Cody Webb KOs the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout, hard enduro competitors

Tennessee Knockout Webb
Sam Carbine / Red Bull Content Pool

Tucked back in Smoky Mountains near Chattanooga is the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tenn. and this weekend the top hard enduro motocross riders will line up to see if they can out punch Cody Webb, who dominated the Red Bull Tennessee Knockout for most of its previous 10 editions.

First, the stage needs to be set.

Imagine the most intense rally race – and then toss that image away. Hard enduro is a cross between motocross racing and what, at times, resembles mountain climbing with a pair of tires where one’s legs should be. The riders attempt to stay upright and go fast through terrain that would challenge an ardent hiker and they are doing this with competition breathing down their necks.

Why would someone want to do this?

“It’s kind of like the mud race or Spartan race,” Webb told NBC earlier this week. “I look at someone who’s a runner and they run a marathon and I think, what’s wrong with you? Why would you do that? To me it’s the excitement of always something new; something different, overcoming something.

“I pride myself on getting to the top of the mountain on my motorcycle and I feel like no one has been there before. It feels pretty good.”

Red Bull Racing’s Webb has had ample opportunities to bask in that feeling.

From 2013 through 2018, he was the rider everyone chased. After losing out to Tennessee native Mike Brown in the first two editions of this race in 2011 and 2012, Webb swapped his four-stroke, off-road bike for a lighter, cooler two-stroke. That, plus the experience of the first two races, made him unbeatable for the next six years.

In 2019, Webb was forced to sit out of the Tennessee Knockout with a knee injury. Last year, he finished second – making this the first time since 2013 that anyone bested him on the course.

“I did the everything I could,” Webb said at the time, after being beaten to finish line by Canadian rider Trystan Hart. “The best I’ve ever ridden and didn’t quite have it in me today. The hardest part is just charging 100 percent. It always ever changing, just so technical.”

The format of the race is as extreme as the terrain. Run in multiple stages, riders are knocked out after each round. They go out in groups containing both amateurs and professionals. Occasionally the amateurs are part of the obstacles when they chose the wrong line and skid down the face of the rocks.

The rounds themselves are contested on long sections of trail that measure up to 20 miles complete with rocky sections, hill climbs and a maze that looks a lot like a crop circle designed by extraterrestrials.

Once the field is whittled down to the best riders, they challenge a shorter trail. Note that says ‘shorter’, not easier. Event organizers are keeping an ace up their sleeve for the 2021 edition of the Tennessee Knockout. While parts of the trail will be contested during the qualifiers, other equally extreme portions won’t be ridden until the Main itself.

Webb Tennessee Knockout
The Tennessee Knockout is run on rocky river bottoms, hill climbs and sandy sections of the Smoky Mountains and through its history Cody Webb has come out on top most often. (Sam Carbine / Red Bull Content Pool)

“We ride parts of it in the qualifying process, but the Main will be the first time we ride the whole part of that course, so the 30-minute final is just basically a sprint to the death and try and survive,” Webb said.

And all the while, riders are mocked by the landscape itself. From a distance, the mountains of Eastern Tennessee are breathtaking. It’s only up close their true nature is revealed.

The Smoky Mountains earned their name because of the high humidity that boils from the dirt after excessive amounts of rainfall. Last year, the trails were dry. The rocks were slickened by moss in the early stages of the race, but that eventually got burned off by the motorcycles’ wheels. This year, Mother Nature is going to add her two cents with rain forecast throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday.

Moss is slick. Mud is even more slippery.

“I’ve been coming here since 2000 off and on; it’s just super green and gorgeous,” Webb said. “It’s pretty much a perfect place for us to struggle and suffer on our dirt bikes.”

Suffer is not an overstatement.

Last year the multi-discipline veteran Ryan Sipes made his Tennessee Knockout debut and experience cramps in his abs badly enough that he would not have been able to ride in the Main, if he had qualified through the prelims. This year, with rain in the forecast Webb anticipates having to push the bike uphill for long segments. That will exhaust the riders’ quadriceps. Then there is the ever-present risk of arm pump for motocross riders. There there is not a single part of the rider’s body that will not go untaxed.

“There are some races where you ride right through and you’re not sore at all,” Webb said. “There are other races where I’m cramping and the next day you feel like you fell out of a pickup truck on the highway.”

If all goes well, however, Webb will stand on the top of the mountain for a seventh time and it will once again feel like no one has been there before.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”