After the success of the 2020 King of the Baggers, it’s back for 2021. Only instead of being a one-off motorcycle race, it’s now a full racing series. It even has a spin-off with the Bagger Racing League. And once again, several teams are fielding Indian Challengers to compete. Some of these teams are familiar faces; one, though, has switched sides from Harley-Davidson.
Two Indian Challenger teams return for King of the Baggers 2021
The 2020 King of the Baggers saw Tyler O’Hara take the crown on an S&S-prepped Indian Challenger. And Frankie Garcia, riding on a Roland Sands Design Challenger, took third place. So, naturally, both racers are back again for the 2021 series. Plus, not only are O’Hara and Garcia returning, but they’re riding with the same teams: O’Hara with S&S and Garcia with RSD.
We recently talked with O’Hara, who’s also racing on an Indian FTR750 flat-tracker, about his return to King of the Baggers. He claims it took about 100 laps to really dial in his preferred bike setup. But now that the Challenger is all set, he reports that he’s “more comfortable than ever” on it.
Exactly how much S&S and RSD changed on their 2021 Indian Challenger race bikes isn’t clear. However, RSD claims it removed “more than 250 pounds” from the bike’s 840-lb fully-loaded curb weight. And the team’s list of known modifications includes Fox suspension, Airtech carbon-fiber bodywork, lightweight RSD race wheels, and a modified S&S intake and exhaust.
But, while Garcia is back on an RSD Challenger for the King of the Baggers series, that’s not the only bike he’s riding. Garcia is also competing in the Bagger Racing League with an RSD-prepped 2022 Indian Chief, Cruiser reports. As of this writing, we don’t know any specifics about the BRL Chief, apart from that it’s competing in the Big Twin Class.
Team Saddlemen replaces Harley-Davidson with an Indian Challenger and brings in Patricia Fernandez
While S&S and RSD are familiar names on the Indian side of King of the Baggers, there’s a new team in the paddock. Last year, Team Saddlemen ran a Harley-Davidson Road Glide in the KOB race. But while several teams are fielding Harleys in 2021—including Harley-Davidson itself, Cruiser reports—Saddlemen isn’t one of them. For 2021, the team’s switching to an Indian Challenger.
However, that’s not the only change Team Saddlemen is bringing this year. It has a new rider: Patricia Fernandez, officially the World’s Fastest Female Roadracer, Cycle World reports. Fernandez has raced in Europe and North America on various road circuits, and also coaches at events like Femmewalla, RevZilla reports. And she was the first American woman to compete in Northern Ireland’s Ulster Grand Prix, RideApart reports.
Like Garcia, Fernandez is competing in both the King of the Baggers and the Bagger Racing League. Unlike Garcia, though, she’ll be riding the Indian Challenger in both series, though not in every single event.
When does the racing start?
Speaking of events, the first 2021 King of the Baggers race, held at Road Atlanta, has already started—sort of. The first race weekend runs from April 30th-May 2nd, with qualifying on the 30th and the race itself on the 2nd. As of this writing, O’Hara just took pole position, while Garcia qualified fourth, RoadRacing World reports.
Bagger Racing League, though, isn’t kicking off just yet. The first BRL event runs June 25th-27th at the Utah Motorsports Campus, Ultimate Motorcycling reports.
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