All posts by Sean Finley

2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout Media Coverage

The 2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout was the best one yet with the top FIM Hard Enduro World Championship riders taking on the best North American Riders. The event generated a lot of media coverage and we have compiled some of our favorite videos below:

Red Bull TV: It’s a Knockout: 2021 Red Bull TKO Full Race Recap:

Red Bull TV 2021 Red Bull TKO – Main Race Raw Highlights:

Red Bull TV: 2021 Red Bull TKO – Pro Prologue Red Bull Straight Rhythm:

2021 Tennessee Knockout Hard Enduro Highlights:

FOX MX | COMING TO AMERICA | MANUEL LETTENBICHLER AT REDBULL TKO:

Billy Bolt – I WON IN THE USA!!

Jonny Walker – Travelling to the USA for TKO:

Enduro Wurx – Billy Bolt Dominates Tennessee Knockout Straight Rhythm | RAW Highlights:

Enduro Wurx – Manuel Lettenbichler sets Fastest Qualifying Time! Tennessee Knockout Hot Lap RAW Highlights:

Seat Time – Billy Bolt Smashes His Pipe, Still Beats Lettenbichler | 2021 Red Bull TKO Enduro Recap:

Adam Does Dirtbikes – Red Bull Tennessee Knockout Enduro Prologue 2021 – Raw Highlights – TKO Extreme Enduro:

 

Bolt tops Lettenbichler at Red Bull Tennessee Knockout; Trystan Hart rounds out podium

Billy Bolt (center) took the 2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout win in his first-ever trip to the US. Lettenbichler (left) and Trystan Hart rounded out the podium with strong rides in a stacked field of the best hard-enduro riders in the world. Photo: Future7Media

Billy Bolt finished just two seconds ahead of Manuel Lettenbichler to take the win at the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee. The Rockstar Husqvarna rider from the UK was impressive in his first-ever race in the United States but Germany’s Lettenbichler pushed him all the way to the finish on his Red Bull KTM. Canadian Trystan Hart rounded out the podium on his FMF KTM Racing ride. The event served as round five of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (HEWC) and also served as the AMA Grand Championship for Extreme Off-Road racing so world championship points were earned and an AMA number one plate.

In addition to the pro racing, the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout crowned amateur champions. Saturday included two rounds of amateur racing with race two serving as the championship-deciding race. During that second race, Jared Lambe earned the number one spot with a winning time of one hour, fifteen minutes, and thirty-seven seconds on his KTM. Tobin Miller finished just four seconds behind on a Beta for second and Sherco rider Jackson Davis rounded out the top three. The top thirty riders also earned the opportunity to compete with the thirty-two pre-qualified pro and riders that included ten of the HEWC riders.

New for 2021, there was a Red Bull Straight Rhythm Prologue event to give the top 24 riders an opportunity to earn a spot in a 16 rider bracket race. Bolt and Taddy Blazusiak worked their way to the final round to face off for the win, which ultimately went to Bolt. Bolt was impressive with a skip over a large log pile helping him to take the win. This allowed him to pick his starting spot for the Sunday morning Hot Lap and earn an extra $1000.

Sunday’s format consisted of four rounds of racing for the sixty riders that earned a spot and it started with the Hot Lap on a 1.5 mile “short course”. Lettenbichler set the fastest time with a 6:06.10 lap time. Bolt was second just 1.9 seconds behind and Hart was third with Jonny Walker and Blazusiak rounded out the top five.

The sixty riders moved on to Knock Out round one, which used an 18-mile “long-course” and only the top twenty-five riders would move on to the next round. Lettenbichler led the field that started in thirty-second intervals. Bolt managed to close the gap to Lettenbichler and finish right behind him but set the fastest elapsed time of fifty-five minutes and thirty-one seconds. Lettenbichler was just 14 seconds back on time for second place. Hart was again impressive with a third-place finish but was nearly two minutes behind Bolt. Pennsylvania’s Ryder LeBlond put in an impressive rider for fourth place and Cody Webb rounded out the top five.

There was a last-chance qualification race among the four riders that just missed the cut and Arizona’s James Flynn took that spot to be the last rider to make it to the second round.

That second round places the riders into five groups (four groups of five and one group of six that included the LCQ winner Flynn). Those groups would be racing another loop on the “long-course” with some additional difficult sections added. They were just racing among their respective groups for the top three spots to earn one of the fifteen spots in the main event. Bolt won group one ahead of Spain’s Alfredo Gomez and Australian Will Riordan. Lettenbichler won group two over Magna1 Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn, who is a Tennessee native, and GasGas rider Michael Walkner, who is from Austria. Canada’s Hart won group three ahead of Spain’s Mario Roman and Bulgarian Teodor Kabakchiev. Wade Young from South Africa won group four ahead of Pennsylvania’s Leblond and Ohio’s Nick Fahringer. And in the final group, Beta’s Jonny Walker from the UK edged out Webb with Canada’s Cory Graffunder taking the final spot in the main.

