Sportbikes like the Suzuki GSXR and Ducati Panigale V4 are the usual tools of choice for motorcycle racing. At least, for racing on dedicated paved tracks. But in 2020, a handful of luggage-equipped cruisers took to Laguna Seca to compete in the King of the Baggers. And safe to say, the event was a big hit. So big, in fact, that it’s now inspired not only a follow-up series but its own motorcycle racing league.
The King of the Baggers race is expanding for 2021
Over the weekend of October 24th-25th, 2020, 13 Harley-Davidsons and Indians lined up on the King of the Baggers starting line. The race ran for eight laps, and in the end, Tyler O’Hara on the S&S Indian Challenger came in first. Hayley Gillim came in second on a Vance and Hines Harley-Davidson, with Frankie Garcia on the Roland Sands Design Challenger coming in third.
At the time, the King of the Baggers race was as much an experiment as an inaugural event. But there’s been so much positive reception that it’s returning for 2021, RideApart reports. However, it won’t be just a single race anymore. Instead, the 2021 King of the Baggers will be a 5-round racing series, “held in conjunction with the MotoAmerica HONOS SuperBike Series,” Cycle World reports.
Besides the new format, the King of the Baggers series will also be easier for riders to enter. For 2021, any rider with an AMA license is eligible to compete. For now, the regulations limit competitors to riding a Harley-Davidson or Indian bagger or touring bike, CW reports. But seeing as BMW now has its own cruiser, and Royal Enfield’s working on one, perhaps the entries will be even more varied in the future.
And it’s inspired a full-on motorcycle racing league
While an expanded King of the Baggers is great news, it’s not the only bagger-related motorcycle racing news. Besides the new series, interest in the 2020 race has also inspired a new motorcycle racing league, CW reports. And fittingly, it’s called the Bagger Racing League.
Although the King of the Baggers inspired the new league, it’s its own separate entity with its own race schedule. The BRL has four classes: Hooligan GP, Big Twin GP, Stunt GP, and Bagger GP, CycleNews reports. And while it’s technically a motorcycle racing league, the focus is more on entertainment than outright competition, CW explains.
Bagger GP consists of Harley-Davidson and Indian touring bikes and is the closest to the 2020 King of the Baggers race in terms of specs. Stunt GP is an invitational race split up into three parts: an evening stunt show, followed by a qualifying event, and finally the actual race. This class competes on three separate days.
Big Twin GP and Hooligan GP are fairly loose in comparison. The former class covers “large-displacement big twin” bikes, while the latter consists of “V-twin-inspired platforms.” The typical Hooligan bike will likely be a Harley-Davidson Sportster, an Indian Scout, or perhaps a Buell bike, CW explains. As for the Big Twin class, it covers motorcycles like the Indian Vintage Dark Horse and Harley-Davidson Street Glide, RideApart explains.
When and where will these races take place?
The first King of the Baggers race will take place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta over the April 30-May 2, 2021 weekend. The next race will be at Road America over June 11-13. Then, the third race takes place on July 9-11 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. After that, the race series moves to the Pittsburgh International Race Complex for the August 13-15 events, before finishing over September 17-19 at Barber Motorsports Park.
As for the Bagger Racing League, a kind of trial-run was already held on January 25th, 2021. But the schedule officially kicks off June 25th, 2021, at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Salt Lake City.
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