We haven’t paid much attention to MotoAmerica’s racing this season, but the organizers managed to put together a series in the States, despite pandemic restrictions. This year, the series closed out at Laguna Seca with one of the oddest things we’ve seen in a while: A bagger race.
The King of the Baggers race showcased big-bore American V-twins (no F6B, V-Star, Vulcan or Valkyrie here!). The machines were “built” by big names from the aftermarket scene, like Roland Sands Design or Vance & Hines. By the time the Laguna Seca round came, there were 13 bikes signed to the race, including two Indians and 11 Harley-Davidsons. There were some relatively unknown racers signed up, and a few well-known names, including Ben Bostrom, Josh Herrin and Michael Barnes.
Practice for the event included a massive loop-out from Frankie Garcia, aboard the Roland Sands Design-built Indian:
On to the race, then! The results of the eight-lap, 15-minute affair depend on your perspective. Barnes had a DNS, and by the end of the race, three other racers had DNF’d (Josh Herrin, Michael Woolaway, Ben Bostrom). The racers’ lap times were around the same as the Twins class. Considering the money spent on this affair, that could be embarrassing … or, you could just see it as a fun idea in the first place, and who cares about the result? Sure, the baggers were big and heavy, but they were still going around the track, ridden to their limit, and that’s more than a lot of riders can say about their own machines.
Tyler O’Hara won the race on his S&S Indian. Hayden Gillim was second, on the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, and Frankie Garcia took third on the RSD Indian (his team managed to patch up the damage in time for the race). All the DNFs were Harley-Davidsons, and the MoCo bikes visibly lacked the capability of the Indians at the race. Back to the drawing board for next year, then! Although there’s no guarantee this event will run in 2021, MotoAmerica put a lot of effort into promoting it this year, and it’s hard to imagine we won’t see some sort of attempt to repeat it.