The main event was back onto the short course with a 30-minute plus one lap race, which ended up taking thirty-seven minutes and thirty seconds to complete. Bolt and Lettenbichler battled back and forth for all six laps with the two of them exchanging the lead after mistakes on the difficult course. Each rider made mistakes and handed over the lead but neither rider managed to open a gap. Lettenbichler made the last mistake on the final lap to allow Bolt to get ahead of him and they entered the finish straight, which included several logs nose to tail. Lettenbichler made a push to the finish that resulted in a crash as he crossed the finish line. The two Hard Enduro stars embraced on the track in celebration of the great battle.

Hart rode the entire race in third place and closed the gap a few times but never got close enough to challenge the top two, He instead had to worry about Sherco’s Wade Young, who pressured him throughout the main event and nearly passed him for the final podium spot on the last lap when Hart did not make it up a waterfall section. Hart recovered to hold on for third with Young fourth.

Roman and Gomez battled for fifth and sixth throughout the race with Roman taking the spot.

Walker and Webb had an equally exciting battle for eighth and ninth with Walker getting the upper hand when Webb did not make it up a tough uphill on the final lap.

LeBlond didn’t get the start he needed and had to fight back for a ninth-place finish on his Dullulo Racing Team Husqvarna. Teodor Kabakchiev rounded out the top ten.

Ashburn finished eleventh. Walner was twelfth, Riordan finished thirteenth, Fahringer was fourteenth and Graffunder finished fifteenth.

“It was hard work, the first and second races were harder than I expected,” Bolt said. “I finished the first one and thought, oh, this is going to be a long day. Then we had another long race before the main event. The main event is a little different than many hard enduros but I enjoyed it and if you look around, you can see that none of us have anything left so it is harder than it sounds. I enjoyed my first race here in the US.”

“The pace was really high today. In the main, Billy and I got a good start with Billy right behind me. I think everyone got super tired at the end,” Lettenbichler said. “It was really nice to race in front of the American fans. That finish was a bit crazy as I was trying to whip it a little bit at the finish and turned into a pretty big high side but we put on a good show for the fans here. I will need to beat Billy at the next one in Poland to hopefully get some more points back on him.”

“I am actually probably happier about this podium than I was with the win last year,” Hart said. “This field was so stacked so to get a podium among these riders was great. I got third off the start and those first two just sprinted so hard that I lost some time but then I was able to ride a really strong race until the last lap when I didn’t make it up a waterfall and had to turn around and try again. I could see that Wade (Young) was right there so it was close.”

The Women’s classes had a total of eleven amateur riders and three pro riders. The amateur women competed along with the Saturday Amateur race one and Samantha McLeod took the win on her Yamaha and qualified to move on to race two. Mesa Lange finished second on a KTM ahead of fellow KTM rider Stephanie Daniels.

The Women’s pro class competed along with the top amateurs on the more difficult race two and KTM rider Shelby Turner took the win over Sherco’s Louise Forsley and Georgia Eversol on a KTM. Turner took the AMA Grand Championship number one plate and impressively finished seventeenth overall among all the amateur riders.

2021 Red Bull Tennessee, Knockout Main Event Results

  1. Billy Bolt, Husqvarna
  2. Manuel Lettenbichler, KTM
  3. Trystan Hart, KTM
  4. Wade Young, Sherco
  5. Mario Roman, Sherco
  6. Alfredo Gomez, Husqvarna
  7. Jonny Walker, Beta
  8. Cody Webb, Sherco
  9. Ryder LeBlond, Husqvarna
  10. Teodor Kabakchiev, Husqvarna
  11. Jordan Ashburn, Husqvarna
  12. Michael Walkner, GasGas
  13. Will Riordan, KTM
  14. Nick Fahringer, Sherco
  15. Cory Graffunder, Husqvanra

The 2021 TKO will again be featured on Red Bull TV with more details to be announced.

The sprint format of the TKO final suited Bolt’s strengths. Photo: Future7Media
Manuel Lettenbichler managed to hang onto a small lead over Bolt in the FIM Hard Enduro world championship with a second place. Photo: Future7Media
Canadian Trystan Hart was the top North American rider at the 2021 TKO. The defending champion put in a strong ride among a world class field. Photo: Future7Media
Wade Young and his Sherco teammate Mario Roman finished fourth and fifth at the TKO. Photo: Future7Media

 

2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout Preview; The world’s best hard enduro riders to compete in Tennessee August 13-15

For the first time ever, all the top hard enduro riders from around the world will compete against the best North American riders on US soil. The Trials Training Center in Sequatchie Tennessee will host round five of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship (HEWC) this coming weekend, August 13-15.

