In what looked like being a promising outing for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team the 2016 Tennessee Knock Out ended in frustration with both Mike Brown and Colton Haaker failing to finish.
Twice a winner of the TKO, Mike Brown always enjoys competing in the extreme enduro race in his home State. Keen to deliver a podium result, Brown was right in the mix throughout the day.
Fourth fastest in the Hot Lap session he then went on to place fifth in the first Knockout race before winning his group in the second Knockout race, comfortably making it through to the final race of the day. Putting himself right in contention for top honours, the Husqvarna rider held third position for the majority of the race until a crash on a slippery uphill cut short his race. Taking a blow to his stomach he badly winded himself and he was forced to withdraw from the battle for a top three result.
Despite being focused on his upcoming AMA EnduroCross Championship campaign, Colton Haaker was eager to compete in the TKO. Opting at the last minute to race his 350 four-stroke machine instead of his 250 two-stroke, Haaker felt at home on the bike in the slippery, muddy and rocky terrain. Posting the second fastest time in the Hot Lap qualifier before finishing as runner-up in the opening Knockout race ensured Haaker looked like a top contender for a final podium finish.
But while leading his group in the second Knockout race he suffered back luck when he damaged his bike on some rocks and it refused to start. Working hard to solve the issue he remounted and despite a hard charge to the finish line he just fell short of qualifying through to the final race of the day.
Colton Haaker: “I’m disappointed with how things ended. Not making the final race of the day was far from ideal but sometimes these things happen in racing. Up until the second Knockout Race I was having a really good day. I finished second in the Hot Lap qualifier and then went on to finish 38 seconds behind Cody Webb for the runner-up position in the first Knockout heat. Unfortunately, then while leading my group in the second Knockout heat I had a little crash and somehow damaged the bike on the rocks and it refused to start for me. We managed to fix the problem and I rode as hard as I could to the finish line but just missed out on making it through for the final. I’m disappointed, I really felt like I had a chance for a strong overall result but it just didn’t happen.”
Tim Weigand (Team Manager): “After what started out as a great day for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team it ended on a bit of a low point. Both Mike and Colton rode exceptionally well but were also unlucky. Mike is no stranger to this race having won it twice before and always wants to do well at what’s one of his home races. He battled his way through the elimination races and was running a comfortable third in the final race. But with a couple of laps to go he crashed on a slippery uphill and in the process caught his chest and stomach with the handlebars. He’s a tough guy and tried to carry on but was hurting and so took the wise option to stop. Despite being focused on his upcoming EnduroCross series Colton was keen to race the TKO. He looked strong and comfortable in the morning races and felt had more to give in the finals. Unfortunately, he had a problem with his bike when he crashed in some rocks and was unable to recover in time to qualify though.”