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
FMF KTM’s Cody Webb (@codywebb2) dominated the 2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout but there was no shortage of spectacular action during the four rounds of Sunday racing.
The TKO is America’s most prestigious Extreme Enduro and the 2016 edition lived up to the reputation for being tough. Only 13 of the nearly 200 riders that entered qualified through to the main event and most of those riders finished just a handful of laps in the final. You can check out the highlights from the action below:
2016 Kenda Tennessee Knockout results, presented by Moose Racing and SRT:
Mike Brown repeated as the winner of the second annual KENDA Tennessee Knockout, presented by Monster Energy but it was far from easy. During the third Knockout round, it appeared that Brown was going to be eliminated from the event. He was hopelessly stuck in one of the special test sections and had his helmet off and steam spewing from his KTM as he tried to find a way up a wet and rocky creak. He needed to finish in the top three in his group and more importantly, finish the loop in time to start the main event.
With the hillsides filled with screaming fans, Brown finally found a way to get through the section and finished out the loop in a qualifying position for the main event. He then took the lead away from Beta’s Cody Webb on the first lap of the 10 lap main event and withstood steady pressure for over thirty minutes before edging away over the last few laps to take the win.
“I thought the race was over for me when I was stuck up in that Creek and I was physically overheating” Brown said after the main event. “But then I realized that most of the other riders were also stuck in the same section so I kept pushing and pulling my bike up the ledges that were slick from the rain that hit just before the start of that third round. The main event was really tough but I managed to keep from making any big mistakes.”
The TKO format automatically qualifies riders from all of the major off road racing series into the Sunday Knockout rounds and there are open slots for non-qualified riders to qualify from Saturday. Forty Four riders started the Sunday program that began with a single hot lap around the “short course”, which took Webb just over three minutes and fifteen seconds to complete. Brown, Kyle Redmond and Colton Haaker were all very close with 3:27, 3:28 and 3:29 runs. Husqvarna’s Andrew Delong was fifth with a 3:36.
The second round would have the riders ride another lap against the clock but this time on the 13.5 mile “long course”. The riders started in 15 second intervals and Brown caught Webb and the two exchanged the lead several times and crossed the finish line with Brown just ahead physically, which meant he beat out Webb by 16 seconds with a time of 44:28. Bobbitt, Fahringer, Delong, Jordan Ashburn, Whibley, Haaker, Brad Bakken, Redmond, Max Gerston, Zach Love rounded out the top ten. Only the top 25 riders would move on and now be placed into groups of five for a head to head race for another lap around the long course but with a few additional “challenge” sections added.
An intense thunder shower hit just at the end of the second round, which made it very difficult for some of the last riders on the loop and would make round three much more challenging. For each group of five riders, only the top three would move on to the 15 rider final. This was the round that would prove extremely difficult as the rain combined with the new challenge sections increased the time to just over fifty minutes for Webb, who set the fastest time to win his group. Haaker, Whibley, Fahringer and Delong each won their groups to take the front row spots for the main.
Brown, Ashburn, Bobbitt and Alex Bedley each finished second in their groups to earn second row starts (no other riders finished from Delong’s group). Hawaii’s Aaron McKnight, Zach Love and Dustin Gibson were the final three qualifiers, which meant that only twelve riders had made it to the final round. Husqvarna’s Redmond dropped out in spectacular fashion after he cleared the most difficult section with the crowd cheering; leaves that had collected in the bottom of the skid plate caught fire and burned through a radiator hose to create a smoky conclusion to his day.
Since Webb and Haaker seemed pretty fresh after the first three rounds, they appeared to have the upper hand going into the final and jumped out to the early lead. Brown started from row three and quickly got into second when several riders got hung up in the EnduroCross section. Webb got stuck attempting the most difficult line up a steep hill, which allowed Brown to take the lead. Webb and Haaker were close behind and with a ten lap main on the short course, it was expected to take about 40 minutes and fitness was going to play a role in the extremely humid conditions.
Haaker stayed close to the leaders for the first three laps before he began to lose touch but was still safely ahead of the intense battle between Bobbitt, Whibley and Fahringer, who all exchanged positions several times. Delong pulled off due to physical exhaustion at the midway point and joined Love, Gibson and Bedley on the sidelines. Haaker pulled over on lap seven when the heat and humidity had him seeing stars. Webb stayed very close to Brown for the first seven laps but then he was the next to crack, which allowed Brown to open up a fifteen second gap that he held to the finish. Bobbit finished just a few seconds ahead of Whibley to take the final podium spot and Fahringer took fifth ahead of Ashburn.
The race featured riders from several different disciplines and in the end, Brown, the 2012 X Games Enduro X gold medalist took the win over fellow EnduroCross regular and former AMA Trials Champion Cody Webb. Russell Bobbit, the multi time National Enduro Champion took third ahead of current GNCC point’s leader Paul Whibley. Nick Fahringer, another Enduro regular, rounded out the top five.
2012 AMA Tennessee Knockout, fueled by Monster Energy results:
Mike Brown, KTM
Cody Webb, Beta
Russell Bobbitt, KTM
Paul Whibley, Yamaha
Nick Fahringer, Husaberg
Jordan Ashburn, Yamaha
Colton Haaker, Kawasaki
Aaron McKnight, KTM
Andrew Delong, Husqvarna
Zach Love, KTM
Dustin Gibson, KTM
Alex Bedley, Kawasaki
The Trials Training Center staff would like to thank KENDA Tires, Monster Energy and Moose Racing for their support of the AMA Tennessee Knockout event.