The 2022 King Of The Baggers season opened at Daytona Bike Week last weekend, with Indian taking a pair of wins at the double-header at the Daytona International Speedway. Indian’s Challengers earned four of six podium spots, with Tyler O’Hara winning round 1, and Grand Prix veteran Jeremy McWilliams taking the checkers in round 2. Read more in the press release below.
Minneapolis, MN. (March 14, 2022) – Indian Motorcycle Racing dominated Bike Week in Daytona Beach and kicked off its 2022 race season in dramatic fashion, capturing two wins and four of six podium spots at the King Of The Baggers opening double-header at Daytona International Speedway.
Intent on reclaiming the title of King Of The Baggers for its Indian Challenger, Round 2 saw an all-Challenger podium sweep led by new factory rider Jeremy McWilliams, with Tyler O’Hara and Bobby Fong taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. In Round 1, it was all about inaugural King Of The Baggers Champion O’Hara who put the Indian Challenger on top of the box with a dramatic last-to-first victory. O’Hara finished 1st and 2nd in the opening rounds to take an early lead in the 2022 series points race.
“This weekend was a dramatic display of the incredible level of preparation, determination and skill that powers our teams and riders every time we line up on the grid,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing, Service & Technology for Indian Motorcycle. “Considering the stiff competition and unique challenges we’re facing in both flat track and bagger racing this season, we’re certainly happy to get off to such a positive start, but we know full well that this is merely the beginning. There’s a lot more racing ahead of us, and we expect every race weekend to be a dogfight to the finish.”
KING OF THE BAGGERS
The opening weekend of MotoAmerica’s King Of The Baggers was nothing short of exhilarating.
In his third year piloting the Mission Foods S&S Indian Challenger, O’Hare overcame considerable obstacles in Round 1 to capture his third bagger racing victory. Thanks to a penalty imposed during post-qualifying inspections, O’Hara was forced to start the race at the back of the grid in 13th position. Seemingly unphased by the misfortune, O’Hara literally catapulted off the start, launching his way past more than half the field before entering turn one. From there, he smoothly made his way into third, where he ran for the majority of the race until perfectly timing an incredible move in the final lap, drafting out of the chicane to slingshot his Indian Challenger into first place and take the checkered flag.
“We took a lot of motivation from the disappointing outcome in 2021 and poured it into intensive off-season testing and preparation with the S&S team to ensure we came back strong in 2022, and this weekend was a testament to the dedication, expertise, and commitment of our entire team,” said O’Hara. “We’re confident we have the best bike in the paddock, and we intend to prove that again in 2022. We’re off to a good start; but our competition is fierce, and our work has only just begun.”
Powered by its Round 1 victory, Indian Motorcycle Racing took its success to an even higher level in Round 2 with an all-out Indian Challenger podium sweep. After just missing the podium in his Round 1 bagger racing debut, veteran road racer and newest Indian Motorcycle factory rider Jeremy McWilliams battled head-to-head with fellow Mission Foods S&S Indian Challenger teammate, O’Hara, ultimately edging him out by mere .025 seconds to capture his first King Of The Baggers win and first career win at Daytona.
But O’Hara wasn’t the only threat in this race, while leading into the final lap, McWilliams went high, leaving the door open for Indian Motorcycle privateer Bobby Fong, piloting Steve Delorenzi’s S&S-built RSD Indian Challenger. Fong took full advantage and led most of the final lap, and it wasn’t until the final sprint when McWilliams, along with O’Hara, drafted Fong and made a last-minute pass. While both McWilliams and O’Hara were able to slingshot past Fong, it was McWilliams who was able hold off O’Hara and cross the finish line by slightly less than a bike length.