Hiroshi Takahashi and Taku Izumi have made the long trip from Japan to compete with the goal of qualifying for the fifteen-rider main event. And you can add Canada’s Cory Graffunder to the list of international riders that will likely challenge for the podium.
California’s Kyle Redmond finished on the TKO podium in 2016 so he should be a threat again on his SRT Offroad Husqvarna. Arizona’s Max Gerston will be a threat as well on his factory Beta. And if you are looking for the young surprises, Ben Kelly was a relatively unknown rider that raced the Saturday qualifiers last year and made it all the way to the pro main event and finished fourth. And GasGas backed Noah Kepple was a front runner last year before an obstacle took him out of a top finish. And all the way from Hawaii, Casey and Chris Satterfield will be looking to build on top 25 finishes last year. And the local Tennessee fans can cheer on Jordan Ashburn on another factory backed Beta.
Unfortunately, South Africa’s Wade Young had to withdraw from the TKO due to injury as did Rockstar Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker. But Haaker’s #10 bike will be ridden by Dirt Rider Magazine Associate Editor Andrew Oldar, who is a former top Trials competitor that knows the Trials Training Center terrain well.
Below are the riders confirmed for the Sunday program. They will be joined by the top 30 from the 250 riders competing on Saturday.
Joan Pau Segura
Mario Roman (@marioroman74) is one of the top Extreme Enduro racers in the world and just proved that with a second place finish at the 2017 Red Bull Romaniacs. The Spanish rider is backed by Sherco and when his teammate Wade Young, who finished second at the 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout was injured, the Sherco team decided to send Roman over to compete.
The twenty seven year-old Spaniard has several years of Enduro World Championship racing under his belt but has shifted his focus to Extreme Enduro events. Roman already tasted victory in North America earlier this year with a win at the AvandaRocks Hard Enduro in Mexico. This will be his first attempt at the TKO.
The SRT Off Road team (@srtoffroad) includes over twenty riders competing in the top off-road racing series in the US. The team has become a force to be reckoned with as many of those riders are taking wins and competing for championships. For the 2017 Tennessee Knockout, team SRT will have six riders competing with five of those riders pre-qualified for the Sunday program.
Redmond finished a career best third at the 2016 TKO to join Cody Webb and Wade Young on the podium. He has joined team SRT for 2017 and will be aiming for another podium finish.
Cory Graffunder is now in his third season with SRT and has been a top finisher in Extreme off-road races for years now. He will be looking for his first TKO podium finish.
Wild Wally Palmer is a fan favorite that is capable of top results but seems to favor impressing fans with creative lines over results.
Ron Commo III is a former top trials rider that has transitioned to off-road racing and will look to put those skills to use at the Trials Training Center.
Mark Heresco Jr. excels at tough off-road events and will be aiming to qualify for the fifteen rider main event.
Craig Thompson will be competing during the Saturday amateur competition in the 40 plus Vet class with the goal of qualifying for the Sunday competition. You have to love a company owner that is out there testing products himself in the most extreme conditions and then helping to get some of the top riders to the races to test and showcase SRT products.