Reigning World Enduro and ISDE Champion David Knight laid claim to the title of Last Man Standing at the inaugural Red Bull Last Man Standing extreme off-road race held near the Oklahoma-Texas border near Bulcher, Texas, November 12-13.
The KTM-mounted Knight conquered all stages of the 140-mile race, finishing over 10 minutes ahead of GNCC-regular Nathan Kanney, while seven-time AMA National Enduro Champion Michael Lafferty finished third after recovering from a spectacular crash during the night segment.
“There was one field in the entire race where you could exhale for about 10-15 seconds,” Knight said. “This is one of the toughest races I’ve ridden.” The race pitted the best riders from different disciplines of off-road racing in a unique format, which called for four elimination stages (one lap each), which narrowed down the 88 original riders into the final 18 that would start the last two laps, which were run under cover of night. The first two “daylight” laps were 40 miles long, while the course was shortened to 30 miles for the two night laps that were run in reverse. The start was a side-by-side, bomb run-type start, which kicked off the first two laps. After two laps, a one-hour break allowed the 18 qualifiers to install lights for the night segment.
Knight quickly took control of the race after each start and was pushed early on by Lafferty. However, a crash during the night segment sent the factory KTM rider back to the pits to repair a broken headlight. Unable to make the repair, Lafferty rejoined the race in fifth position, using only his small helmet light and worked his way back to third at the finish.
Yamaha-mounted Justin Williamson ran well during the morning stage and sat in third overall at the break, however, the Floridian derailed a chain in the night segment and wound up in fourth, just ahead of KTM-mounted Billy Russell