Three cheers for the red, white, and blue as RydFast Racing Indian rider Kyle Ohnsorg (shown here) and the rest of the Mission King Of The Baggers riders and teams put on an incredible show at Circuit of The Americas this past weekend. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Random notes, comments, statistics, musings, and bits of trivia from the COTA Mission King Of The Baggers round:

Herfoss Gives His Thoughts

Two rounds and four races into the season, and what does three-time Australian Superbike Champion and current S&S/Indian Motorcycle competitor Troy Herfoss think of the Mission King Of The Baggers Championship? “Really the only question is, did you enjoy the race?” Herfoss said during the race two press conference. “Aside from Supersport and Superbike, how about King Of The Baggers? Did you enjoy the race? I sure would if I watched that back. That’s really, from my short time in the series, that’s what the goal is, to create great racing with different bikes. It’s an unknown for people. People don’t know what these bikes are like on the track. So, the fan feedback I get is, ‘Wow, how do you ride that big bike?’ The reality is the bikes are very good, and they’re easy to ride for us guys because they do such a good job for us. We’re not here to compete against Supersport. I know, for sure, whatever bike I’m running in this championship, I can be competitive. It’s not about a lap time. It’s about creating a show and getting the most out of our particular bikes.”

A Buck-Seventy

Coming off the season-opening round at Daytona, where Harley-Davidson Factory Racing’s James Rispoli and S&S Cycle/Indian Motorcycle teammates Tyler O’Hara and Troy Herfoss all achieved a highest trap speed of 185.5 miles per hour, there is no way the Mission King Of The Baggers riders could come close to that speed at the tighter, more stop-and-go Circuit of The Americas, could they? Well, no, but during Saturday’s race two at COTA, Rispoli’s teammate Kyle Wyman went 169.9 miles per hour on the very first lap, which was matched by O’Hara on the second lap of the six-lap event-concluding race two.

Wyman took the checkered flag and completed the fastest-ever lap around COTA by a Mission King Of The Baggers rider. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Save The Best For Last

Speaking of Kyle Wyman, he saved his fastest lap of the event–and the fastest Mission King Of The Baggers lap ever recorded around the 20-turn 3.426-mile Circuit of the Americas–for his final circulation of the circuit, and it got him the victory. Wyman’s lap of 2:14.890 made him the first KOTB rider to dip into the 14s. Afterwards, Wyman said about the lap, “I was just head down. (I was) actually surprised (that I broke the track record on that lap) because of how greasy the track was. The fact that I had to make a move into (turn) one is not the fast way through there, plus the mistakes I think I made. So, it just speaks to how good that Harley-Davidson Road Glide is.”

One Of These Sides Is Not Like The Other

For the most part, road racing motorcycles are very symmetrical. Full fairings and swoopy tail sections help cut through and channel the air, and you can lean the bikes over pretty much the same on each side. Not so with the Mission King Of The Baggers bikes, though. When we asked Kyle Wyman how much lean angle he is getting out of his Harley-Davidson Factory Racing Road Glide, his answer was surprising in a couple of ways. “I think we’re creeping up on 60 degrees, for sure, on the right side of the bike (MotoGP riders generally achieve 60 degrees of lean angle in turns). These are not symmetrical machines, so each side poses different challenges as far as the lean angle that’s available. COTA is actually one of the tracks where we put a lot of emphasis on that because there are so many left-handed turns, and we struggle on the left side for lean angle. I think, on the right side, we’re 58, 59. So we’re getting close to the MotoGP bikes. It’s pretty wild.”

A Superbike In Touring Clothing

As mentioned earlier, Troy Herfoss is a three-time Australian Superbike Champion, but he is also a former AMA Supermoto Champion and he’s raced a lot of Australian flat track and even some motocross making him one of the most versatile riders in the MotoAmerica paddock and uniquely qualified to tell us whether riding a Mission King Of The Baggers bikes feels more like a Superbike with all that power and acceleration or more like a Supermoto bike with the wide handlebars and the bike moving around so much underneath him. After Saturday’s race two, the S&S/Indian Motorcycle rider said, “With brand-new rubber and really good grip from the first lap, it’s a lot like a Superbike. The bike can turn really fast, but you’re limited by grip. Physics doesn’t allow this bike to turn as good as a Superbike, but with grip, you can ride it like a Superbike, in my opinion. Then, as the session goes on, like at the end of that race, for example—we raced these flat tracks in Australia on a black, oil-based surface with 7-inch wet weather tires, and it’s like the best-ever oil track you’ve ever ridden. There’s a lot of movement in the tires (on the Bagger), but you’ve got grip, and it’s a lot like Supermoto. It’s like a cross between Supermoto and Australian flat track, I guess. It’s a lot of fun. I can tell you that, for sure.”

Jeremy McWilliams imparts some Ulsternan wisdom on his S&S/Indian Motorcycle teammate Tyler O’Hara. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Where There’s A McWill, There’s A Way

Ulsterman Jeremy McWilliams is not racing in this year’s Mission King Of The Baggers Championship, but McWilliams is still very much a part of the S&S/Indian Motorcycle team. He spent the weekend at COTA conferring with teammate Tyler O’Hara, while sharing notes and data with him, and giving O’Hara encouragement. McWill and O’Hara battled tooth snd nail in both Mission King Of The Baggers and th Mission Super Hooligan National Championship last season, so it’s great to see such camaraderie between the two riders.

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