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Everything You Need to Know About Bagger Races

Everything You Need to Know About Bagger Races

Baggers are one of the most popular motorcycles in the United States due to their historical significance, rich American heritage, and the fact that these bikes were pioneered by America’s favorite motorcycle brand, Harley Davidson. Now that the baggers have made their way to the race tracks, the bagger enthusiasts couldn’t be happier. Witnessing large, powerful, and heavy motorcycles demonstrating their racing capabilities leaves onlookers awe-struck and entertained. For bagger races, production bagger motorcycles are modified according to the rules and regulations of the Bagger Racing League. This article aims to explore the world of bagger racing to help you better understand the unique subculture of motorcycle racing that is driven by the rivalry between the two iconic bagger brands, Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle.

1. How the Bagger Racing Started?

In October 2020, a new bagger racing segment emerged when the fully-decked touring motorcycles by Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle took their places on the Laguna Seca Raceway, California. Built-in 1957, Laguna Seca Raceway is a paved road racing track used for motorcycle racing and auto racing. Due to sponsorship reasons, the track is currently named WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway. This track stretches over 2.238 miles (3.602 km), has an elevation change of 180 ft (55 m), and eleven turns. Over the years, many popular racing events have taken place on the Laguna Seca, and the 2020 King of Baggars race was one of them.

2. The King of Baggers Motorcycle Racing Event

Many found it difficult to accept that the MotoAmerica Drag Specialties King of Baggers was an actual speed-racing event because the motorcycles participating were known for their touring capabilities and not for racing capabilities. Once the race commenced, the custom-built baggers proved that the event was not a parade but a race. Professional riders Tyler O’Hara rode the S&S Cycles Indian Challenger, Hayden Gillim raced the Vans and Hines Harley Davidson Electra Glide, and Frankie Garcia raced his Roland Sands Indian bagger to the finish line. O’Hara took the lead by 1.9 seconds, while Gillim secured second place, and Garcia secured third place.

The 2020 King of Bagger marked the first time Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle got to compete on the race track and outperform each other in a competitive setting. Rob Buydos, a famed American competition speaker and a motorcycle enthusiast himself, was the force behind this successful event. Though the King of Baggers was a racing event, Buydos was not inclined to make it a supersports-style highly competitive race. Instead, he wanted to introduce a concept of lightweight, well-modified baggers with boosted engines that could tackle race tracks easily. With Indian Motorcycle taking the lead and Harley Davidson securing a close second place, the century-old rivalry between the two brands was rekindled, popularizing the novice event in the process.

3. The Emergence of Bagger Racing League

The remarkable success of the 2020 King of Baggers led to the emergence of a new bagger racing series, the Bagger Racing League (BRL). Initially, Rob Buydos intended the King of Bagger to be a single racing event. However, its success compelled Buydos to convert it into a series of races called the Bagger Racing League. In January 2021, over one hundred V-twin riders guided their Harley Davidson motorcycles to the SoCal’s Chuckwalla Valley Raceway for a race day. Most of the teams behind the organization of this BRL track day were the same that organized the first King of Bagger race. However, despite being a V-Twin motorcycle event, the Bagger Racing League is a race series outside of MotoAmerica King of Baggers.

The Bagger Racing League started at the Elks Club in Newport Beach, California thanks to the optimism of LeMans Corporation, Fred Fox, and twelve giant companies of the motorcycle industry. Rob Buydos and the BRL team are dedicated to making BRL an event for everyday riders.

3.1 The Idea Behind Bagger Racing League

Rob Buydos came up with the idea of a bagger racing series when the V-Twin industry saw a shift from bulky touring bikes to performance-focused baggers. Riders began customizing their Harley and Indian motorcycles using lightweight carbon fiber bodywork, advanced brakes, and advanced suspension systems. Many riders also began modifying engines for greater power outputs and top speed. Buydos realized that riders were growing fond of racing and wanted to polish their skills. The only problem was lack of opportunity and Buydos decided to change that.

“I needed to make sure that these amazing motorcycles were showcased by people that want to be amazing themselves. They are going to the race schools, track days, and doing all the right things to improve their riding skills. They want to build their bikes up and go racing against their peers.”

(Rob Buydos, Founder and President of Bagger Racing League)

When Buydos first presented his idea it was not well-received; however, companies selling aftermarket  parts  soon agreed on a mutually beneficial approach. Companies would offer help to race teams to modify their bikes by providing parts. The development of V-Twin motorcycles and a chance to participate in the race and gain exposure benefitted the bike owners as well.

3.2 The Impact of Covid-19 on Bagger Racing League

Just when the BRL was about to become a reality, Covid-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt. The first event eventually took place in October 2020 at Laguna Seca. However, the California government issued permits to regulate crowd capacity as the spread of Covid-19 was still a serious threat. Due to these special permits, not a single enthusiast made it to the stands. Luckily, the first practice session gained over 2.9 million views online, making BRL a virtual success.