The Red Bull Tennessee Knockout (TKO), now in its eleventh year, has become one of the premier off-road motorcycle races in the US and serves as the AMA Grand Championship for Extreme Off-Road racing. Many of the top international riders have competed in the TKO in the past, but this will be the first time that they will all be competing at the same time and competing for World Championship points.

The TKO has used the same format since the first event in 2011, which pre-qualifies the top riders to a four-round knockout format on Sunday. Saturday will have over 400 riders competing in two rounds of racing with the second race serving as the AMA Amateur Grand Championship for Extreme Off-Road. The top 30 riders from Saturday earn the opportunity to compete with the best riders on Sunday.

“Unlike some extreme or hard enduro events that run for several hours, we chose to use a multi-round format for the TKO to keep the racing tight,” said Eric Peronnard, the co-producer of the TKO. “The pro riders compete four times on Sunday and race for over three hours, but the final results all come down to a final multi-lap race with the top fifteen riders on a challenging course, so it is very intense racing for the riders and exciting for the fans.” Peronnard also added, “We have to thank Winfried Kerschhaggl, the FIM, and AMA for all of their effort to make it possible to make the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout part of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship in very difficult times for international travel.”

Below is a rundown of the long list of riders that have a shot at competing for the podium spots at the 2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout.

  • Manuel “Mani” Lettenbichler – Germany – KTM: The 2019 World Enduro Super Series (Now the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship) champion just came off his third straight Red Bull Romaniacs win to take over the points lead. Mani competed finished second at the 2018 TKO and then came back to win it in 2019.
  • Trystan Hart – Canada – KTM: Hart won the 2020 TKO and was promoted to the FMF KTM factory team for the 2020 AMA EnduroCross championship, where he took his first career main event win and finished third in the championship. Hart also won the AMA East Extreme Enduro and combined East/West championship with a win at the final round.
  • Billy Bolt- Great Britain – Husqvarna: Bolt won the 2019 FIM Super Enduro World championship and won the Abestone FIM Hard Enduro round in Italy. He comes into round five second in the championship and his Super Enduro skills could prove useful in the intense TKO main event. This will be the Rockstar Husqvarna rider’s first time competing in the US.
  • Cody Webb – United States – Sherco: Webb is a six-time TKO winner (2013 to 2018), three-time AMA EnduroCross champion, and former FIM Super Enduro World champion. Before that, he was the US Trials champion and knows the Trials Training Center terrain very well. Don’t count him out for a seventh TKO win.
  • Taddy Blazusiak – Poland – GasGas: Taddy burst onto the hard enduro scene by winning the Red Bull Erzberg Rodeo in his first attempt. He was competing in the World Trials championship at the time and transitioned to hard enduro and went on to win five straight AMA EnduroCross championships and six FIM Super Enduro championships to go along with five Erzeberg wins.
  • Ryder LeBlond – United States – Husqvarna: Ryder LeBlond will likely be the rider most of the HEWC riders will be taking notice of. The teenager from Pennsylvania has earned multiple podium finishes in AMA Extreme events over the past couple of seasons and just finished third in the AMA Extreme Championship riding as a Husqvarna support rider on the Dullulo racing team.
  • Wade Young – South Africa – Sherco: Wade Young has won the Roof of Africa hard enduro multiple times and proven himself on the world stage with wins at the Red Bull Romaniacs (2018) among others. He has competed at the TKO three times with two podium finishes.
  • Jonny Walker – Great Britain – Beta: Walker has won most of the major hard enduro events including Erzberg Rodeo wins in 2012, 2013, and 2015. He also won the 2015 Red Bull Romaniacs. He competed at the 2015 TKO and finished a close second. He has joined the factory Beta team for 2021.
  • Mario Roman – Spain – Sherco: Roman has become one of the top hard enduro racers in the world with major wins at Extreme XL Lagares, Roof of Africa, Hells Gate, and more. The Sherco factory rider has also finished on the podium all three times he has competed including a second to Lettenbichler in 2019.
  • Pat Smage – United States – Sherco: Smage is an eleven-time AMA Trials champion that has only competed at a handful of hard enduro events. But with a lot of experience at the Trials Training Center, the Wisconsin native could prove to be a threat for a top result.
  • Max Gerston – United States – GasGas: The Arizona native is a veteran racer that still enjoys riding like a teenager. He is a multi-time AMA East Hare Scrambles champion, former AMA EnduroCross junior champion, and multi-time podium finisher in AMA EnduroCross.
  • Alfredo Gomez – Spain – Husqvarna: A two-time winner of the Red Bull Erzberg Rodeo, Gomez has cemented himself as one of the top extreme riders in the world.
  • Keith Curtis – United States – Sherco: Curtis is a multi-time snowmobile champion that loves to race hard enduro during the summer. A win at the 2019 Stix and Stones hard enduro combined with other top finishes, including a fifth at the 2020 TKO earned him a part-time ride with the FactoryOne Sherco team.
  • Ryan Sipes – United States – GasGas: The former supercross winner has made a name for himself by competing in and winning races in multiple disciplines, including American Flat Track and hill climbing. Sipes will be in the deep end again at the TKO but deserves credit for taking the plunge.
  • Jordan Ashburn – Unites States – Husqvarna: The Tennessee native competed at the first TKO in 2011 and has been back many times since despite being focused on racing the AMA Grand National Cross Country championship (GNCC). He has earned podium finishes at hard enduro events before and earned more fans at the 2020 TKO by competing on his dad’s 1989 KDX 200 and making it to the main event for an eleventh place finish.
  • Nick Fahringer – United States – Sherco: Fahringer is a former top AMA Enduro racer that transitioned to extreme enduro events in recent years. He prefers the longer events but has the skills to get into the TKO main event even in this year’s stacked field.
  • Cooper Abbott – United States – KTM: Abbott has been honing his racing skills under the watchful eye of his multi-time champion father Destry and had a breakout 2020 EnduroCross season, where he earned a moto win and overall podium and finished the season fourth in points.
  • Michael Walkner – Austria – GasGas: Walkner is relatively new to the hard enduro championship but is quickly proving he belongs with a ninth-place finish at the 2021 Red Bull Romaniacs.
  • Teodor Kabakchiev – Bulgaria – Husqvarna: Kabakchiev won the 2019 FIM Super Enduro junior championship and is making a name for himself on the hard enduro tour. He is entering the TKO in tenth place in the Hard Enduro World Championship.

