All posts by Sean Finley

2020 Tennessee Knockout video highlights; top riders tackle the challenging TKO terrain

The tenth annual Kenda Tennessee Knockout took place at the Trials Training Center (@trialstrainingcenter) in Sequatchie, Tennessee on the weekend of August 14-16. We have video highlights from the grueling four rounds of Sunday pro-competition where Canada’s Trystan Hart took his first TKO win over six-time winner Cody Webb. Chile’s Benjamin Herrera finished third ahead of Noah Kepple and Keith Curtis, who rounded out the top five.

Watch the highlights here:

Thank you to Blake Terry from American Hard Enduro  (@americanhardenduro) for creating the video.

Nearly 300 amateur riders competed on Friday and Saturday gunning for the AMA Amateur Extreme Enduro Grand National Championship. Danny Lewis took the win in the championship-deciding second round on Saturday. Will Riordan finished second and Tyler Kincaid rounded out the podium. Those three along with the other top 30 finishers got the opportunity to compete in the Sunday competition against the twenty-six pre-qualified pro riders.

Hart dominated the Sunday competition, winning all four rounds of racing, including the main event, which included just the top fifteen riders. The Sunday course included some brutal new sections including the Four Logs, Walk in the Park and a new hill climb that Hart was the first to ever climb in TKO competition.

2020 Kenda Tennessee Knockout Main Event Results:

  1. Trystan Hart, KTM
  2. Cody Webb, Sherco
  3. Benjamin Herrera Ried, Beta
  4. Noah Kepple, Husqvarna
  5. Keith Curtis, Husqvarna
  6. Max Gerston, Beta
  7. Ryder LeBlond, KTM
  8. Will Riordan, KTM
  9. Cory Graffunder, Husqvarna
  10. Nick Fahringer, Sherco
  11. Jordan Ashburn, Kawasaki
  12. Quinn Wentzel, Sherco
  13. Ronnie Commo, Beta
  14. Cooper Abbott, KTM
  15. Danny Lewis, Husqvarna

Detailed results can be found here: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1792759

The 2020 Kenda Tennessee Knockout will also be featured on the Red Bull Signature Series on Fox.

Hart tops Webb to take 2020 Tennessee Knockout; Herrera rounds out the podium

Hart (center), Webb (left) and Herrera earned podium spots at the 2020 Kenda Tennessee Knockout. Photo: Shan Moore

RPM KTM’s Trystan Hart (@trystanhart_84) outpaced FactoryOne Sherco’s Cody Webb (@codywebb2) to take his first Kenda AMA Tennessee Knockout win. The Canadian won all four rounds of racing at the tenth annual TKO. Chile’s Benjamin Herrera Ried rounded out the podium on his Beta.

In addition to the pro racing, the Kenda Tennessee Knockout serves as the AMA Amateur Extreme Enduro Grand National Championship and nearly 300 riders entered the amateur classes to take their shot at earning a number one plate. The top thirty amateur riders also earned the chance to compete with the 26 pre-qualified pro riders.

The weekend started with a Friday prologue qualifier to set starting positions for the two Saturday races with some of the riders already earning a direct spot in the championship-deciding second race via top-ten finishes at one of the six AMA regional championship events. Danny Lewis took the win in that championship event with a time of 1:12:31. Will Riordan finished second with a time of 1:15:45 and Tyler Kincaid rounded out the podium with a time of 1:17:31.

Sunday’s format consisted of four rounds of racing for the fifty-six riders and starts with a Hot Lap on a mile-long “short course”. Hart set the fastest time with a 5:17.038 lap. SRT Offroad-backed Cory Graffunder was second with a 5:20.926 lap followed by Husqvarna backed Noah Kepple with a 5:27.148. Beta USA’s Max Gerston finished fourth in 5:27.488 and Webb rounded out the top five with a 5:27.488 time after a small crash.

Knockout round one takes place on an eighteen-mile long loop with the top twenty-five riders moving on to the next round. The riders take off in thirty-second intervals and race against the clock. Hart set the fastest time again with a time of 57:23.237. Webb came back to set the second-fastest time at 1:00:08.783. Chile’s Herrera showed his pace by setting the third-fastest time of 1:00:50.976. Gerston was fourth with a time of 1:01:33.401 and teenager Ryder LeBlond rounded out the top five in 1:02:23.687.

Knockout round two switches from a race against the clock to a head-to-head format with four groups of five riders and one group of six after a twenty-sixth rider earned a spot in the next round after out-dueling three other riders in the last chance qualifier. In this round, those five groups competed for the fifteen spots in the final by finishing in the top three in their respective groups. This was back on the eighteen-mile long course with a few more extremely challenging sections added in. Hart won group one over Keith Curtis and Will Riordan, who was one of the Saturday qualifiers. Webb won group two over Kepple and Graffunder. Herrera won group three over Beta USA’s Ronnie Commo and Sherco’s Quinn Wentzel. Gerston won group four over Jordan Ashburn and RPM KTM’s Cooper Abbott. Ashburn, who rides for the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki GNCC team borrowed his dad’s 1998 Kawasaki KDX 200 and put it into the main event. Sherco’s Nick Fahringer won group five over LeBlond and Saturday’s Amateur class winner Danny Lewis.

