The 2022 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout included four days of Hard Enduro racing action starting with the Prologue Straight Rhythm Enduro in downtown Nashville on Thursday night.
The riders and fans moved to the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee for the weekend and Friday and Saturday featured nearly 500 amateur riders including the inaugural ECR eMoto electric motorcycle race.
And finally on Sunday, the top 62 riders competed in four rounds of racing on the tough terrain and Canada’s Trystan Hart topped Manni Lettenbichler and Mario Roman for the TKO crown and his first FIM Hard Enduro World Championship race win.
FMF KTM Factory Racing-backed Trystan Hart topped the 2022 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout. The Canadian dominated the day by setting the fastest times in all four rounds of racing that totaled nearly three hours on the rocky and challenging terrain. Red Bull KTM’s Manuel Lettenbichler finished second. The German was one minute and nineteen seconds behind Hart in the main event. Sherco Racing-backed Mario Roman finished third at the TKO to maintain a one point lead over Lettenbichler in the championship. The event served as round six 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, Tennessee’s Drew Kirby earned the number one spot with a winning time of fifty-eight minutes and five seconds on his KTM. Rodrigo Lopes finished 4 minutes and six seconds behind and Tyler Soriano rounded out the top three. Sixteen-year-old Chase Landers won the morning race and finished fourth in the race two. The top thirty riders also earned the opportunity to compete with the thirty-two pre-qualified pro riders that included ten of the HEWC riders.
Also on Saturday, Sam Bird raced an Electric Motion to beat JoJo Toole to win the inaugural ECR eMoto electric motorcycle class. Toole was riding a prototype XE4 conversion that utilized a Yamaha YZ250F motocross chassis. Jason Smith rounded out the podium on another Electric Motion. A total of twenty-four riders competed with seventeen completing the full loop. .
Other Saturday class winners among nearly 500 participants included Riley Bender in Amateur B, Nicholas Trailer in Amateur C, Stephen Thaxton in 45+ Vet and Seth Steiner in Youth Lites 12-15.
Sunday’s format consisted of four rounds of racing for the sixty-one riders that earned a spot and it started with the hot lap on a 1.6 mile “short course”. Hart set the fastest time of 7:41.30 seconds. Lettenbichler was second with a time of 7:45.47 and Roman rounded out the top three with a time of 7:49.04. Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak was fourth with a 7:52.00 on the Factory GasGas and American Ryder LeBlond put in the fifth fastest time at 7:55.02.
Round two included all sixty-one riders competing on an eleven mile “long-course” in the order of the hot-lap results and only the top twenty-five riders earn a spot in the next round. Hart again set the standard with a 56:03.61 time. Blazusiak was next with a 57:07.33 lap. Bulgarian Teodor Kabakchiev made his mark with the third fastest time of 57:20.13. Lettenbichler was fourth with a time of 58:35.84. Spain’s Alfredo Gomez was fifth with a time of 1:00:06.55.
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 for the second year in a row.
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. The riders are just competing with the riders in their respective groups to take the top four spots to make up the twenty riders that make it to the main event. Hart won group one ahead of Hard Enduro GOAT Graham Jarvis, LeBlond and Israel’s Suff Salla. Roman won group two ahead of American Jordan Ashburn, Blasuzisak and multi-time Trials champion Pat Smage. Group three was won by Kabakchiev followed by FactoryOne Sherco’s Cody Webb, Poland’s Dominik Olszowy, and Germany’s Tim Apolle. Lettenbichler took the win in group four with Czechoslovakia’s David Cyprian second, American Keith Curtis third and Canada’s Cory Graffunder fourth. In the fifth group, South Africa’s Wade Young finished first on a Sherco. Spain’s Alfredo Gomez was second, American Logan Bolopue was third and Mexican David Garza was fourth. The five group winners earn front row starting positions and the second-place finishers start on row two and so on.
The main event was back on the short course with a 30-minute plus one lap race, which ended up taking thirty-seven minutes and forty-one seconds to complete. Hart took the early lead and opened a small gap on Lettenbichler who kept it close for the entire race but was never able to get close enough to make any pass attempts. But with the difficult hill climbs, rocks and roots, it was always close enough to keep things interesting. In the end, Hart finished 1:19.58 ahead of his fellow KTM rider.
Roman had to make a couple of first lap passes to get up to third place but he too was never able to get close enough to Lettenbichler to make any pass attempts. Young put in a good ride on his Sherco to finish in fourth position 5:13.46 behind Hart. Kabakchiev started the race in third position and dropped back to fifth, 7:46.71 behind the winner.
Gomez had to pass a few riders and ultimately finished sixth, just ten seconds ahead of LeBlond, who was the top American on his Dellullo Racing Husqvarna in seventh position. LeBlond was the last rider on the lead lap and finished the main event in 46:12.34.
Jarvis, the winner of the 2022 Red Bull Romanics event two weeks before the TKO, finished eighth. Webb was ninth on his Sherco and Cyprian rounded out the top ten on a KTM.
“It feels amazing to be standing on the top of the podium,” said Hart. “I am stoked to get the win here in North America, these boys have been kicking my butt the last couple of weekends (Erzberg and Romaniacs).” The Canadian will now be looking for a second in his home country at the Outliers Hard Enduro on August 27-28 in Calgary.
“Pretty stoked to be back racing in the US,” said Lettenbichler. “I had a pretty hard day, I hurt my heel in Nashville at the straight rhythm which was a little frustrating but I fought through it. Congrats to Mario who was riding good today and also to first place Trystan Hart because he dominated today.”
