Words by Staff Photos courtesy of Indian Motorcycle
They were the favorites coming in, favorites after qualifying, and looked to be on their way to a runaway victory in the inaugural Drag Specialties King of the Baggers event at Laguna Seca Raceway on October 24.
But then Indian Motorcycle’s Tyler O’Hara lost the front of his Indian Challenger in Laguna’s treacherous Turn Two and skidded into the gravel, handing the lead to Vance & Hines’ Hayden Gillim aboard his blaze-orange Harley-Davidson and re-entering the track in third place.
Suddenly, we had a race on our hands.
O’Hara took a lap or two to get his bearings, but as most anticipated he dispatched then-runner-up Frankie Garcia on the Roland Sands Indian and set his sights on Gillim, eventually passing him going into the Corkscrew in dramatic fashion late in the race and winning by two seconds.
“I was fortunate to keep it on two wheels in the sand,” O’Hara said afterward. “Hayden was riding really good, and same with Frankie. It’s just so fun to be part of this whole King of the Baggers. I haven’t seen people that excited about motorcycle racing in a long time. People were jumping up and down and hooting and hollering. It was just fun to put on a show with these guys. My hat’s off to everybody who rode a bagger this weekend because some of the bikes out there didn’t look too fun to be on!”
Look for expanded coverage of the bikes and teams in our December issue…you won’t want to miss it!