North America’s biggest extreme enduro event, the Tennessee Knockout, is ready to welcome major WESS stars to the Trials Training Centre in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
Six-time winner of the Kenda Tennessee Knockout Cody Webb might be out of this year’s race over the August 16-18 weekend but there’s no shortage of talent competing with some of the world’s best hard enduro riders and World Enduro Super Series leader and recent Romaniacs winner, Manuel Lettenbichler heading the entries.
Lettenbichler, fresh from his 2019 Red Bull Romaniacs win finished second to Webb in 2018, so without question arrives as one of the favourites with last year’s winner not racing due to injury.
Sherco’s Mario Roman comes to Tennessee looking for redemption after his seventh-place finish at the Red Bull Romaniacs – his worst result to date this year. Roman has already finish third twice at the TKO, so adding that experience to his excellent fitness this season there’s no doubt that he can be a serious threat for the win.
Roman’s teammate and current American Hard Enduro Series leader Wade Young was signed up for the race but following the recent foot injury he sustained at Romaniacs the South African will have to miss the race in order to focus on his recovery.
Ramping his American Hard Enduro season up a notch in recent weeks has been Colton Haaker who will also surely be in with a shout come Sunday. Though not in the cut and thrust of the major world events this season due to injuries, Haaker knows the TKO terrain well.
Beta USA’s Max Gerston is another rider to watch having recently finished second to Haaker at the Battle of the Goats extreme enduro.
In the KTM camp look out for Ben Kelley who surprised everyone at the 2016 TKO when he won the Saturday amateur race and progressed to finished a strong fourth in Sunday’s main against a stacked field of better-known riders. The 2018 GNCC XC2 champion has specialised away from extreme events on the whole, but heads back to Tennessee again this year.
The 2019 TKO will again serve as the AMA Grand Championship for extreme enduro with the amateur riders competing in a Friday afternoon Prologue and then two rounds of racing on Saturday.
The top 30 riders from Saturday also earn the opportunity to compete on Sunday with the pre-qualified pro riders. The pre-qualified Sunday riders earn an invite based on top results in several major US or International off-road motorcycle series and events. The top 25 pro finishers from the 2018 TKO also earn a spot on the Sunday invite list.
The Sunday race uses a unique four round Knockout race format that is challenging for the riders and entertaining for the fans. The course layout provides a lot of great spectator locations with some unbelievably challenging terrain for all four Knockout rounds.
There is also a Women’s class with a separate main event that runs on Saturday afternoon. This AMA Grand Championship class includes top female riders such as Morgan Tanke and Rachel Gutish on the starting list.
Photo Credit: Darrin Chapman