A war we’re more than happy to enjoy this year as well, when we’ll have the largest number of King of the Baggers races ever. That would be 14 of them, grouped in double-headers taking place on the sidelines of the Superbike series.
The first pair of races takes place on the weekend of March 9, with the usual assortment of Indian Challengers and Harley-Davidson Road Glides taking the center stage. And with so little time left until the start of the first outing, the Milwaukee-based bike maker let loose some details of its 2023 weapons and goals.
Just like in 2022, Harley will throw into the fight a factory-backed team. The weapons to be used are Road Glides equipped with modified Screamin’ Eagle® Milwaukee-Eight 131 crate engines. Compared to last year, the bikes have been upgraded, of course. They got new suspension systems, a combination between Harley and Ohlins hardware, a new exhaust system, race-ready tires, but also some tweaks to the bodywork to make them a tad lighter.
Leading these beasts into combat will be the same crew as last year, comprising Kyle Wyman and his brother Travis. Between them, the two have a total of four race wins, one King of the Baggers title (Kyle Wyman in 2021), and a runner-up place in 2022 (Travis Wyman).
The competition this year is expected to be as fierce as ever, with Indian, who won last year’s championship, throwing into the fight a factory team as well, comprising Tyler O’Hara, champion in 2022, and Jeremy McWilliams. Both Harley’s and Indian’s crews will be accompanied on the track by more or less independent teams riding some of America’s most famous baggers.
Following this weekend’s Daytona opener, the King of the Baggers will continue on April 21 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, and on June 2 at Road America. July will bring two sets of races, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (July 7) and Brainerd International Raceway (July 28). The last two double-headers will take place on 8 and 22 September, at Circuit of the Americas and New Jersey Motorsports Park, respectively.