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.
Webb is the three-time defending champion of the Kenda Tennessee Knockout and will be looking to make it four in a row. He came out on top of an epic battle with the UK’s Jonny Walker to take the 2015 win. Webb is also the two-time and current AMA EnduroCross champion and is arguably America’s best Extreme Enduro racer. Any rider that wants to take the TKO title will have to contend with Cody Webb.
Taylor Robert is an Arizona native that has proven very adaptable to all forms of off-road motorcycle racing. He has won the WORCS championship, been the top American at the ISDE, won EnduroCross events and has finished on the podium in all three of his attempts at the Kenda Tennessee Knockout. After two seconds and a third, he is looking to stand on the top of the podium in 2016.
Look for more top riders to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Cody Webb has full Factory KTM support for 2016 and will be looking to win his fourth TKO in a row:
Taylor Robert will be back for a fourth attempt at winning the TKO. He has finished on the podium in every attempt so far:
Red BullKTM’s Jonny Walker is arguably the world’s top Extreme Enduro racer and he has accepted an invitation to compete at the 2015 KENDA AMA Tennessee Knockout. The TKO will be the first-ever major US race for the twenty four year-old British rider that has won the Romaniacs, Erzberg and Hell’s Gate Extreme enduros in 2015. The 2015 KENDA Tennessee Knockout will take place on the weekend of August 15-16 at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
Walker had this to say about racing at the KENDA Tennessee Knockout:
I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to race in the States. With so much of my racing taking place in Europe, getting the chance to race against new riders on a track I’ve not been to before is really exciting. Things have been going really, really well so far this year so it would be great to keep my winning streak going. I know that guys like Cody Webb will be tough to beat, but I can’t wait to race against him and guys like Taylor Robert outdoors. It’s also going to be great to race in front of some of my US fans and sponsors. It’s going to be a blast.
Walker will face off against Cody Webb, the two time defending KENDA Tennessee Knockout winner. The two riders have raced each other several times in the past as both competed in the 2015 FIM SuperEnduro Championship, where Webb finished second and Walker third in the championship.
Webb has also traveled to Europe on a few occasions to compete at Erzberg and the Tough One events, where Walker came out ahead but that was a few years ago and on more familiar terrain for Walker. So the two should be well-matched when Webb is on home turf.
FMF/KTM’s Taylor Robert has finished second at the last two KENDA Tennessee Knockout events and will be back in 2015 looking to move up to the top of the podium. The fifth annual TKO will take place on the weekend of August 15-16 and the Arizona native has proven to be quick to adapt to the wet, technical East Coast terrain at the amazing Trials Training Center.
“The TKO is one of the toughest yet most fun races in the United States” said Robert. “There are definitely parts where everyone struggles and gets frustrated but the feeling you get when you cross the finish is amazing”.
Robert missed several months of racing to start the 2015 season due to a wrist injury but earned a silver medal at the X Games Enduro X in June to show that he is back up to speed. He passed Cody Webb late in the main event to take the spot and that is likely the man he will have to battle again to take his first KENDA Tennessee Knockout win.
Look for more top riders to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
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:
Sequatchie, TN (July 19, 2011) – KTM has confirmed that Taddy Blazusiak and Mike Brown will compete in the first annual Kenda Tennessee Knockout, fueled by Monster Energy event at the Trials Training Center on August 28th. This new “American Extreme Enduro” will provide a great challenge to some of the world’s top off road motorcycle riders and will be very spectator friendly with multiple viewing areas.
Blazusiak, the Polish rider that has won the last two GEICO EnduroCross championships and FIM World Indoor Enduro championships to go along with prestigious wins at some of the world’s toughest Extreme Enduro events including Last Man Standing and Erzeberg (5x straight) is amazing to watch on any terrain and is quite the showman. “I enjoy attacking difficult obstacles and racing through sections that even Trials riders would find challenging” stated Blazusiak. “So I am really looking forward to competing in this new event and the multi round Knockout format will also provide a challenge”.
Tennessee’s Mike Brown has proven to be as tough as anybody on a motorcycle and he will try to use his local knowledge to challenge Taddy. “It should be hot and humid for this event and I live and train in this environment so that should help me deal with the challenge that will provide” Brown noted. “Plus, I should have a lot of local fans lining the course to help cheer me on.”
The 2011 Kenda Tennessee Knockout event will feature Expert racing on Sunday, August 28th. Amateur riders will get the opportunity to compete on much of the same course on Saturday, August 27th and the top finishers will have the opportunity to advance to the Sunday Expert finals with free entries.