Brown, a Tennessee native won the 2011 and 2012 TKO events to the delight of his home state fans. The former Motocross champion that has successfully converted to off-road competition can never be counted out for the win in tough conditions. He proved that in 2012 when he recovered from nearly being eliminated in the multi-round knockout format to come back and take the win:
Haaker captured the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship earlier this year so his skills and speed on difficult obstacles are without question. Haaker is also a multi-time AMA EnduroCross main event winner and took the 2015 King of the Motos win. He has competed at several previous TKO events but has so far been unable to make it up onto the podium and will be looking to change that for 2016:
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.
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.
The Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee will host the fifth annual KENDA Tennessee Knockout on the weekend of August 15-16, 2015. The event has quickly become one of the premier off-road motorcycles races, attracting some of the best racers in the world.
Tennessee’s Mike Brown won the first two KENDA Tennessee Knockout events and Cody Webb took the title in 2013 and 2014. 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 2015 event will take place just one week prior to the GEICO 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.
Check out the video highlights of some of the previous TKO events below:
Mike Brown repeated as the winner of the second annual KENDA Tennessee Knockout, presented by Monster Energy but it was far from easy. During the third Knockout round, it appeared that Brown was going to be eliminated from the event. He was hopelessly stuck in one of the special test sections and had his helmet off and steam spewing from his KTM as he tried to find a way up a wet and rocky creak. He needed to finish in the top three in his group and more importantly, finish the loop in time to start the main event.
With the hillsides filled with screaming fans, Brown finally found a way to get through the section and finished out the loop in a qualifying position for the main event. He then took the lead away from Beta’s Cody Webb on the first lap of the 10 lap main event and withstood steady pressure for over thirty minutes before edging away over the last few laps to take the win.
“I thought the race was over for me when I was stuck up in that Creek and I was physically overheating” Brown said after the main event. “But then I realized that most of the other riders were also stuck in the same section so I kept pushing and pulling my bike up the ledges that were slick from the rain that hit just before the start of that third round. The main event was really tough but I managed to keep from making any big mistakes.”
The TKO format automatically qualifies riders from all of the major off road racing series into the Sunday Knockout rounds and there are open slots for non-qualified riders to qualify from Saturday. Forty Four riders started the Sunday program that began with a single hot lap around the “short course”, which took Webb just over three minutes and fifteen seconds to complete. Brown, Kyle Redmond and Colton Haaker were all very close with 3:27, 3:28 and 3:29 runs. Husqvarna’s Andrew Delong was fifth with a 3:36.
The second round would have the riders ride another lap against the clock but this time on the 13.5 mile “long course”. The riders started in 15 second intervals and Brown caught Webb and the two exchanged the lead several times and crossed the finish line with Brown just ahead physically, which meant he beat out Webb by 16 seconds with a time of 44:28. Bobbitt, Fahringer, Delong, Jordan Ashburn, Whibley, Haaker, Brad Bakken, Redmond, Max Gerston, Zach Love rounded out the top ten. Only the top 25 riders would move on and now be placed into groups of five for a head to head race for another lap around the long course but with a few additional “challenge” sections added.
An intense thunder shower hit just at the end of the second round, which made it very difficult for some of the last riders on the loop and would make round three much more challenging. For each group of five riders, only the top three would move on to the 15 rider final. This was the round that would prove extremely difficult as the rain combined with the new challenge sections increased the time to just over fifty minutes for Webb, who set the fastest time to win his group. Haaker, Whibley, Fahringer and Delong each won their groups to take the front row spots for the main.
Brown, Ashburn, Bobbitt and Alex Bedley each finished second in their groups to earn second row starts (no other riders finished from Delong’s group). Hawaii’s Aaron McKnight, Zach Love and Dustin Gibson were the final three qualifiers, which meant that only twelve riders had made it to the final round. Husqvarna’s Redmond dropped out in spectacular fashion after he cleared the most difficult section with the crowd cheering; leaves that had collected in the bottom of the skid plate caught fire and burned through a radiator hose to create a smoky conclusion to his day.
Since Webb and Haaker seemed pretty fresh after the first three rounds, they appeared to have the upper hand going into the final and jumped out to the early lead. Brown started from row three and quickly got into second when several riders got hung up in the EnduroCross section. Webb got stuck attempting the most difficult line up a steep hill, which allowed Brown to take the lead. Webb and Haaker were close behind and with a ten lap main on the short course, it was expected to take about 40 minutes and fitness was going to play a role in the extremely humid conditions.
Haaker stayed close to the leaders for the first three laps before he began to lose touch but was still safely ahead of the intense battle between Bobbitt, Whibley and Fahringer, who all exchanged positions several times. Delong pulled off due to physical exhaustion at the midway point and joined Love, Gibson and Bedley on the sidelines. Haaker pulled over on lap seven when the heat and humidity had him seeing stars. Webb stayed very close to Brown for the first seven laps but then he was the next to crack, which allowed Brown to open up a fifteen second gap that he held to the finish. Bobbit finished just a few seconds ahead of Whibley to take the final podium spot and Fahringer took fifth ahead of Ashburn.
The race featured riders from several different disciplines and in the end, Brown, the 2012 X Games Enduro X gold medalist took the win over fellow EnduroCross regular and former AMA Trials Champion Cody Webb. Russell Bobbit, the multi time National Enduro Champion took third ahead of current GNCC point’s leader Paul Whibley. Nick Fahringer, another Enduro regular, rounded out the top five.
2012 AMA Tennessee Knockout, fueled by Monster Energy results:
Mike Brown, KTM
Cody Webb, Beta
Russell Bobbitt, KTM
Paul Whibley, Yamaha
Nick Fahringer, Husaberg
Jordan Ashburn, Yamaha
Colton Haaker, Kawasaki
Aaron McKnight, KTM
Andrew Delong, Husqvarna
Zach Love, KTM
Dustin Gibson, KTM
Alex Bedley, Kawasaki
The Trials Training Center staff would like to thank KENDA Tires, Monster Energy and Moose Racing for their support of the AMA Tennessee Knockout event.