Trystan Hart dominated the 2020 Kenda Tennessee Knockout on his KTM. Photo: Shan Moore

The main event moved back to the short course with a 30-minute plus one lap battle, which ended up taking Hart forty minutes and thirty-five seconds to complete eight laps. Hart jumped out to the early lead and managed to maintain it for the entire race, despite steady pressure from Webb, who is a six-time TKO winner. Webb ended up finishing just over 35 seconds behind Hart.

Cody Webb put in a strong effort to earn his seventh TKO win but could not match Hart on this day. Photo: Shan Moore

Herrera came out on top of a race-long battle with Kepple for the final podium spot. It was a strong ride for both riders. Curtis, who is a multi-time Snowmobile Hillclimb champion rounded out the top five on a Husqvarna. Kepple and Curtis were both filling in for the Husqvarna team due to Colton Haaker being out with an injured hand.

Chile’s Benjamin Herrera Ried rounded out the podium at the TKO. Photo: Shan Moore

Gerston had a tough first lap that put him well down the field but he rode a strong race to finish sixth. LeBlond who is still a teenager finished seventh on his KTM. Riordan, another teenager finished eighth and was the highest placed rider that qualified through from Saturday’s racing. Graffunder finished ninth on his Husqvarna and Fahringer rounded out the top ten on his Sherco.

Hart has had a lot of podium finishes in both EnduroCross and Extreme off-road events over the last few years and he has now beat Webb at two major events in a row. “The most stressful part of the day was having Cody right behind me for the entire main event,” Hart said. ”He is one of the best riders in the world at this and I knew that if I made any mistakes that he would take advantage.”

Webb has won the TKO six times and he was satisfied with the effort he put in. “Hats off to Trystan, he had a really good ride today and I didn’t feel like could do anything more. I wiped out hard in the Hot-Lap today, so I made my mechanic work hard today. I am happy with second because I know that I did everything I could.”

Herrera traveled from his home country of Chile in 2018 to compete in the TKO and EnduroCross events but raced the FIM Enduro World Championship series in 2019. He is back for more racing in the US in 2020. “I am really happy with my result because I raced fast enduro last year in the World Championship so this is a big change with this kind of race. I a lot the format and hard-enduro so I hope to compete more for this year and next year.”

The Women’s class had a total of 12 riders that tried to earn a spot in the main event by completing the morning race within the two and a half-hour time limit and just three of those riders moved forward to the main. The main event had a similar format to the men with a modified version of the short-course and a fifteen-minute plus one lap race.

Only three of the twelve women that entered managed to complete the tough qualification race in under two and a half hours to face off in the main event. Rachel Gutish (center) won the championship over Shelby Turner (left) and Louise Forsley. Photo: Shan Moore

Beta USA-backed Rachel Gutish (@rachel_gutfish) took her second consecutive TKO win and AMA Amateur Extreme Enduro Grand National Championship with a strong ride with a total race time of 19:41. Canadian Shelby Turner (@shelby50turner) finished second on her KTM, 48 seconds back and Louise Forsley (@louiseforsley77) rounded out the podium on her Sherco.

2020 Kenda Tennessee Knockout Main Event Results:

  1. Trystan Hart, KTM
  2. Cody Webb, Sherco
  3. Benjamin Herrera Ried, Beta
  4. Noah Kepple, Husqvarna
  5. Keith Curtis, Husqvarna
  6. Max Gerston, Beta
  7. Ryder LeBlond, KTM
  8. Will Riordan, KTM
  9. Cory Graffunder, Husqvarna
  10. Nick Fahringer, Sherco
  11. Jordan Ashburn, Kawasaki
  12. Quinn Wentzel, Sherco
  13. Ronnie Commo, Beta
  14. Cooper Abbott, KTM
  15. Danny Lewis, Husqvarna

Detailed results can be found here: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1792759

Keep an eye on the TKO blog for a video recap within a few days.

The 2020 Kenda Tennessee Knockout will also be featured on the Red Bull Signature Series on Fox.

Schedule confirmed for 2020 TKO; event to be part of WESS Enduro World Championship; Amateur registration opens December 5, 2019

The 2020 TKO will be round six of the eight-round World Enduro Super Series (WESS) and take place on the weekend of August 14-16, 2020 at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.

The racing format will be like past years with a Friday amateur Prologue to set starting positions, followed by two rounds of amateur racing on Saturday and a four-round Sunday Pro competition. The event will also continue to serve as the AMA Grand Championship for Extreme Enduro.

“We started the TKO in 2011 and it was a huge success and has grown in popularity each year along with the worldwide growth in Extreme Enduro events,” said Eric Peronnard (@ericperonnard), co-producer of the Tennessee Knockout. “We are proud to be chosen to be part of the WESS Enduro World Championship for 2020.”

