Paul Whibley and Jordan Ashburn are two of the hottest riders in the GNCC series and both have confirmed that they will be back to compete in the 2012 KENDA Tennessee Knockout. Whibley, the current GNCC Championship point’s leader and 2009 champion finished fifth in the 2011 TKO and proved to be a contender in the “Extreme Enduro” conditions found at the Trials Training Center.
Jordan Ashburn, the former GNCC XC-2 Champion from Tennessee rode incredibly strong last year to finish sixth at the TKO.
“The KENDA Tennessee Knockout is a really tough event and Paul’s incredible fitness will allow him to compete for the win and Jordan is excited to compete in his home state again” stated Randy Hawkins, the AmPro Yamaha team owner and off-road racing legend. “They both learned a lot by competing last year and expect to fight for the win”.
Cody Webb, the 2010 AMA Trials Champion, has made a very successful transition to EnduroCross racing and his silver medal at the 2012 X Games further backed that up. The factory Beta rider finished second at the inaugural KENDA Tennessee Knockout event last year and he is now looking for the win.
When asked about the 2012 TKO, Webb had this to say: “I’m hoping for a more extreme event in this year’s TKO. Last year, the race was difficult, but not comparable to the extreme races I have ridden in Europe. The course was a long and fast paced race similar to an Endurocross race. Coming from a trials background, I prefer a long slow paced difficult course that wears down the competition. No matter what the course offers, I’m excited to return and see the resurgence of extreme races in the US”.
Webb’s Beta teammate, Max Gerston will also be participating in the KENDA Tennessee Knockout.
FMF KTM’s Mike Brown said that the 2011 KENDA Tennessee Knockout was one of the toughest events he has ever raced. And he was the winner so you know it was even more difficult for the rest of the pack. The Tennessee native plans to be back for the second annual TKO scheduled to take place on September 1st and 2nd during the Labor Day holiday weekend. The multi round Knockout format provides for great spectating and tough racing conditions.
The $10,000 pro purse will certainly attract a large list of top riders to challenge Brown and all X Games Enduro X riders have been added to the list of pre-qualified riders.
The pre-qualified riders earn a free entry into the Sunday Knockout rounds. The 50-60 riders will first complete a single lap on the “short” course against the clock. They will then follow that up with a lap around the long course (approximately one hour lap time); again against the clock and only the top 25 riders will move on to Knockout round two. Five groups of five riders will then compete head to head on the long course, with a few more challenging sections added, and only the top three from each group will move on to the fifteen rider main event.
The fifteen riders in the main will compete in a multi lap race in the “Stadium” section of the Trials Training Center facility. Racers and fans can expect some of the most extreme motorcycle racing conditions ever witnessed.
Unqualified Expert/Pro 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 four round Knockout format.
Here is a peak at some of the action from the 2011 event: