King of the Baggers Daytona
A full podium of Harley-Davidson riders at Race 2 of the King Of The Baggers opener in Daytona. James Rispoli (left) won Race 1 and comes away from Daytona with the KOTB points lead.

Racing at Daytona Speedway is often unpredictable, and that’s especially true in a class like MotoAmerica’s King Of The Baggers series in which teams continue to stretch the limits of what’s possible from these steroid-injected touring bikes.

“You can think of so many scenarios that could happen going into this weekend,” commented 2021 KOTB champ Kyle Wyman, “but you could not predict either one of these days.”

King of the Baggers Daytona

The season-opening race kicked off during Daytona Bike Week, March 9-11. The class of the field was Wyman, who was quickest in Thursdays’ qualifying and handily won Friday’s King Of The Baggers Challenge three-lap dash-for-cash race around the 3.5-mile Daytona road course.

Related: 2023 King of the Baggers Harley-Davidson Racing Team Includes Travis and Kyle Wyman

But Wyman’s party came to a premature end when the engine of his Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide expired while leading the race, as did brother Travis’ motor a few laps later.

That opened the door for the Vance & Hines H-D pairing of James Rispoli and Hayden Gillim to finish 1-2 on their Road Glides, with Rispoli beating Gillim to the line by just 0.089 second. O’Hara, the 2022 class champ, worked his way up to 3rd place for Indian Motorcycle’s best KOTB finish of the weekend at Daytona.

It was a heroic ride for Rispoli, as he suffered a vicious tank-slapper midway through the race and nearly clipped the Speedway’s wall while trying to keep his bagger under control. It was an amazing save, and to have buckled down after the harrowing incident to win the race was an epic ride.

Race 2 was even worse for the Indian Challengers, with Wyman romping away to a clear win ahead of Rispoli and Gillim and two other Harleys to fill out the top 5. Travis Wyman was knocked out of the race early with a mechanical issue. Indian’s factory team of O’Hara and McWilliams struggled in the race, leaving Hawk Mazzotta (Lloyds Garage) and Kyle Ohnsorg (Roland Sands Design) as the top-finishing Indians in 6th and 7th.

King of the Baggers Daytona
Kyle Wyman (33) leads the pack at the King Of The Baggers season opener in Daytona, followed by James Rispoli (43) and Travis Wyman (10).

“I’m so excited that we got our Harley-Davidson Road Glide motorcycle working so well today,” said Wyman after his victory. “This is my first win at Daytona since 2019, and this is such a special place, so a victory here is always special. We had a tough day yesterday, but the entire team just dug in and we had smooth sailing today.”

King of the Baggers Daytona Kyle Wyman

“Our issues this weekend were specifically with our tires,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology and Service for Indian Motorcycle. “MotoAmerica is a spec-tire series, and we are only given one choice for tires for Daytona, and they failed with our higher speeds after four laps. But our new bikes are performing incredibly well, with a significantly higher level of both handling and power, as evidenced by both our riders registering speeds of more than 180 mph throughout the weekend. At the end of the day, the performance of our Indian Challengers, coupled with our success in the Super Hooligan class, has us feeling extremely optimistic and incredibly motivated heading into the second round in Atlanta.”

Rispoli’s 1-2 finishes vaulted him into the championship points lead as the KOTB field heads to Road Atlanta, April 21-23. He leads with 45 points, followed by teammate Gillim with 36 points. Team Saddlemen Harley-Davidson rider Cory West sits 3rd with 26 points, and Wyman is place just one point behind in 4th. O’Hara is tied with Team Saddlemen’s Jake Lewis for 5th at 21 points apiece.

MotoAmerica King of the Baggers Race Results – Daytona Race 1

  1. James Rispoli (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing
  2. Hayden Gillim (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing
  3. Tyler O’Hara (Indian) Progressive/Mission Foods
  4. Cory West (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  5. Jeremy McWilliams (Indian) Progressive/Mission Foods
  6. Jake Lewis (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  7. Hawk Mazzotta (Indian) Lloyds Garage
  8. Kyle Ohnsorg (Indian) Roland Sands Design
  9. Max Flinders (Indian) M3/Revolution Performance
  10. Frankie Garcia (H-D) Team Saddlemen

MotoAmerica King of the Baggers Race Results – Daytona Race 2

  1. Kyle Wyman (H-D) Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
  2. James Rispoli (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing
  3. Hayden Gillim (H-D) Vance & Hines Racing
  4. Cory West (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  5. Jake Lewis (H-D) Team Saddlemen
  6. Hawk Mazzotta (Indian) Lloyds Garage
  7. Kyle Ohnsorg (Indian) Roland Sands Design
  8. Jeremy McWilliams (Indian) Progressive/Mission Foods
  9. Max Flinders (Indian) M3/Revolution Performance
  10. Danny Eslick (H-D) Nowaskey Extreme Performance

Super Hooligan National Championship

Indian fared better at Daytona in the Super Hooligan races, with 2022 champ Tyler O’Hara making a last-second pass on RSD Indian rider Bobby Fong to take the Race 1 victory by just 0.064 second. McWilliams passed Harley Pan America rider Corey West on the last lap to make it an Indian FTR 1-2-3.

“Tyler’s playing chess, not checkers,” said Fong after the race.

Tyler O'Hara Super Hooligan at Daytona
Tyler O’Hara (1) bagged a pair of wins at Daytona’s Super Hooligan races, while Indian teammate Jeremy McWilliams (99) netted two podium finishes. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Indian test rider/engineer Kyle Ohnsorg did well to place 5th, while KTM-mounted Andy DiBrino was 6th. Stefano Mesa on an Energica electric bike finished in 7th ahead of Mark Price on a KTM 890 Duke and the BMW R-nineT of Vigilante Racing’s Nate Kern.

Saturday looked to be a banner day for Harley-Davidson, when Team Saddlemen’s Cory West won the Super Hooligan race, but he was stripped of the victory after his Pan America failed to pass a post-race technical examination. To be eligible for the Super Hooligan class, the Pan America is required to use the more restrictive airbox from the Sportster S, which apparently wasn’t fitted to the bike after an overnight engine swap.

West’s DQ vaulted O’Hara to the class win, followed by teammate McWilliams and Price’s KTM, just edging Kern in 4th. Mesa rode the Energica electric bike to an impressive 5th.



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