Red Bull has been a partner with the TKO for several years and that will continue for 2020. The WESS Enduro World Championship (@iridewess) has a partnership with Red Bull Media House, which provides extensive coverage of all of the championship rounds via Red Bull TV and social media platforms.

Manuel Lettenbichler (center), won the 2019 Kenda Tennessee Knockout over Mario Roman (left) and Wade Young. Photo: Mary Rinell @mjsmotophotos

The Tennessee Knockout is one of the premier off-road motorcycle races in the US, attracting the top American and International riders. Tennessee Native Mike Brown won the first two events with Cody Webb close behind both times. Webb then went on a six-year run of winning the TKO, topping many of the best riders in the world in the process. Jonny Walker, Graham Jarvis, Wade Young, Mario Roman, and Manuel Lettenbichler gave Webb a good challenge but the American was unbeatable. A knee injury forced Webb to miss the 2019 TKO and Germany’s Lettenbichler became the first international rider to win the event. It will be amazing to see many of these riders joined by other top international and American riders facing off at the 2020 TKO.

The TKO will again pre-qualify the top riders to the four-round Sunday competition. This will include top riders from the major US and international off-road racing series and events. Any rider that finished in the top 26 on Sunday at the 2019 TKO, as well as riders that have qualified for a previous TKO Sunday main event, will be qualified directly into the 2020 TKO Sunday program. The expert riders will be competing for a $10,000 purse.

The Saturday program will include two rounds of racing and will serve as the Extreme Enduro AMA Grand Championship for Amateur riders. Amateur riders can earn spots directly into round two via several AMA regional championship events. Riders that do not qualify via one of the AMA regional events can sign up for one of 400 open spots that will compete in a morning qualifying race that can earn a spot in the championship final on Saturday. The top 30 finishers from Saturday will earn a spot in Sunday’s expert program.

Amateur registration opens at 6:00 pm CST on Thursday, December 5, 2019. There are just 400 spots available and entries sold out in just a couple of hours in the past so please plan to get your entry in as soon as it opens. The registration link will be available in a blog post on the homepage of the TKO website.

There will also be a Women’s class with a Saturday morning qualifying session and Saturday afternoon main event. This is also an AMA Grand Championship class.

Manny Lettenbichler finished second in his first attempt a the TKO in 2018 and then came back to win in 2019, becoming the first International rider to take the top step of the podium. Photo: Mary Rinell @mjsmotophotos
Spain’s Mario Roman has competed in three TKO events and finished on the podium every time. He finished second in 2019. Photo: Mary Rinell @mjsmotophotos
Wade Young finished third at the 2019 Kenda Tennessee Knockout. The South African also had a second place finish in 2016. Photo: Mary Rinell @mjsmotophotos
Indiana’s Rachel Gutish won the 2019 Women’s class championship. For 2020, the women’s class will again compete in a Saturday morning qualification race and the final will take place on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Mary Rinell @mjsmotophotos

2019 Tennessee Knockout Video Highlights; Top riders take on the treacherous rocks at the TKO

The ninth annual Kenda Tennessee Knockout took place at the Trials Training Center, in Sequatchie, Tennessee, on the weekend of August 16-18. We have full video highlights from the grueling Sunday pro competition where Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler  (@m_letti304) earned the TKO title over Spain’s Mario Roman (@marioroman74) and South Africa’s Wade Young (@wadeyoung55). American Colton Haaker (@coltonhaaker) and Canada’s Trystan Hart (@trystanhart_84) rounded out the top five.

Watch the highlights here:

The 2019 Tennessee Knockout had nearly 400 entries and the amateur riders competed in a Friday prologue and had two races on Saturday. The top 30 amateur riders earned the opportunity to compete with the 27 pre-qualified pro riders on Sunday. Sunday uses a four-round Knockout format that starts with a Hot Lap to set starting positions. The first Knockout round, on a 19-mile course, cuts the field of riders down to 25 and an LCQ earns a final transfer spot for one additional rider. Those remaining 26 riders compete for the final 15 spots in the main event with another loop on the 19-mile course with some more difficult sections added. The main event is a 30-minute plus one lap battle on a mile-long course. In total, the fastest rider, Manual Lettenbichler, raced for nearly three hours.

2019 Kenda Tennessee, Knockout Main Event Results

  1. Manuel Lettenbichler, KTM
  2. Mario Roman, Sherco
  3. Wade Young, Sherco
  4. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna
  5. Trystan Hart, KTM
  6. Ben Kelley, KTM
  7. Ricky Russell, Yamaha
  8. Max Gerston, Beta
  9. Grant Baylor, KTM
  10. Ronnie Commo, KTM
  11. Quinn Wentzel, Husqvarna
  12. Nick Fahringer, Sherco
  13. Mitch Carvolth, Sherco
  14. Liam Draper, KTM
  15. Nate Smith, Husqvarna

Detailed results can be found here.