The Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee will host the sixth annual KENDA Tennessee Knockout on the weekend of August 20–21, 2016. The event has become one of the premier off-road motorcycle races in the United States, attracting some of the best racers from around the world.
Tennessee’s Mike Brown won the first two KENDA Tennessee Knockout events and California’s Cody Webb took the title in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2015, Webb had an epic battle with Great Britain’s Jonny Walker to take the win. Walker is arguably the world’s best Extreme Enduro racer so it was a big win for Webb. Walker said that he enjoyed the challenge and vowed to be back with his Red Bull KTM to take on Webb again in 2016. You can expect that these two riders will be joined by a large group of top off-road racers looking to conquer the tough conditions at the TKO.
The 2016 event will take place just one week prior to the AMA EnduroCross event in nearby Atlanta. So it is expected that more of the top EnduroCross riders from the west will be able to make the long trip to the east coast to compete in both events. The expert riders will again be competing for a $10,000 purse.
The top off-road racers from around the world will be invited to compete and amateur riders can race on Saturday with the top finishers earning the opportunity to move on to the Sunday Expert Knockout rounds. On Sunday, the riders will compete in a very tough and spectator friendly multi-round format.
Cody Webb came out on top of an epic battle with Jonny Walker to take the 2015 KENDA Tennessee Knockout win. Photo: Larry Mayo:
Jonny Walker has been almost unbeatable in 2015 but had to settle for second at the Tennessee Knockout. He said he will be back looking for a win in 2016. Photo: Larry Mayo.
Taylor Robert had a solid day, setting the fastest time in two of the Knockout rounds but an early mistake in the main event took him out of contention for the win. But he recovered to round out the podium. Photo: Ryan Brehob.
The Beta USA off-road team of Max Gerston, Kyle Redmond and Jesse Groemm will be competing in this weekend’s KENDA AMA Tennessee Knockout at the Trials Training Center. Despite the large field of World Class off-road racers, all three of the Beta riders are legitimate podium contenders.
Gerston finished fifth at the 2014 TKO and fourth the prior year. “The TKO is one of my favorite races of the year” said Gerston, a native of Phoenix, Arizona. “I like to challenge myself and the terrain is unlike anything we have out west. But I have been doing the hard work and I am ready for the heat and humidity so I think I am ready for a podium finish this year.”
Redmond has proven to be one of the most talented off-road motorcycle riders in the world and has a few podium finishes at major events, including GEICO AMA EnduroCross. The first-year Beta factory rider always seems to be on the verge of breaking through and will be looking to make that happen at the TKO.
Groemm finished second in the 2014 KENDA AMA National Enduro championship to earn a Factory Beta ride for 2015. An injury early in the season kept him off the bike for several months but he is now back on track as evidenced by a podium finish at the most recent round in Texas just a few weeks back. Groemm could be a dark horse for a podium spot in Tennessee.
The UK’s Jonny Walker, multi-time winner of the Erzberg Rodeo and Romaniacs events, has confirmed that he will be competing at the TKO for the first time. He will be facing off against Gerston, Redmond and Groemm as well as a long list of top North American based riders including: Cody Webb, Taylor Robert, Mike Brown, Colton Haaker, Grant Baylor, Steward Baylor, Ty Tremaine, Cory Graffunder, Daniel Milner, Ricky Russell, Wally Palmer and Jordan Ashburn.
Brown is a Tennessee native and he took the win at the first two TKO’s in 2011 and 2012. He showed amazing toughness on both occasions but in 2012 in particular as he recovered from nearly being eliminated in an extremely challenging rock ledge section during the second knockout round. Brown struggled in 2013 to finish seventh and had to miss the 2014 event. So he will be back on his factory Husqvarna looking to defend his home turf. He has two wins already this season on the GEICO AMA EnduroCross tour including a win at the most recent round during the X Games event in Austin Texas so he is as strong as ever.
Haaker competed at the 2011 and 2013 TKO events with ninth and seventh place finishes respectively but he has continued to develop as a rider and is currently tied with Cody Webb for the GEICO AMA EnduroCross points lead so you can count on him to be a threat for the win.
“The TKO is good and difficult and I am returning after a two year absence” said Haaker, who won this year’s King of the Motos event. “I look forward to keeping my Hard Enduro top finishing string going.”
The UK’s Jonny Walker, multi time winner of the Erzberg Rodeo and Romaniacs Extreme Enduros, has confirmed that he will be competing at the TKO for the first time. He will be facing off against Brown and Haaker as well as a long list of top North American based riders including: Cody Webb, Taylor Robert, Grant Baylor, Steward Baylor, Ty Tremaine, Cory Graffunder, Daniel Milner, Ricky Russell, Max Gerston, Kyle Redmond, Wally Palmer and Jordan Ashburn.
Baylor finished a strong third at the 2014 TKO and now as a member of the KENDA-backed AmPro Yamaha team, he is looking forward to the 2015 event. “In 2013, I made the main and learned a lot” said Baylor. “I put in a lot of hard work and that helped me get a good result in 2014. I love riding the rocky terrain and it is nice to do a one off event with no points on the line and just let it all hang out there.”
Jordan Ashburn is a Tennessee native and he has competed in all four previous TKO events. The longtime AmPro Yamaha rider has shown great speed but will be looking for his first TKO podium in 2015.
Daniel Milner is an Australian transplant spending his first season racing in the US. He recently took a big win at the KENDA Full Gas Sprint Enduro series by outdueling Kailub Russell, the current GNCC Champion. This will be Milner’s first attempt at the TKO.
Cody Webb will be back to defend his TKO title and Great Britain’s Jonny Walker has confirmed he will be competing in his first TKO along with the AmPro Yamaha team riders. Look for more top riders to be confirmed as we close in on the event.
A separate Women’s Class has been added for the 2015 KENDA AMA Tennessee Knockout. The fifth running of the TKO will take place on the weekend of August 15-16 at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee. And for the first time, the women will have their own class with a stand-alone main event scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of the Amateur competition. And to make it more interesting, event sponsors have put up a purse for the ladies with the top three taking home $300, $200 and $100 respectively.
The women will have their own designated rows during the Saturday Amateur competition and need to complete the 12-14 mile first loop in order to earn a spot in the main event. The qualified female riders will then compete in a ten lap final on a modified version of the Pro “Short Course”, which is approximately one mile long.
While the Amateur class entries are full, there are still openings for the women to enter. Please contact Catherine Bedley via the TKO Contact page or at 423-942-8688.
Moose Racing will be hosting a dinner for the Amateur day participants on Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of the awards ceremony.
Kenda Tire has teamed up with Seat Time to create a cool contest for 2015 Tennessee Knockout participants (amateur riders) to win a set of Kenda tires. To enter, post a picture or video of your TKO training to Instagram and use the hashtag #KendaTKOTraining.