4. Bagger Racing League Sponsors

The following sponsors are responsible for make the Bagger Racing League a successful national event:

Sponcer Category/Race Classes
Drag Specialities Title Sponsor Bagger Racing League
Bridgestone Tires Official Sponsor Bagger Racing League
Andrews Products Official Sponsor Bagger Racing League
Title Sponsor Big Twins Race Class
Cosmetic Gasket Official Sponsor Bagger Racing League

4.1 Different Classes of Bagger Racing League

In 2021, the Bagger Racing League consisted of four race classes:

  1. Hooligan GP Race Class
  2. Big Twin GP Race Class
  3. Stunt GP Race Class
  4. Bagger GP Race Class

Currently, The Bagger Racing League has six different race classes, including:

  1. Bagger GP Race Class
  2. Production Stock Bagger Race Class
  3. Lite Weight Race Class
  4. F/S Race Class
  5. Big Twin Race Class
  6. American Twins Unlimited Race Class

4.2 2023 Daytona International Speedway

The Bagger Racing League (BRL) and the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) have successfully teamed up to bring two popular bagger racing classes, the Bagger GP and Production Stock Bagger Class, to the ASRA’s Race of Championships at the 2023 Daytona International Speedway on October 21, 2023.

“ We are excited to team up with Bagger Racing League (BRL) and American Motorcycle Association (AMA) to bring back these two bagger racing classes to our championship series in Daytona. As the originators of bagger racing, BRL brings an unrivaled level of cool factor and competitive spirit to our races. We plan to expand BRL’s participation into more of our national race series for 2024 and in the years to come.”

(ASRA President, Alex Spellman)

The registration for BRL Brawl at ASRA Daytona ROC to be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Daytona International Speedway is now open. For registration visit the ASRA Racing website.

4.3 Bagger Racing League Championship Race

After the Daytona Race of Championships event, the Bagger Racing League will be hosting its own racing championship on November 18 and 19, 2023 at the Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, California. This final BRL racing event of the year will determine the Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle bagger racers of the 2023 BRL series. The registration for BRL Battle of Baggers Willow Spring event to be held on November 18-19, 2023 at Willowspring International Raceway, Rosamond, California is now open. To fill out the registration form, visit the BRL website.

5. Bagger Racing League Rules and Regulations

5.1 Racer Eligibility/License Requirements

Participants of the Bagger GP race class must possess an expert road racing license. In addition, a racer must race as an amateur to acquire points to get the expert plates. This can be done by advancing to an expert racer level with a race club sanctioned by Bagger Racing League.

Participants of the Production Stock, Lite Weight Twin, and Big Twin race classes must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • He/she must possess a novice road racing license.
  • He/she must complete a new racer or new rider school (NRS) course.
  • He/she must demonstrate a minimum of two track days before the NRS.

Foreign participants registering for a Bagger Racing League event must provide proof of professional motorcycle road racing experience for the Bagger GP race class. As for Production Stock Bagger, Big Twin, and Lite Weight race classes, foreign participants must possess a novice road racing license. Event entries are provided at the discretion of the Bagger Racing League. Consequently, BRL has the right to revoke the issued entries with or without substantial cause.

5.2 BRL Entry Criteria

  • Participants must be 18 years old at the time of the racing event.
  • All participants must provide proof of primary medical insurance.

5.3 BRL Race Class Entry Rules

  • Class entry rules are usually not limited.
  • Pre-entry of a race class closes about seven days before the event.
  • Riders may enter the event after seven days on a post-entry basis by contacting the BRL.
  • Additional charges are applicable for post-entry.

5.4 BRL Compensation Terms

Racers participating in the BRL events will pay for race registration fees and will also be responsible for all their expenses, including travel, transportation, meals, accommodation, and other miscellaneous expenses related to race events.

5.5 BRL Sponsorship Terms

BRL sponsorship terms further establish the above-mentioned rule. Races do not have any sponsorship relation with the BRL events. As a result, they are responsible for financing all the expenses related to the BRL race events, labor, and per diems included

5.6 BRL Insurance Terms

All class racers must possess medical insurance valid with exclusions. The insurance must cover any injury that a racer may sustain during the race. Moreover, a racer is responsible for all the risks related to participation in the BRL events. BRL is not responsible for providing medical insurance coverage to participants.

5.7 BRL Penalty Policy

Bagger Racing League management reserves the right to issue fines, penalties, or racer ejection orders. BRL will notify the racer verbally or in writing for each penalty and will also mention the action to be taken against the racer.

5.8 Motorcycle Usage Policy

Race participants must ride the same motorcycle in all practice sessions, races, and other BRL events. If the frame of the race motorcycle gets damaged, a racer may change the frame after seeking approval from the race director.

For BRL sighting laps and parades, participants must use the same bike.

Important Note: All the rules and regulations mentioned are subject to change as the sport evolves. It is best to contact BRL to stay up-to-date with the latest rules.

6. Last Words

After dirt bikes and race bikes, the motorcycle world is in for another exciting racing segment, the bagger races. A considerably new motorcycle racing chapter, the bagger races are becoming popularized since they involve tough competition between two of America’s most loved motorcycle brands, the Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle. Moreover, the competitions have offered touring enthusiasts to discover their love for touring by witnessing history being made by one of the most powerful baggers in the world at the race tracks. Other than enhancing racing capabilities, if you want to modify your bagger for extra storage, then you can install aftermarket luggage like baggers bags, tour packs, saddlebags, trunks, and tank bags.

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