King of the Baggers – Harley-Davidson vs. Indian on the High Banks of Daytona | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog

King of the Baggers – Harley-Davidson vs. Indian on the High Banks of Daytona

Published on April 11, 2022 under Event Pictures
King of the Baggers – Harley-Davidson vs. Indian on the High Banks of Daytona

Unless you have been living on a deserted island without any communication to the world…yes, there is high-performance bagger racing! The season kicked off at the Daytona International Speedway for the MotoAmerica Mission Foods King of the Bagger series and it was everything expected and more.

The biggest question months prior to the decision was would the tires hold up to these heavyweights on the Daytona course? How would they handle? All those questions were answered during some testing in August 2021. Three of the fastest riders took to the high banks and thrashed them hard. The tires developed by Dunlop just for Daytona worked like a charm under the heat and weight and stayed gripped to the asphalt. Under speed, these monsters handled like their sport bike counterparts and with the results and feedback from everyone involved it was decided… Let’s bring the battle of Harley Davidson vs. Indian to the masses during Bike Week in Daytona!

It is time to crown the King of the Baggers for the 1st race of the season!

Let’s start by getting everyone up to speed on some fundamentals. This series is for American-made big-ass V Twins… period. The battle goes back to the beginning of motorcycles in the USA, Harley Davidson vs. Indian. The reigning champion, Kyle Wyman, on the Screaming Eagle Harley Davidson Road Glide would be racing against other Harleys and 2 different versions of the Indian. The bikes would have a minimum weight of 635 lbs from beginning to end of every race. A stock Road Glide weighs in at 820 lbs so a lot of thought goes into chopping out the excess fat. 131 cubic inches is the maximum size for naturally aspirated engines while the smaller cube engines such as a 107 could use turbos. Everything in the valve train can be changed, valves, cams, fuel injectors and exhausts. Carbon fiber replaced all the heavy steel body parts and custom CNC swing arms, transmission casings and other parts are all allowed. It is reported that some of the machines are putting out 150 plus horsepower and that is just rumor? Another concern was ground clearance because these baggers are going to be leaned over hard to get around a track fast. The exhaust had to be raised, casings modified, and rear set controls had to be fitted high as not to drag when cranked over.

Harley Davidson would come to Daytona as the reigning 2021 champion and would battle with the Indian bikes head to head. A total of 18 riders were signed up to hit the high banks of Daytona… 10 Road Glides, 1 Street Glide, 1 Indian Chieftain and 6 Indian Challengers.

H-D Screaming Eagle, Saddlemen, Roland Sands Designs, and Vance and Hines are just a handful of the backing companies along with series sponsor, Mission Foods.

There would be two 8 lap races and a 3 lap dash for cash race over the 3 day MotoAmerica event at the Daytona International Speedway. It’s time to get this party started!

Kyle Wyman would qualify in the top spot on the first session of the 3.560 mile track at 1:57.814 on the factory Screaming Eagle Road Glide. Brother Travis Wyman would top that time on the second qualifying session at 1:55.687. That is about 5 seconds slower than their sport bike counterparts which translates to a top speed of 170 mph! on the back straight. It was looking like it was going to an all HD race, but don’t tell that to Tyler O’Hara on the Mission Foods/S&S Indian Challenger as he would start off with winning the 3 lap sprint and take home the bacon. The weather had changed the scheduling quite a few times and no one was for sure when the first race would go off on Friday. Tyler O’Hara would go into that first race with confidence only having to start at the back of the grid because of a technicality. As the green flag dropped, Tyler had an incredible start passing 5 or 6 riders before entering turn 1. The Wyman brothers stayed out in front lap after lap and it appeared they would take the checkered flag, but the last lap O’Hara got up to the back of them and stayed in the draft till the last turn where he used a slingshot maneuver and dropped the hammer on both of them. There would be some disappointment in the Harley Davidson camp tonight and they would have to regroup to find some strategy for the next race. I don’t care what you think, but people love to see that kind of battle between the two brands, it’s been going on for 100 years. This is what the bikers came to see, this kind of racing was born for the new and old fans. Saturday would be the 2nd race and again Mother Nature would not cooperate as a cold front came through with thunderstorms and tornado watches. Someone above must really like racing as it blew through quick, the sun came out, the NASCAR dryers took care of the moisture and BAM! Time for race number 2. As the race progressed the Indians started showing their teeth, and horsepower. The Wymans started falling behind on the Screamin Eagles and at the white stripe when the checkered flag waved, it would be a clean sweep on the podium for the Indians. Tyler and Kyle Wyman had gone backwards finishing over 10 seconds slower. I wouldn’t want to be in that meeting back in the garage as expectations were high as the current King of the baggers. That race was going to sting. Could the crown be changing hands in 2022? This was some of the most exciting racing experiences in quite a while and it brought out a lot of new fans that normally may not have attended. The King of the Baggers series was a brilliant idea that will pay off over time.

Go to for the complete schedule for the rest of the racing season. There are 5 races left in the King of the Baggers series as they cross the country. You will not be disappointed.

Photos and text by Scott and Carla Odell
See the full article and images in Issue #215 of Born To Ride Magazine

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