- Red Bull TKO
It’s all systems go as the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship travels to the USA for round five and Red Bull TKO in Tennessee.
Breaking new ground, the championship is set to travel to North America this weekend for the prestigious Red Bull TKO. After a hectic round four at Red Bull Romaniacs just two weeks ago, the world’s best riders will once again go head-to-head as the championship’s leading competitors face off against the best of American talent.
Set for its 11th edition, the Red Bull TKO operates a multi-race knockout style format. From Saturday’s 400 amateur rider qualifier, the best riders then progress through to Sunday’s main event, lining up against a stacked pro rider entry. Adding extra spice to Saturday evening will be the Pro-Prologue Red Bull Straight Rhythm. An 18-rider line-up will see top riders go head-to-head across an exciting straight-line endurocross course.
For Sunday’s main event, a series of knockout races sees riders battling to qualify through to the next round every time they take to the track. A final, 15-rider multi-lap race, on a shortened-but-intensified course, will see the winner take all.
Situated at the Trials Training Centre in Sequatchie, Tennessee, home to world championship Trial events in the past, the terrain is a Hard Enduro gold mine thanks to its rocky riverbeds, waterfall boulders and steep forestry climbs. Adding in unpredictable weather and high levels of humidity ensures a tough and physical race for all.
World Class Entry Fired Up
After his round four victory, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Manuel Lettenbichler now sits at the top of the championship’s point standings. A rider on form, Manuel arrives in the USA having previous experience at Red Bull TKO. Winner of the event in 2019, he’s the only rider from outside of North America to do so, and will no doubt be looking for more success this weekend.
The Sherco Factory Racing pairing of Mario Roman and Wade Young are also past podium finishers in Tennessee. While neither rider has yet to reach the top step, they’ve consistently placed inside the top three. Arriving in the USA fresh off their Red Bull Romaniacs podium finishes, both Young and Roman very much start among the favourites.
Vision Track Beta’s Jonny Walker is another rider aiming for a top result. Having fought all week in Romania for a podium result, he just missed out, finishing fifth. Walker has raced and finished a close second at Red Bull TKO previously and knows how demanding this race will be. That experience might just help him put Beta Motorcycles up on the world championship podium for the first time.
Hart And Webb Out To Win
However, as the 2020 winner of Red Bull TKO, Canada’s Trystan Hart (KTM) is the rider everyone will be keeping an eye on. The 24-year-old has already made his mark in 2021 by placing as top Red Bull Romaniacs rookie with seventh. Victory this weekend on familiar terrain is the target for Hart.
Sherco’s Cody Webb is a rider eager to stop that. The American has dominated Red Bull TKO over the last decade with six wins to his credit. A knee injury sustained at round four has dampened his confidence slightly. But with a wealth of experience, you can be sure he will give it his all to fly the Stars and Stripes flag from the top step of the podium.
As round three winner, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt cannot be ignored. Despite this being a first time visit to Red Bull TKO, Bolt has a habit of winning races at his first attempt – Abestone Hard Enduro and Extreme XL Lagares (2018) are notable examples. Bolt also excels in a multi-round format race and lives for the gigantic boulders the Trials Training Centre has on offer. Knowing victory will put him back into title contention, expect Billy to hit the ground running.
Sixth at Red Bull Romaniacs, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak will be in the hunt alongside his teammate Michael Walkner. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) and Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) can’t be ruled out of contention either.
With a golden opportunity to shine on the world stage, American’s Cooper Abbott (KTM), Nick Fahringer (Sherco), Jordan Ashburn (Husqvarna), Ryan Sipes (GASGAS), Keith Curtis (Sherco), Max Gerston (GASGAS), Pat Smage (Sherco) and Ryder LeBlond (Husqvarna) could also land some knockout results.
Red Bull TKO – round five of the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship – takes place at the Trials Training Centre, Sequatchie, Tennessee on August 13-15.
Red Bull TKO Preview
FIM Hard Enduro World Championship Standings (After round 4)
1. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) 37pts
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) 33pts
3. Wade Young (Sherco) 25pts
4. Mario Roman (Sherco) 24pts
5. Jonny Walker (Beta) 24pts
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GASGAS) 20pts
7. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 15pts
8. Michael Walkner (GASGAS) 14pts
9. Alfredo Gomez (Husqvarna) 13pts
10. Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) 11pts
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship calendar
Round 5: Red Bull TKO – USA, August 13/14/15
Round 6: HERO Challenge – Poland, September 11/12
Round 7: Hixpania Hard Enduro – Spain, October 1/2/3
Round 8: GetzenRodeo – Germany, October 29/30