Cody Webb continues TKO domination: Wade Young and Kyle Redmond outlast the rest to earn podium spots

Cody Webb (@codywebb2) continued his domination of the Kenda Tennessee Knockout by taking his fourth consecutive win. The Red Bull, FMF KTM rider was never challenged during the four-round competition  at the Trials Training Center that culminated with a multi-lap main event in which he lapped the entire field.

TKO 2016 Cody Webb - photo by Larry Mayo

South Africa’s Wade Young (@wadeyoung55), one of stars of the international Extreme Enduro scene, looked to have the pace to challenge Webb in the final but had to stop to repair a broken clutch perch. In spite of the stop, Young stormed back through the field on his Sherco to take second position.

TKO 2016 Wade Young - photo by Larry Mayo

Kyle Redmond (@kyleredmond777) rode his factory backed Beta to the final podium position.

TKO 2016 Kyle Redmond - photo by Larry Mayo

Fourth position was taken by a relatively unknown twenty-year old Ben Kelley. The Connecticut native had to ride the Saturday qualifiers to earn a spot in the Sunday program and continued to impress all day. SRT-backed Cory Graffunder rounded out the top five.

Former National Enduro Enduro Champion Steward Baylor finished sixth on his KTM. Max Gerston rode his Beta to seventh. Noah Kepple recovered from an early crash to finish eighth. Husqvarna’s Mike Brown finished ninth and Quinn Wentzel had another strong TKO finish to round out the top ten.

Cory Buttrick, Nick Klapec and Wally Palmer were the other riders to qualify for the main event and finished eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth respectively.

The World’s top off-road riders are invited directly to the Sunday program for the Kenda Tennessee Knockout (TKO). One hundred and eighty unqualified Expert/Pro and amateur riders raced on Saturday with the top 29 finishers earning the opportunity to move on to the Sunday Expert Knockout rounds. On Sunday, riders compete in a very tough and spectator friendly four-round Knockout racing format.

The Sunday program started with a Hot Lap on a mile long “short course”. Webb set the fastest time of 3:13 over Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker, who clocked a 3:35. Redmond was third at 3:37. Brown fourth at 3:44 and Young started the day off with the fifth best time at 3:45. A total of forty eight riders completed the Hot Lap to move onto the first elimination round.

TKO round one sends the riders out in thirty second intervals against the clock on the thirteen mile “long course”. Only the top twenty five riders would move on to TKO two. Webb continued his dominance with a fast time of 52:28. Haaker again set the second fastest time at 53:06. Kelly shocked the field again by taking third with a time of 53:46. Young was fourth at 53:54 and Brown rounded out the top five with a time of 55:32.

For TKO two, the format changes to head to head racing with five groups of five riders competing on the long course with four additional challenging sections added. Only the top three in each group earn a spot in the fifteen rider main event. Just as the riders started, heavy thunder showers hit and dramatically increased the degree of difficulty. Webb continued to sail through despite the tough conditions to win his group over Redmond and Graffunder. Young served notice that he was learning the Trials Training Center terrain by winning his group and setting the second fastest overall time over Gerston and Buttrick. Kepple put in a great ride to win his group over Wentzel and Kelly. Brown took the win in group five over Baylor and Palmer finished just in time to start the main event. Amazingly, Nick Klapec was the only rider to make it to the finish in group two. Haaker lost a lot of time making repairs and did not finish before the main event started so he was knocked out of the competition.

When the main event started, Webb took the early lead and was followed by Young, Brown and Kepple. Kepple suffered a high speed crash that took him out of contention on the first lap while Webb quickly pulled away from the pack putting over 30 seconds on Young by the end of lap one. Young broke his clutch perch in a small crash on lap three and returned to the pits to repair it, seemingly ruining all chances of a podium finish as he went a lap down on Webb.

Brown, Graffunder and Redmond all held second at various points in the race while Young charged back through the field setting the fastest lap times. At the same time, Webb lapped the rest of the field at least once, rarely looking challenged by the incredibly challenging course made more difficult from the rain earlier in the day.

