The Red Bull Moto Spy crew followed Cody Webb at the 2017 Kenda Tennessee Knockout as he was aiming for his fifth straight TKO win. The FMF KTM Factory Racing rider had to fend off the UK’s Graham Jarvis, the most successful Extreme Enduro racer in the world while competing on some of the most difficult terrain imaginable.
Nearly three hundred riders competed at the seventh annual Kenda Tennessee Knockout and this feature highlights the second and final day of competition when the field was already down to 58 riders.
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.
The Tennessee Knockout (TKO) is arguably the most prestigious American Extreme Enduro and has attracted some of the best known international riders in addition to America’s best. The seventh annual TKO will take place at the Trials Training Center, in Sequatchie, Tennessee on the weekend of August 12-13.
Webb has proven to be America’s best Extreme Enduro racer. In addition to winning four consecutive TKO events, Webb is a two-time AMA EnduroCross champion, has won most of the major US Extreme races including the Last Dog Standing and King of the Motos. He is also the only American so far to make the podium at the Erzberg Rodeo with a second place finish in 2016 and third in 2017. And those TKO wins have come against some stiff competition including Taylor Robert, Colton Haaker, Mike Brown and some of the best international Extreme racers. The UK’s Jonny Walker and South Africa’s Wade Young have both put up valiant fights in the past two years but Webb still prevailed. And Webb will be looking to make it five in a row in 2017.
Look for more top riders to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
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.
Check out the 2016 Red Bull TV Tennessee Knockout Show here.
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.
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.
Kyle Redmond (@kyleredmond777) rode his factory backed Beta to the final podium position.
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.”
2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout results
Cody Webb – KTM
Wade Young – Sherco
Kyle Redmond – Beta
Ben Kelly – KTM
Cory Graffunder – KTM
Steward Baylor – KTM
Max Gerston – Beta
Noah Kepple – KTM
Mike Brown – Husqvarna
Quinn Wentzel – KTM
Cory Buttrick – KTM
Nick Klapec – KTM
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.