WATCH: The King of the Baggers race at Laguna Seca is as bizarre as it sounds

The King of the Baggers (ie. Harley-Davidson vs Indian) race at Laguna Seca is both as strange as it sounds and as logical as it doesn't....

King of the Baggers

We love motorcycle racing and we’d happily drink in an afternoon of action featuring anything from GP machines to Superbikes to maybe the one-make Honda Grom series that’ll be arriving in Japan soon.

However, as a premise for the King of the Baggers race, pitching 11 bulky baggers from Indian and Harley-Davidson left us with more questions than answers initially.

After all, these are machines designed to devour miles with ease and in comfort, rather than be hooned around the Laguna Seca Raceway, jostling ‘dresser to dresser’ and plunging with liberal abandon into the suspension crunching Corkscrew.

In short, we’d believe it when we see it.  And here we are seeing it, so we will believe it!

The invitational race was announced way back at the top of the year but - courtesy of coronavirus - didn’t occur until this weekend. Originally, the invitational was announced with Harley-Davidson Road Glide entries, but never one to miss out on an opportunity to upstage its main rivals in healthy competition, Indian promptly followed suit by supplying a few Challengers.

And so the 11-strong grid (though it looks like more when they’re all packed together!) took off from the lights in a surreal exhibition of proof that you really can race just about anything.

In fairness, Laguna Seca’s hilly sections mean the Challenger and Road Glides torque is actually very useful, but we will admit to being impressed by the hustle they demonstrate around some of the more challenging sections, not least the aforementioned Corkscrew.

2020 King of the Baggers RACE - WATCH

The race itself was… nothing to write home about, but we could say that about umpteen MotoGP races. On the plus side, as bizarre as it looks on paper, in practice the bikes looked swift and even agile. We just ‘wished’ there a bit more competitiveness in there. And maybe a (no consequence) crash, you know just to see how they tumble through the gravel. Maybe next time.

If you haven’t watched it, you can right here but - spoiler alert - the winner was Tyler O’Hara for Indian, who recovered from an off-track excursion and brake issues to be crowned King of the Baggers.

“Three or four laps in, I was going into (turn) two and I didn’t have any moments going into turn two the whole weekend and just ended up tucking the front,” O’Hara said of the off-track excursion that allowed Gillim to take the lead. “I saved it and then actually went all the way off into turn two. 

“Actually, at the start Frankie (Garcia) was telling me my bike was smoking and I was like, ‘You’re full of it. What are you trying to psych me out?’ But he was serious. I looked at the bike and looked down and I saw a little brake fluid on the pipe