Brown pulled out of the race due to extreme fatigue just past the halfway point in the main event leaving Redmond and Graffunder to battle for the podium spots and hold off the fast closing Young, who would ultimately ride past both and into second. Redmond held on for third while Graffunder was forced to stop for water, which allowed Kelley to take fourth and bump him back to fifth.

Webb completed eight laps in just under 35 minutes of racing in the main event (in addition to the two hours of racing during the qualifying rounds), which was a lap ahead of Young and two ahead of Redmond.

“The day went great. The bike felt like a Trials bike out there and hooked up everywhere in spite of the tough conditions,” Webb said. “I got a big gap on Wade but then my pit board showed that he was running the same pace as me and I knew I had to keep pushing hard because he is a bulldog so it was unfortunate that he had the mechanical problem as it would have been fun to race with him more.”

“This was my first time in the US and it was good,” said Young, who has raced all of the major international Extreme races over the past few years with great success. “I think in terms of difficulty, this event is right up there. This format was shorter and high intensity with no place to rest on the track so if you made one mistake, it carried through to the next obstacle. It was a tough so intense that it made you almost sick but it was good.”

“The day was pretty tough but I started the day with third place in the hot lap, which got my day off to a good start,” said Redmond. “I had a crash in the beginning and I fell back and did not realize that I had worked up to second but then I just did not have the energy to fight off Wade at the end but I am happy to get a good result and make the podium because it was a tough day.”

TKO 2016 Podium

2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout results

  1. Cody Webb – KTM
  2. Wade Young – Sherco
  3. Kyle Redmond – Beta
  4. Ben Kelly – KTM
  5. Cory Graffunder – KTM
  6. Steward Baylor – KTM
  7. Max Gerston – Beta
  8. Noah Kepple – KTM
  9. Mike Brown – Husqvarna
  10. Quinn Wentzel – KTM
  11. Cory Buttrick – KTM
  12. Nick Klapec – KTM
  13. Wally Palmer – KTM

Look for a highlight video in the coming days and a full Red Bull TV feature. More information on the air dates will be shared as soon as it is available.

SRT confirms seven riders for 2016 TKO including Cory Graffunder, Cory Buttrick, Steward Baylor Jr & Wally Palmer

The SRT Off-Road team (@srtoffroad) will be well-represented at the 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout this coming weekend at the Trials Training Center.

Cory Graffunder (@corygraffunder), Steward Baylor (@slbaylor5), Cory Buttrick (@cb_121), Mike McGinnis (@mcginnis404), and Wild Wally Palmer (@wildwallypalmer) are all confirmed among the Sunday pre-qualified riders. Joseph Bartziokas and SRT owner Craig Thompson (@srtoffroad) will be competing on Saturday looking to qualify for the Sunday racing.

SRT Off-Road Team at 2016 TKO

Graffunder has been a top finisher at the TKO before and Steward Baylor is a former National Enduro Champion who is capable of a top result in the tough Tennessee terrain. Buttrick is a solid competitor that has had a resurgence of speed since joining the SRT KTM team in 2016 and Wild Wally Palmer is always a crowd favorite due to his go for broke riding style. McGinnis is lesser known but has done well at tough events in the past.

Beta USA’s Kyle Redmond and Max Gerston confirmed for 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout

Kyle Redmond (@kyleredmond777) and Max Gerston (@maxgerston) are two of the most talented off-road motorcycle riders around but often get overshadowed by some of the better known stars.

Both riders have stood on the podium at major races including AMA EnduroCross and they are now looking to make that last surge to challenge for wins. The Beta USA (@betausa) backed riders will be on hand this weekend at the Kenda Tennessee Knockout looking to step out of the shadows.

Max Gerston
Max Gerston’s friendly personality makes him a fan favorite and he is hungry for podiums.
Kyle Redmond
Kyle Redmond is soft spoken but often speaks loudly with his speed and skills on the track.

