The 2022 King of the Baggers (KotB) season produced some of the most unpredictable racing and results in series history. Spread over seven months and seven races, this season truly showcased the neck-and-neck rivalry between Indian Motorcycle and Harley-Davidson. Throughout the season, Indian and Harley riders racked up three victories for their respective teams.
S&S Cycle Indian rider Tyler O’Hara led the charge for the Minnesota-based manufacturer from the get-go, taking a first and second place finish at the open round in Daytona. Number 29 held on to his championship lead for the first five races. However, a late-season charge by Harley-Davidson Factory rider Travis Wyman quickly closed the gap.
After Wyman finished second at the penultimate round at Brainerd International Raceway, he led O’Hara by three points heading into the finale at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Despite entering the title-deciding round as the underdog, O’Hara remained confident in his chances. After all, the veteran bagger racer is familiar with win-or-go-home situations.
Throughout the New Jersey race weekend, the O’Hara chipped away at the time sheets. As his lap times fell, the championship contender continued to seek advice from teammate McWilliams and team engineers and mechanics. Thanks to that steadfast work ethic, O’Hara eventually qualified in fifth position for Sunday’s race.
The S&S Cycle Indian team didn’t catch all the breaks, though. When a mechanical issue spoiled O’Hara’s Mission Challenge entry, he took the news in stride, consulting with Roland Sands Design Indian rider Bobby Fong following the sprint race. That collaborative environment helped O’Hara find a suitable setup despite missing the weekend’s dash for cash.
The next morning, on September 11, 2022, the paddock awoke to rain. The downpour only heightened the stakes, but with his team behind him, O’Hara knew he could go out and finish the job. In the end, O’Hara overcame the treacherous conditions, finished in second place, and brought the KotB crown back to Indian.
“Every one of our guys contributed in their own way and that’s what we needed to make this happen,” stated S&S Cycle Director of Engineering Jeff Bailey. “Everybody did their job.”