Russell Bobbitt, Mike Brown and Cody Webb (l to r) grace the TKO podium. Photography By: Shan Moore
SEQUATCHIE, TN, Sept. 2, 2012 - Mike Brown dug down deep when he needed to and turned in a gut-wrenching effort in the day's final event to win the Second Annual Kenda AMA Tennessee Knockout held at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee.
Passing American Beta rider Cody Webb midway into the opening lap, Brown put his FMF/KTM into the lead in the TKO finale, and then gutted out nine solid laps to claim the overall win for the second year in a row.
"This was a tough event for sure, and I'm pretty tired," Brown said after the finale. "If that second knockout round is what Erzberg is like, then I don't want to go there."
Mike Brown leading the TKO finale. Photography By: Shan Moore
Held at the Trials Training Center, which features some of the nastiest terrain in Tennessee, the TKO is run on rocky and rugged single-track trail that traverses the many rocky creeks, up and down several of the nearly vertical climbs, and around and over a few VW-sized rocks which dot the countryside on the facility's 670 acres. During the day, a Hot Lap, and two Knockout rounds (which get increasingly more difficult as the event progresses) are used to pare down the field to the final 36 riders who will compete for the TKO title in the 10-lap finale at the end of the day.
Cody Webb was quickest in the Hot Lap qualifying by 10 seconds. Photography By: Shan Moore
Webb was fastest in the morning Hot Lap round, which seeded the riders in the Knockout rounds. The former national trials champ also won the second Knockout rounds, when Brown had difficulties with one of the more extreme seconds of the event. However, Brown looked good and was quickest in the first Knockout round held earlier in the day.
For the Finale, Brown was seeded into the second wave of riders to leave the start, however, when a few of riders on the front row got hung up in a log section, Brownie was able to work his way into the second place a short time after the start and take off after Webb, who had gotten away from the pack after grabbing the holeshot.
Midway into lap one, Webb took a bad line in a rock section and Brown was able to take the lead. From there, Brown maintained a five to 10-second lead over Webb for the remainder of the race.
Brown's FMF/KTM teammate Russell Bobbitt rounded out the podium, also coming from row two to move into third near the end of the race.
AM Pro Yamaha's Paul Whibley was fourth, finishing just ahead of factory Husaberg rider Nick Fahringer.
Jordan Ashburn, another Am Pro Yamaha rider, was sixth, while Lucas Oil Kawasaki's Colton Haaker, and Aaron McKnight from Hawaii rounded out the top eight.
1. Mike Brown (KTM)
2. Cody Webb (Bet)
3. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
4. Paul Whibley (Yam)
5. Nick Fahringer (Hsb)
6. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)
7. Colton Haaker (Kaw)
8. Aaron McKnight (KTM)
9. Andrew DeLong (Hsq)
10. Zach Love (KTM)
11. Dustin Gibson (KTM)
12. Alex Bedley (Kaw)