KTM will have a strong team of riders aiming to take the 2018 Kenda Tennessee Knockout title. Cody Webb (@codywebb2) and Josh Toth (@joshtoth_) from the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team (@ktmfactoryracing) will be joined under the KTM tent by Ben Kelley (@benkelley530) on the Trail Jesters KTM Racing Team (@trailjesters) mount. And the team will also host Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (@m_letti304). All four riders will be racing the KTM 300 XC-W TPI two-stroke. The TKO will take place on the weekend of August 18-19 at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
Webb, the five-time TKO winner and defending champion is also the current AMA EnduroCross and FIM Super Enduro World Champion. He grew up competing in Trials events on the TTC property and has used that local knowledge of the terrain to fend off world-class talent that has included Graham Jarvis, Jonny Walker, Wade Young, Mario Roman, Kyle Redmond, and Max Gerston to win five straight Tennessee Knockout titles. A broken foot at the Erzberg Rodeo in June has kept him off the bike until this week so this may prove to be his most challenging TKO yet.
Toth is the defending GNCC XC-2 champion and he is currently tied for the lead in the 2018 AMA National Enduro championship. He has had a strong 2018 season with five GNCC XC-2 wins and his first National Enduro win at the most recent event. Toth has won extreme events including the 2017 Tough Like RORR so he will be an exciting rider to watch at his first ever TKO.
Kelley burst onto the TKO scene in 2016 with a fourth-place finish after qualifying through the Saturday amateur program. That combined with other strong results helped earn him the Trail Jesters KTM ride for 2017 and 2018. Kelly has four 2018 GNCC XC-2 wins and currently leads the points. He also backed that up with a win at the 2018 Tough Like RORR. Kelley is certainly capable of a podium finish.
Manuel Lettenbichler is a second generation Extreme Enduro racer. His father, Andreas, was one of the pioneers of Extreme Enduro competition and was a co-winner of the 2015 Erzberg Rodeo. Twenty-year-old “Manni” has had an amazing 2018 season that includes podium finishes at both Erzberg and Romaniacs. He also won the Red Bull Rocks and Logs event in Canada. It will be great to see the German competing at his first TKO.
Look for more top riders to be confirmed in the coming days as we close in on the event.
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.