FMF KTM’s Cody Webb (@codywebb2), the six-time winner of the Kenda Tennessee Knockout, will miss the 2019 TKO while he recovers from a knee injury. But the FMF KTM (@ktmfactoryracing) team will be well-represented with Ben Kelley (@benkelley530) riding his Trail Jesters KTM Racing Team (@trailjesters) mount. The team will also host Manuel Lettenbichler (@m_letti304), the young German rider that finished second at the 2018 TKO. Both riders will be competing on 300 XC-W TPI two-strokes when the ninth annual TKO invades the Trials Training Center on August 16-18.
Kelley was the surprise of the 2016 TKO when he earned a spot in Sunday’s competition by winning the Saturday amateur race. He then finished a strong fourth in Sunday’s main against a stacked field of better-known riders. He went on to join the Trail Jesters KTM team and won the 2018 GNCC XC2 championship and is currently undefeated in the 2019 title chase. It would not be a surprise to see the youngster from Connecticut win at the 2019 TKO.
Manuel Lettenbichler is one of the stars of international Extreme Enduro racing. The twenty-one-year-old German has learned a lot from his father, Andreas, who was one of the pioneers of Extreme Enduro competition. “Manny” has several major wins and podium finishes to his credit, including a win at the 2019 Red Bull Romaniacs to go along with a win at the Machete Hard Enduro in the Dominican Republic and a second-place finish at this year’s Erzberg Rodeo. Lettenbichler finished second to Webb in 2018 so he will be one to watch.
KTM will have a strong team of riders aiming to take the 2018 Kenda Tennessee Knockout title. Cody Webb (@codywebb2) and Josh Toth (@joshtoth_) from the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team (@ktmfactoryracing) will be joined under the KTM tent by Ben Kelley (@benkelley530) on the Trail Jesters KTM Racing Team (@trailjesters) mount. And the team will also host Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler (@m_letti304). All four riders will be racing the KTM 300 XC-W TPI two-stroke. The TKO will take place on the weekend of August 18-19 at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
Webb, the five-time TKO winner and defending champion is also the current AMA EnduroCross and FIM Super Enduro World Champion. He grew up competing in Trials events on the TTC property and has used that local knowledge of the terrain to fend off world-class talent that has included Graham Jarvis, Jonny Walker, Wade Young, Mario Roman, Kyle Redmond, and Max Gerston to win five straight Tennessee Knockout titles. A broken foot at the Erzberg Rodeo in June has kept him off the bike until this week so this may prove to be his most challenging TKO yet.
Toth is the defending GNCC XC-2 champion and he is currently tied for the lead in the 2018 AMA National Enduro championship. He has had a strong 2018 season with five GNCC XC-2 wins and his first National Enduro win at the most recent event. Toth has won extreme events including the 2017 Tough Like RORR so he will be an exciting rider to watch at his first ever TKO.
Kelley burst onto the TKO scene in 2016 with a fourth-place finish after qualifying through the Saturday amateur program. That combined with other strong results helped earn him the Trail Jesters KTM ride for 2017 and 2018. Kelly has four 2018 GNCC XC-2 wins and currently leads the points. He also backed that up with a win at the 2018 Tough Like RORR. Kelley is certainly capable of a podium finish.
Manuel Lettenbichler is a second generation Extreme Enduro racer. His father, Andreas, was one of the pioneers of Extreme Enduro competition and was a co-winner of the 2015 Erzberg Rodeo. Twenty-year-old “Manni” has had an amazing 2018 season that includes podium finishes at both Erzberg and Romaniacs. He also won the Red Bull Rocks and Logs event in Canada. It will be great to see the German competing at his first TKO.
Look for more top riders to be confirmed in the coming days as we close in on the event.