The 2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout Extreme Enduro will see a new prologue ‘Straight Rhythm’ shootout added to the weekend’s action this August – the AMA Grand National Championship event has ongoing travel issues for Europe-based riders wanting to race TKO, scheduled as a Hard Enduro World Championship round.

Final plans are coming together for the 11th annual Red Bull Tennessee Knockout (TKO) on August 13-15. New for 2021 is a Straight Rhythm prologue race on Saturday afternoon for the Pro men and Pro women riders.

Further details are due in the coming days about the actual Straight Rhythm course but expect it to be pretty self-explanatory and follow a format similar to the MX version – timed runs, two lanes, obstacles instead of jumps etc.

The TKO serves as the AMA Grand Championship for Extreme Enduro and the top riders will race for a $10,000 purse plus there will be an additional purse pay-out for both the men and women in this new Straight Rhythm race.

“We have been working hard to make the 2021 Red Bull Tennessee Knockout special,” says Eric Peronnard, co-producer of the Tennessee Knockout. “We have some completely new sections that we will be using for the main event that will challenge the riders and be more exciting for the spectators. We will also add a Prologue Straight Rhythm to the Saturday afternoon schedule for the pro men and pro-women, and that will be an exciting way to cap the Saturday racing.”

HEWC in doubt?

There’s a caveat to the TKO being part of the Hard Enduro World Championship. The pandemic continues to cause issues for travel and at the time of writing, just ahead of the Red Bull Romaniacs round of the Hard Enduro World Championship, it is not clear if TKO will still stand as a round of the world series.

Simply that is down to travel restrictions and money. It might be ok for some top teams and riders to make the trip and source factory bikes but it is unlikely to be the case for all riders competing in the HEWC series. The expense involved in taking a team across the Atlantic is one thing but with personal from all over Europe the travel restrictions are a very real issue.

Ultimately that could mean an unfair advantage for the top few riders and teams in terms of points in the championship. We’re standing by our beds on this one.


That doesn’t rule out international riders making it to the 11th annual TKO. European riders are not strangers to the event which saw Mani Lettenbichler win in 2019 with the Sherco factory boys Mario Roman and Wade Young also on the podium that year.  

The intense battle between 2020 TKO winner Trystan Hart and six-time winner, Cody Webb is also set to continue at this year’s event. The pair are currently duking out in the inaugural AMA Extreme Enduro Championship which will conclude the weekend prior to TKO at Battle of the Goats – this on the back of the pair jumping across to Red Bull Romaniacs HEWC round a week before that also.

The long road through qualifiers

The top riders are automatically qualified into the Sunday Pro races at TKO but for the 400 amateur riders entered on Saturday to compete for the AMA Amateur Grand Championship for Extreme Off-Road, this is their big chance.

Saturday is a two-round format with some riders qualifying directly into the amateur championship-deciding race two via nine AMA regional events during 2021. The top 30 finishers from Saturday earn the opportunity to move on to the Sunday racing to compete with the pre-qualified riders.

Saturday also includes both amateur and pro women’s classes. The amateur women will compete in Saturday race one and the Pro-women will compete in Saturday race two, with the winner earning the 2021 AMA Grand Championship #1 plate.


The 2021 TKO will again be featured on Red Bull TV with more details to be announced.

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Photo Credit: Shan Moore