The podium positions will likely come from the above list of riders, but the TKO has been a breakout event for relatively unknown riders to earn a spot in the fifteen-rider main event. That will be more difficult than ever with ten of the top HEWC riders competing, but it will be exciting to see if one of those lesser-known riders can add their name to that list.

New for 2021, Saturday afternoon will include a Prologue Straight Rhythm event for the pro men and pro-women riders. The selected riders will compete in quick out and back head-to-head races in a best two out of three bracket format to earn some extra purse money and determine the Sunday morning hot lap starting positions.

The 2021 TKO will again be featured on Red Bull TV with more details to be announced.

Mani Lettenbichler will come into the TKO as a favorite. He won the 2019 TKO and just won his third consecutive Red Bull Romaniacs. Photo: Future7Media
Trystan Hart is the defending TKO champion but he will have a large field of the best hard-enduro riders in the world to take on for 2021. Photo: Future7Media
Billy Bolt is an exciting rider to watch and the TKO format may fit his style well. Photo: Future7Media
Cody Webb has won six Red Bull Tennessee Knockout events against many of the best riders in the world. He will be aiming to defend his home turf and take TKO win number seven. Photo: Future7Media
Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak is one of the most decorated hard enduro riders in the world and is hungry for another win on US soil. Photo: Future7Media

Kenda Returns as Official Tire of the 2021 Tennessee Knockout

Kenda has been a partner with the Tennessee Knockout (TKO) since the inaugural event in 2011. At that time, a small fraction of the competitors used Kenda tires, but the brand continued to develop and market new tires aimed at extreme off-road, and in 2020, a whopping 52% of the competitors raced on Kenda tires. While Red Bull has taken over the title sponsorship position to help grow the event and increase the exposure worldwide via Red Bull TV, Kenda will continue as the presenting sponsor and official tire of the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout.

“The Tennessee Knockout has become one of the premier off-road motorcycle events in the US and we are happy to continue to help extreme off-road motorcycle racing grow in popularity,” said Jason Baldwin, Director of Powersports at Kenda. “We are proud to have so many of the extreme off-road racers choose Kenda and the new Knarly tire is winning at the top level with Cody Webb and the Sherco team. We are happy to provide the tires that help riders get through the tough stuff.”

Kenda will have a tire service crew at the Tennessee Knockout ready to help all the riders choose the best options.

You can learn more about Kenda tires here.

Cody Webb and the FactoryOne Sherco team count on Kenda tires. Webb will be aiming for his seventh TKO win in 2021. Photo: Shan Moore