AMA was once the premier American road racing series which became a shell of itself after six years under Daytona Motorsports Group leadership. Although it was thought that DMG would be a good fit, running a motorcycle series did not produce the results imagined. No longer were there manufacturer backed teams and the money they brought to the sport. Subsequently, a shorter season, low spectator attendance and lack of television coverage all but killed American road racing.
It is 2015 and in comes MotoAmerica. Sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) MotorAmerica is led by three-time 500 cc World Champion Wayne Rainey and the partnership at KRAVE Group. Motorcycle guys went to work with a desire to bring back American road racing at its finest. Since their first year, there has been a steady increase in attendance and television coverage is once again readily available.
However, when one thinks of MotoAmerica, I believe the first thing that would come to mind is sport bikes. Manufacturers such as Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda and KTM spread out over five classes that are Superbike, Supersport, Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Stock 1000 and Twins Cup.
Well it is 2020 and MotoAmerica teamed up with Drag Specialties for the King of the Baggers Invitational at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. No one would ever imagine that Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles would be spoken in the same sentence as MotoAmerica. Or that the likes of Josh Herrin or Ben Bostrom would be piloting these V-Twins. But that is exactly what happened. An eight-lap race with thirteen bikes in all: 11 Harley-Davidsons and two Indians. The rules and race specs were fairly loose – with the most critical requirements seemingly to have the original frame and a full set of bags intact. Some were pretty close to stock baggers with side cases and stock upper fairings. Some had full carbon-fiber body work. Budgets for these bikes range from $20,000 to $150,000 – with a full range of engine modifications including full turbos!
Tyler O’Hara – a veteran Supermoto and motocross racer – took the flag astride an S&S Indian Challenger, followed by Haley Gillim on a Vance and Hines prepped Harley-Davidson. The second Indian Challenger – a custom build from Roland Sands – came in 3rd.
First impressions have been favorable, and I have it on good authority that plans are to run several more of these events in 2021 – dates and locations yet to be determined.
If you did not have a chance to catch the race on TV, check out YouTube. I think you will be impressed as well.
As always, ride safe
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MOTOAMERICA
2020 KING OF THE BAGGERS Final Results
Weather Tech Raceway – Laguna Seca CA
1. Tyler O’Hara, S&S Indian Challenger
2. Hayden Gillim, Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard
3. Frankie Garcia, Roland Sands Indian Challenger
4. Travis Wyman, Trask Performance H-D Road Glide
5. Cory West, SlyFox Performance H-D Road Glide
6. Eric Stahl, Alloy Art Mfg. H-D Road King
7. Tony Sollima, The Speed Merchant H-D Electra Glide Standard
8. Josh Chisum, Barnett Clutches H-D Street Glide
9. Logan Lackey, Arlen Ness H-D Road Glide
O’Hara hoists the first place hardware for the Drag Specialties King of the Baggers race.