Here They Come: Mission King Of The Baggers Is Headed To COTA And MotoGP

MotoAmerica’s Mission King Of The Baggers Is Set To Strut Its Stuff In Front Of The World With Texas Invasion At Circuit Of The Americas, April 12-13.

Harley-Davidson’s Kyle Wyman won the most important two Mission King Of The Baggers races of the 2024 season when he doubled up at Daytona International Speedway the second weekend in March.

Or did he?

Here They Come: Mission King Of The Baggers Is Headed To Cota And Motogp
Following his perfect weekend at Daytona, Kyle Wyman leads the Mission King Of The Baggers Championship as the series heads to Circuit of The Americas for round two, April 12-13. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

The fact that he won both races at the “World Center Of Racing” isn’t up for debate. What is up for debate, however, is whether the Daytona round or this week’s round at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, which will take place in front of a worldwide audience with MotoGP, is the bigger event. Either way, they are both big.

Kyle Wyman arrives at COTA armed with his factory Harley-Davidson Factory Racing’s Road Glide and fresh off his two wins at Daytona. As the all-time wins leader in the class with 14 victories, Kyle Wyman has become the benchmark of the series and his two Daytona victories have him atop the 2024 standings with a perfect 50 points. Wyman also won the first of two races at COTA during the debut of the class in Texas this past September.

Defending MotoAmerica Mission King Of The Baggers Champion Hayden Gillim didn’t have the best Daytona as he opened his title defense on the RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, but his fourth and fifth-place finishes put him fourth in the championship heading to COTA. He trails Kyle Wyman by 26 points but, with the uncertainty of Baggers racing, that number isn’t as bad as it seems.

Gillim emerged from last year’s dramatic season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park with a win and a second place, and that earned him the title by 18 points over James Rispoli after a consistent season that saw him win three races and finish on the podium in eight others. Gillim can also take solace in the fact that he was fourth and fifth on one occasion last year at Road America, which mimics his Daytona results from a month ago.

Gillim also has the confidence that comes with two second-place finishes in the two Bagger races at COTA this past September.

Kyle Wyman’s new teammate for 2024 is Gillim’s old teammate from 2023 – Rispoli. He joins the factory Harley team after his runner-up finish in last year’s title chase, a season that had him atop the podium on two occasions with 10 total podiums. One of his victories came in race two at COTA after the Floridian was third in race one. Rispoli started his 2024 with two thirds at Daytona.

With Rispoli now on the factory team, 19-year-old Rocco Landers took his spot on the RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson in what is his debut season in the class. Landers, a former MotoAmerica Twins Cup and Junior Cup Champion, knows his way around a podium as he’s tasted success in every class he’s attempted. Landers’ Baggers debut at Daytona resulted in fifth- and 10th-place finishes.

The racer who currently sits just 10 points behind Kyle Wyman in the 2024 title chase after Daytona is newcomer Troy Herfoss, the three-time Australian Superbike Champion who made not only his Mission King Of The Baggers debut at Daytona but also his MotoAmerica debut. Herfoss opened eyes when he finished second in both Daytona races in March. The Aussie will be making his COTA debut this coming weekend.

If Herfoss needs any help in learning COTA, he can get it from the other side of the canopy where the S&S/Indian Motorcycle’s Indian Challenger of Tyler O’Hara is parked. O’Hara, the 2022 Mission King Of The Baggers Champion, had an off-year (by his standards) in 2023 and finished fifth in the championship with five podiums (three of which were runner-up finishes) and no victories. O’Hara will also be trying to make amends for failing to score a point in the two races at COTA last year.

Fifth place in the championship after Daytona is held by RydFast Racing’s Kyle Ohnsorg and his Indian Challenger. Ohnsorg was sixth in both races at the Speedway. The Minnesotan likely has a fondness for Circuit of The Americas as he scored his first-career podium there last year.

The Saddlemen/Harley-Davidson team arrives in Texas with Cory West, Travis Wyman and Jake Lewis riding the team’s three Road Glides. The trio are eighth (Travis Wyman), 11th (Lewis) and 12th (West) after an issue-filled Daytona and are looking to rebound.

SDI/Roland Sands Racing/Indian Motorcycle’s Bobby Fong won twice and had six total podiums last year, but he also had a difficult Daytona with a non-finish and a seventh on his scorecard.

Mad Monkey Motorsports’ Max Flinders sits in the top 10 following Daytona after his ninth- and 11th-place finishes in the two races. Flinders earned his first MotoAmerica podium last year in the Baggers season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Spaniard Ruben Xaus had a dismal beginning to his MotoAmerica debut season with just one point coming his way at Daytona. The Feuling Parts Harley racer comes to MotoAmerica with an impressive resume that includes race wins in the World Superbike Championship. Xaus, who lives in Andorra, will be looking to find his feet at COTA.

The Baggers hit the COTA road course for the first time at 8:20 a.m. on Friday, April 12 for Practice 1 and then again at 4:15 p.m. for a 15-minute qualifying session.

At 4:45 p.m., the Baggers will race for the first time in the three-lap Mission King Of The Baggers Challenge.

On Saturday, the first of two six-lap Mission King Of The Baggers races will start at 12:15 p.m. with race two slated for 4 p.m., following the MotoGP Sprint race that starts at 3 p.m.

Pre-Race Notes…

Kyle Wyman is the Mission King Of The Baggers lap record holder at Circuit Of The Americas with his 2:15.461 lap record set in Sunday morning warm up this past September. The fastest lap from the two races last year also goes to Wyman with his 2:16.429 set en route to him winning race one.

Thirteen riders have entered the Mission King Of The Baggers Presented By Drag Specialties. Eight of those are Harley-Davidson Road Glides with five Indian Challengers on the entry list.

Kyle Wyman is far and away the winningest rider in the short history of Mission King Of The Baggers with his 14 victories. Three riders are tied for second with three wins – Tyler O’Hara, Hayden Gillim and Bobby Fong. The other two riders to win King Of The Baggers races are Jeremy McWiliams and Travis Wyman, with those two having one win apiece.

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