The 2020 King of the Baggers invitational was a watershed moment for performance bagger riders. The one-off race even inspired the Bagger Racing League and expanded Indian’s performance component catalog. For 2021, King of the Baggers is growing to a three-race series and competitors are rising to the challenge. Harley-Davidson is undoubtedly a headliner of the bagger circuit, and the brand just unveiled its in-progress King of the Baggers project.
After severing ties with Vance & Hines in November, 2020, the Factory Harley-Davidson team will rely on its in-house Screamin’ Eagle performance branch. Shoehorning the brand’s Milwaukee-Eight 131ci (2,147cc) crate engine into a 2021 Road Glide Special, the team hopes that it can take the King of the Baggers crown from the Indian Motorcycle S&S squad.
“Competing in the King of the Baggers series gives Harley-Davidson an opportunity to showcase our Screamin’ Eagle performance products in the heat of competition,” said Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz. “Nobody knows more about building Harley-Davidson performance than our Screamin’ Eagle engineers.”
Last year, the Harley-Davidson Vance & Hines team wedged the same 131ci V-twin in a 2020 Electra Glide. Despite a runoff by Indian rider Tyler O’Hara late in the race, Harley-Davidson and rider Hayden Gillim still had to settle for second place after O’Hara charged back to take the checkered flag.
In 2021, veteran road racer Kyle Wyman will take the reins for the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle team. As an experienced Harley-Davidson XR1200 racer, a Daytona 200 winner, and HONOS Superbike rider, Wyman is poised to take the MoCo to the next level.
"I am very excited and honored to be the rider of the Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Road Glide Special,” said Wyman. “To be a Factory rider for Harley-Davidson is something I've dreamed of since I was little, watching my hero Scott Parker win Grand National Championships on the Harley-Davidson XR750. I look forward to our first race at Road Atlanta and competing aboard this amazing machine."
Wyman won’t have to wait long to straddle his new hog with the 2021 King of the Baggers series kicking off the weekend of April 30-May 2, 2021 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Sources: Harley-Davidson, Vance & Hines