Herfoss, Wyman Split Wins In King Of The Baggers Challenge At COTA

Herfoss, Wyman Split Wins In King Of The Baggers Challenge At CotaHerfoss Takes Race One, Wyman Turns The Tables In Race Two After Two Epic Texas Battles.

Fittingly, the top two men in the 2024 Mission King Of The Baggers Championship split victories today at Circuit of The Americas with S&S/Indian Motorcycle’s Troy Herfoss and Harley-Davidson Factory Racing’s Kyle Wyman each winning a race on a sunny Saturday in Texas.

It was Herfoss winning the first of the two races after a come-from-behind ride that saw him at the back of the seven-strong lead pack early in the race. The Australian soldiered on, slicing and dicing his way through the pack and coming out on top of a hectic last-lap battle with his teammate Tyler O’Hara and Wyman. At the finish line it was Herfoss by .295 of a second over Wyman with O’Hara .685 of a second behind the winner in third place.

Herfoss, Wyman Split Wins In King Of The Baggers Challenge At Cota
Troy Herfoss celebrates after his come-from-behind victory in race one at COTA. The win was the Australian’s first in the Mission King Of The Baggers series. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Wyman’s teammate James Rispoli and RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson’s Hayden Gillim were a shadow fourth and fifth and separated by just .145 of a second.

Gillim’s rookie teammate Rocco Landers was a lonely sixth with SDI/Roland Sands Racing/Indian Motorcycles’ Bobby Fong managing to nurse his blown-up motorcycle to seventh. The team would work as fast as possible between race one and two to get Fong back on the grid.

Saddlemen/Harley-Davidson’s Cory West, RydFast Racing’s Kyle Ohnsorg and Mad Monkey Motorsports’s Max Flinders rounded out the top 10.

“Firstly, it’s an honor to be standing here today with my first win, especially with these two great competitors,” Herfoss said after his first-ever Mission King Of The Baggers victory. “There are more wins between these two guys than I dream of having. So, to get my first win here in COTA at MotoGP is a great feeling. To answer your question, yeah, it did feel like I was out of it. I’ve got a lot of days on the bike now. There’re no excuses to not be able to be competitive, but I don’t have a lot of experience racing because Daytona was not really a race in the infield. It was a race to get to the outfield. So, I didn’t see the true speed of these riders in the infield a lot of time, whereas today there were six guys going toe-to-toe, fighting at their best pace. So, I couldn’t ride the lap they were riding. I could not ride my bike the same way the guys in front of me could ride their bikes, even between the different manufacturers.

“I know it’s a short race, but I spent the first two laps just confused. Over-riding the corners, over-riding the braking. I didn’t concede, but I sort of sat back to take a breather. Got nabbed by Bobby Fong and went, ‘okay, it’s time. I’ve got make something of this.’ Honestly, once I started riding my own race it became a lot easier to make my passes. I knew that if I could sneak through on Tyler (O’Hara) behind Kyle (Wyman) I could see that Kyle was calculating what he was going to do with Tyler. I knew that was my only hope because I didn’t have better speed than Kyle. I just knew that if I could get him by surprise… Just because Kyle, Tyler and I are riding a different lap, even on the same bike. You’ve got to take them when you can get them. I fought as hard as I could. It’s a real privilege to be up here on the top step.”

Herfoss, Wyman Split Wins In King Of The Baggers Challenge At Cota
Race two on Saturday at COTA was another Herfoss vs. Wyman battle only this time the win went to Wyman. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Wyman turned the tables on Herfoss in the second race as those two sped away from the chasing group, setting up a battle between the two that went to the finish. Herfoss led most of it, but Wyman, after an attempted pass at the end of the backstraight didn’t pan out, finally pulled off a pass on the final lap. At that point, Wyman put his head down and set sail, though Herfoss was still within striking distance.

Wyman wasn’t to be denied this time around and he saved his best for last with a record-breaking lap of 2:14.890 sealing his victory, albeit by just .677 of a second over Herfoss.

Behind those two came an epic battle for the final podium spot between Rispoli and Fong with Rispoli getting the spot by less than half a second. O’Hara and Gillim were also in the mix with O’Hara topping Gillim for fifth. Gillim’s teammate Landers ended up seventh.

Ohnsorg, Flinders and West rounded out the top 10.

“Obviously, we’re super happy,” Wyman said after his 15th career Mission King Of The Baggers victory. “To come out of the first two rounds with this many points is a big deal. It was a good race. I got a worse start today, so I had to be more patient. Like I said on the podium, really learned my lesson in September. I really panicked when I got shuffled back and it cost me a championship, potentially. That’s just experience. You can’t rush or pay for it, and I was just patient today and luckily didn’t get caught up in the melee behind me. The Mission Challenge, I was in that, and it was just a joke. You can’t do anything. These guys are gone at the front if they get clean air. Tried to just methodically work my way forward. Got up to Troy (Herfoss) and then he started clicking off good laps. It started to grow the gap from myself back to third. So, that’s always a good feeling because you’ve got some breathing room, and you can start to plan things out. I didn’t really know where I was going to make a move. I was really indecisive. As calculated as I may have looked, I was like, ‘I don’t really know where I’m going to go. I’m just going to go when it feels right.’ I made one move down into 12 off the back straightaway. Got a good run. Got a good draft there. Overcooked it a little bit. He came back underneath me. Last lap, I felt like I had pace in the esses, so I wanted to try him in turn one and see if I could lead the whole rest of the lap, and that’s what we were able to do. So, pretty happy, obviously. Big thanks to Harley- Davidson, the whole team. They’ve just done an incredible job sticking with it this weekend. Doing a new track record on the last lap of the race, as hot as it was, is a great feeling and hopefully a sign of things to come.”

Herfoss, Wyman Split Wins In King Of The Baggers Challenge At Cota
(From left to right) Herfoss, Wyman and Rispoli celebrate on the COTA podium after race two.
Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Race One

  1. Troy Herfoss (Indian)
  2. Kyle Wyman (Harley-Davidson)
  3. Tyler O’Hara (Indian)
  4. James Rispoli (Harley-Davidson)
  5. Hayden Gillim (Harley-Davidson)
  6. Rocco Landers (Harley-Davidson)
  7. Bobby Fong (Indian)
  8. Cory West (Harley-Davidson)
  9. Kyle Ohnsorg (Indian)
  10. Max Flinders (Indian)

Race Two

  1. Kyle Wyman (Harley-Davidson)
  2. Troy Herfoss (Indian)
  3. James Rispoli (Harley-Davidson)
  4. Bobby Fong (Indian)
  5. Tyler O’Hara (Indian)
  6. Hayden Gillim (Harley-Davidson)
  7. Rocco Landers (Harley-Davidson)
  8. Kyle Ohnsorg (Indian)
  9. Max Flinders (Indian)
  10. Cory West (Harley-Davidson)