The 2022 King of the Baggers race season has delivered one unpredictable round after another. Both Indian and Harley-Davidson riders claimed the championship standings lead throughout the year, but it all came down to the final round at the New Jersey Motorsport Park on September 11, 2022.
With Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle rider Travis Wyman clinging to a three-point lead coming into the title-deciding round, Indian remained on the outside looking in. Unfortunately, Mission Foods S&S Cycle Indian rider Tyler O’Hara struggled to find pace throughout the weekend, qualifying in fifth place, behind both Harley Factory riders.
“[I] just had to chip away at it. These boys were on it this weekend,” O’Hara admitted. “I just took it one corner at a time.”
That approach would pay off in the end, with a rain-soaked track greeting the riders on Sunday. Just two laps in, championship fore-runner Travis Wyman lost the front of his Road Glide Special, crashing out while lapping in third place. Wyman eventually regathered to finish the race in ninth, but the incident ultimately cost him the 2022 KotB crown.
Unbeknownst to O’Hara, he inherited the title lead following Wyman’s crash. Circulating in second place, the Indian rider just needed to bring it home to become the 2022 champ. However, the sodden track wasn’t going to make that task any easier.
“We got a little sporty there. [I] jumped out of the seat one time and then just kind of backed her down a little bit,” O’Hara acknowledged. “To be honest, I had no idea that Travis was out. I didn’t even see my OK on the board.”
Fortunately, number 29 kept the Challenger on two wheels, crossing the finish line just behind 2021 KotB champion Kyle Wyman. After seven rounds, O’Hara seized 123 points. Travis Wyman finished the season with 113 points while his brother, Kyle Wyman, rounded out the top three with 111 points.
“That was my dream to stand up on top of that podium holding the number one plate, from the beginning of the year,” stated O’Hara. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity and this team. I was having fun, actually. I was just enjoying the moment.”