“Thank you very much to the crowd who was yelling Mario all day,” said Roman. “I had a fantastic day and a good battle with the boys. Knockout one, I was riding too relaxed but Knockout two, I rode better and got a first row start. In the main event, Teo made an aggressive pass in the first turn and I almost crashed and had to overtake some riders and do a good job for the Sherco racing team.”
The Women’s pro class competed along with the top amateurs on the more difficult race two and FactoryOne Sherco rider Louise Forsley took the win ahead of Beta USA’s Morgan Tanke. Nikki Russell rounded out the podium on a Husqvarna. Forsley took the AMA Grand Championship number one plate and impressively finished thirty-second overall among all the amateur riders.
2022 Red Bull Tennessee, Knockout Main Event Results
Many of those top riders will kick the weekend off at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm Enduro Prologue on Thursday evening on Broadway Street in downtown Nashville. The course will include urban-inspired obstacles on the iconic street. Sixteen male and four female riders will race in an exciting bracket elimination format in head-to-head pairs. This will be free to the public and run from 7:00 to 10:00 PM CST.
The riders and fans then reconvene at the Trials Training Center on Friday, August 12th for the amateur class AOMC Hot-Lap qualifying before two rounds of amateur class racing on Saturday to determine the AMA Grand Championships for Extreme Off-Road racing. The ECR eMoto (Electric Motorcycle) class will be part of the Saturday morning racing. The top 30 riders on Saturday will earn the opportunity to compete with the top pro riders that are pre-qualified directly to the Sunday racing.
The Pro Women will be competing for an AMA Grand Championship #1 plate on Saturday and a few may qualify for Sunday.
Sunday will begin with sixty-plus riders competing in four rounds of racing. Riders will be eliminated in rounds two and three to narrow the field to the top 20 riders in the main event. The riders, including the women, will be fighting for their share of a $20,000 purse, making it one of the largest payouts for off-road motorcycle racing.
Prequalified riders: Manuel Lettenbichler,Germany Trystan Hart,Canada Mario Roman,Spain Graham Jarvis,United Kingdon Wade Young,South Africa Cody Webb,United States Alfredo Gomez,Spain Ryder LeBlond,United States Taddy Blazusiak,Poland Teodor Kabakchiev,Bulgaria Jordan Ashburn,United States Tim Apolle,Germany Pat Smage,United States Cory Graffunder,Canada Keith Curtis,United States David Cyprian,Czech Republic Dominik Olszowy,Poland Nick Fahringer,United States Logan Bolopue,United States James Flynn,United States Norbert Zsigovits,Hungary Ramon BregoliItaly Moret Francesc,Spain David Garza,Mexico Branden Petrie,Canada Suff Sela,Israel Mitch Carvolth,United States David Knight,United Kingdon Quinn Wentzel,United States Casey Satterfield,United States Adam Hartnagel,United States George Kowalski,United States Chris Satterfield,United States Marc Fernandez, Spain
AOMC (Appalachian Offroad Motorsport Company) has been a major partner of the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout since 2018. The West Virginia-based motorcycle dealership and online parts/accessories/gear supplier will be the presenting sponsor of the Women’s pro class and Amateur Hot Laps. They will have a display to showcase some of their products and be available to greet riders.
The Pro Women will be competing for an AMA Grand Championship #1 plate and a $2,000 purse, with $1,000 going to the winner. The top three finishers will also earn the opportunity to compete in Sunday’s pro class.
The Friday afternoon AOMC Amateur Hot Laps allows the riders to earn their Saturday starting positions. The Hot Lap course will be approximately one mile in length and be difficult enough to allow the best riders to separate themselves from the pack to earn the coveted front row start spots. There are two rounds of amateur racing on Saturday with some of the riders already earning a spot in the championship-deciding race two via top finishes at last years TKO or one of the eight AMA Regional Championship events. All the amateur, women, youth and new ECR eMoto (electric motorcycle) riders will have the opportunity to ride the Hot Lap on Friday.
“AOMC is proud to mark our fifth year of partnership with the TKO,” said Ryan Prather, General Manager of AOMC. “With over 500 riders competing and thousands of fans at the event and watching worldwide via Red Bull TV, it is one of the premier off-road motorcycle events in the United States.”
AOMC will be running a special TKO promotion from Thursday, August 11th through the following Thursday, August 18th. Customers can use the code TKO22 for a 15% discount.
You can learn more about Appalachian Offroad Motorsport Company (AOMC) and shop their huge selection online here.
USWE Sports, the makers of the Bounce Free hydration packs has joined as a partner of the 2022 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout. Nearly every rider competing at a Hard Enduro event uses a hydration system and USWE is the most popular brand among the top pro and amateur riders. Manni Lettenbichler and Billy Bolt, the 2020 and 2021 FIM Hard Enduro World champions respectively, are among the riders utilizing USWE hydration packs. USWE will have a big presence at the TKO with a rider lounge and display area to showcase the product line.
“We are looking forward to having an official presence at the TKO for the first time in 2022,” said Karl-Johan Engdahl, the co-founder and Marketing Director of USWE Sports. “The explosion in popularity of Hard Enduro racing and off-road riding in the last several years has been exciting to be a part of. We feel that our Bounce Free design harness system helps riders of all levels perform better. We invite all the riders and fans to come to see latest products at the TKO.”
You can expect some autograph signings and a few product giveaways at the USWE rider lounge near the start-finish area.