The sixth annual Kenda Tennessee Knockout will take place on Saturday, August 20th (amateurs) and Sunday, August 21st at the Trials Training Center located in Saquatchie, Tennessee. The world’s top off-road riders are invited directly to the Sunday program. Unqualified Expert/Pro and amateur riders race on Saturday with the top finishers earning the opportunity to move on to the Sunday Expert Knockout rounds. On Sunday, riders will compete in a very tough and spectator-friendly four-round Knockout racing format.

Graham Jarvis forced out of competing at 2016 TKO

Unfortunately, Graham Jarvis  (@gforcejarvis) will not be able to compete at the 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout as he had hoped. The TKO was not part of his original 2016 race schedule but he tried to pull together plans to compete before hosting his G-Force Technical Riding Academy at the Trials Training Center in the days immediately following the event. He was unable to work out all of the necessary details with his team and decided it is better to focus on the Riding Academy.

Graham Jarvis Red Bull Romaniacs 2016 - Photo by Future 7 Media

Jarvis is expected to attend the event to see some of the top off-road racers in the world face off on the challenging Tennessee terrain. The four-round Knockout format keeps the action close all day and allows for great spectating options.

Jarvis will be hosting his G-Force Technical Riding Academy on August 22-25 at the Trials Training Center.

Updates for 2016 TKO competitors: rules, schedule, row assignments

See all the document updates for 2016 TKO competitors:

2015 KENDA TKO Rules and Schedule

Rules and schedule subject to change by the organizer/promoter.

All competitors must have an AMA membership. To apply click here.

Top Japanese riders Hiroshi Takahashi and Taku Izumi aim to conquer 2016 TKO

Hiroshi “Rosh” Takahashi and Taku “ADTac” Izumi (@tac69)  finished first and second in Japan’s premier Extreme Enduro, called G-Net earlier this year. For Takahashi, it was his second consecutive win at G-Net. After seeing media coverage and videos from the TKO, they knew they needed to test their skills on the challenging Tennessee terrain.

With the support of IRC Tire, Beta Japan and Beta USA, Takahashi and Izumi will try to conquer America’s top Extreme Enduro, the Kenda Tennessee Knockout at the Trials Training Center on Sunday, August 21st.

Taku "ADTac" Izumi
Taku “ADTac” Izumi finished second at Japan’s G-Net Enduro and wants to put in a strong finish at the Tennessee Knockout.
Hiroshi "Rosh" Takahashi
Hiroshi “Rosh” Takahashi has had a long, successful racing career and is the two time winner of Japan’s premier Extreme Enduro.

The top Japanese riders will compete against some of the World’s top off-road motorcycle racers including Cody Webb, the three time defending TKO champion and current AMA EnduroCross champion. Colton Haaker, the current FIM SuperEnduro World champion, Tennessee’s Mike Brown, who won the first two TKO events, South Africa’s Wade Young, 2016 winner of Italy’s Hells Gate Enduro and a long list of other top riders. Keep an eye on the results to see how the two Japanese riders fit in.

Women’s class created for 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout

The 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout (TKO) will include a separate Women’s class to compete on Saturday. Women entries will ride a morning qualifier race that they must complete in order to race the Women’s only, multi-lap main event on a special short course in the afternoon.

The ladies will be competing for a $1,000 purse to be paid out to the top three finishers ($500, $300, $200 for first, second and third respectively). In addition, the top three finishers will be invited to compete in the Sunday expert Knockout program.

Rachel Gutish, TKO 2015
Rachel Gutish dominated the Women’s demonstration race in 2015. Can anybody challenge her for the win in 2016? Photo: Larry Mayo

Two of the top female racers, Rachel Gutish (@rachel_gutfish) and Chantelle Bykerk (@chantellebykerk) have earned Sunday qualifications via the Saturday Amateur program in the past so they have proven that they are capable of completing the difficult terrain.

Women riders can still enter by contacting the Trials Training Center.