The Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle factory race team finished the 2021 King of the Baggers season flying high. H-D rider Kyle Wyman not only dominated the final race at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway but topped the overall standings by 25 points when it was all said and done. Following the post-race celebrations, however, the Motor Company had one goal in mind – repeat in 2022.
To protect its KotB crown and newly-acquired number 1 plate, Harley pressed forward with development and testing throughout the off-season. Both Kyle and Travis Wyman held back nothing, pushing themselves and the team to the absolute limit. By the time the 2022 season opener rolled around at the hallowed Daytona International Speedway, the factory outfit was primed to defend its championship with full firepower.
As racing goes, though, not everything went to plan. Indian Motorcycle’s Tyler O’Hara nipped the race-one win from the Wyman Brothers at the line, while Jeremy McWilliams led an all-Indian podium in the weekend’s second race. The results not only left Harley on its back foot, but a mechanical issue for Kyle Wyman foiled any damage-control efforts. It turned out, Daytona was just a microcosm for the season to come, with the team experiencing ups and downs round after round.
The elder Wyman got his mojo back at Road Atlanta, seizing his first victory of the season. Not far behind, the younger Wyman took his first checkered flag for the Bar and Shield just one round later at Wisconsin’s Road America. The team’s good-luck streak ran out in Minnesota, unfortunately, when Kyle Wyman’s Road Glide race bike spilled oil onto the track. The resulting damage and cleanup forced MotoAmerica officials to disqualify the reigning champ from the penultimate racing, nearly eliminating him from the title chase.
Even without his wingman, Travis Wyman held his own, finishing second and catapulting to the top of the rider standings. With just three points separating Travis Wyman from Indian’s Tyler O’Hara, the margin for error couldn’t be tighter and the stakes couldn’t be higher. As luck would have it, the heavens opened at the title-deciding race at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.
After trailing the leading pack for the first laps, the number 10 folded the front end of his bike and the chances of winning the 2022 championship. O’Hara ultimately captured the top prize, motivating H-D to come back stronger in 2023. However, the team achieved mixed results at the Daytona season opener with three mechanical failures and one race win. Needless to say, Harley looks locked in yet another drama-filled battle for the KotB throne in 2023.