Kyle Wyman (1) won his third Mission King Of The Baggers race of the season at New Jersey Motorsports Park on Sunday, but it was Tyler O’Hara (29) who won the title. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
The 2022 MotoAmerica Mission King Of The Baggers series came to a dramatic conclusion at New Jersey Motorsports Park with Mission Foods/S&S Cycle/Indian Challenger Team’s Tyler O’Hara emerging from the Sunday afternoon rainstorm with the much-coveted championship.
O’Hara went into the series finale trailing H-D Screamin’ Eagle’s Travis Wyman by three points and came out of it 10 points ahead after a race that had everyone on the edge of their wet seats.
Although O’Hara lost out in the race to Kyle Wyman, with the defending Mission King Of The Baggers Champion winning his third race of the year. However, O’Hara was for all practice purposes crowned when Travis Wyman crashed on the second of seven laps.
Mission King Of The Baggers – O’Hara Is Champ
The 2022 Mission King Of The Baggers Championship had its final round of the season at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and their one race on Sunday putting a fitting crescendo on what has been an exciting third season for the Harley-Davidson versus Indian race series.
Copious amounts of rain fell during the race, and the riders had to tread lightly aboard their Big Twins. Mission Foods S&S Cycle Indian Challenger Team’s Tyler O’Hara clinched the title by virtue of his second-place finish. Polesitter Kyle Wyman won the race aboard his H-D Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide Special, and Daytona Harley-Davidson/Hoban Brothers Racing’s Michael Barnes finished third. Kyle Wyman’s brother and teammate Travis had a narrow three-point lead in the championship coming into New Jersey, but he crashed in the wet conditions and ultimately finished ninth.
“I just was really relaxed all weekend,” O’Hara said. “Just had to chip away at it. These boys were on it this weekend. I just took it one corner at a time. As the race went on, there were some standing puddles. Kyle was going good. I actually had some more pace. He was doing a great job out front. Kind of just let him lead the way and just do what I had to do to bring it home. We got a little sporty there. Jumped out of the seat one time and then just kind of backed her down a little bit. To be honest, I had no idea that Travis was out. I didn’t even see my OK on the board, and we counted the laps backwards. So, it was just taking it one lap at a time. That was my dream to stand up on top of that podium holding the number one plate, from the beginning of the year. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and this team. I was having fun, actually. I was just enjoying the moment.”
“Overall feeling for sure is bittersweet,” said Kyle Wyman. “Happy to have another sweep of the weekend type deal like we did at Laguna. Won the Challenge in the dry. This is, I think, the first time I’ve ever won a race in the wet. That’s good for my confidence. I’ve been close a lot of times in the wet in superbike and threw it down the road, and stuff. Good to finish one out. I didn’t know Travis was out, either. But I knew it was Tyler right behind me. I had a couple looks over my shoulder. I think he came by me on the second lap on the front straight. I passed him back into one. It was a tough race. I think we all wanted a dry, kind of showdown with how everybody’s pace was. Anything can happen in racing.”
Yuasa Stock 1000 – Alexander Crowned
The 2022 Yuasa Stock 1000 Championship was also decided on Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park with Corey Alexander clinching the title on the strength his fifth-place finish aboard his Tytlers Cycle RideHVMC BMW. The race was won in damp conditions by Disrupt Racing Suzuki’s Hayden Gillim, while Alexander’s teammate Travis Wyman finished second, and Altus Motorsports Suzuki’s Brandon Paasch was third.
“I wanted to be up there with Travis and Hayden, and I think we had the bike to do it today,” title-winner Alexander said. “We made a lot of changes last night, but it just wasn’t worth it for me (with the damp track). At a certain point, I’d rather have the gap there in fifth and I knew that was all I needed. So, I settled in. One of these times, I’d like to win at home. That would be really cool, or at least be on the box. We seem to be having a string of bad luck, but this makes up for it.”
Race winner Gillim commented. “Yeah. It was an awesome year. To not really be racing full-time the past two years and then to be able to come in and do this has been really cool. Luckily, it was on a bike that I know really well. I’ve had a lot of laps on Suzukis over the years, so I know the bike really well. We were able to get it up to speed pretty quick. These guys were flying all year. Corey was unreal. A couple little mistakes on my part, and we let him have a little bit too early. It was an awesome season for Corey. Travis was still right on my butt for second, so we got to keep fighting at Barber. I had a couple races where my starts were good, and then today they went back downhill. So, I don’t know. I got to figure that out. Luckily, turn one I think Brandon (Paasch) came in a little hot and gave me a couple extra positions and I was able to get on Travis (Wyman) and Stefano (Mesa) pretty quick. Once we got to the front, I tried to push. There were little raindrops and we kind of would go fast, go slow, kind of ease up. I didn’t want to be the one that crashed right out of the lead in the rain. So, it was a really good race. Travis kept me honest. I was waiting for that draft move at the end, but I knew with how tight the last couple sectors are, it would be really tough for him to pass me anywhere else leading up to the last corner. It would take some balls to really try and go for something up the inside into the last corner, so I knew if I could get out of the last corner good, I felt like I had a pretty good shot at it. It was an awesome weekend for us.”
Supersport – Hayes Gets His 86th
History was made in Supersport race two at New Jersey Motorsports Park when Squid Hunter Yamaha rider Josh Hayes won the race and tied AMA Hall of Famer Miguel Duhamel at 86 victories for the most all-time road racing wins in AMA history. Forty-seven-year-old Hayes was masterful in the rain-shortened race, which started out in the dry. On lap two, Hayes passed race leader Josh Herrin going into turn one, and Herrin went wide, which shuffled him back to 10th. From there, Hayes pulled a gap at the front, which was nearly 11 seconds at the finish line over second-place finisher Stefano Mesa abord his Mesa37 Racing Kawasaki. Completing the podium in third was North East Cycle Outlet Racing Yamaha’s Benjamin Smith.
“They’re all pretty special,” Hayes said about his 86 career AMA race wins. “The only thing missing is I didn’t have to beat Miguel to get it. That’s kind of a bummer. I wish he was here. When Jake (Gagne) got 17 (Superbike wins) in a season, I was like, the only thing that upsets me is I won 16 in a season, and you didn’t have to beat me to get my record. I’m sure Miguel will be looking for a Twins (Cup) ride or a Supersport ride here next weekend at Barber. I have a lot of respect for the man. I think it’s incredible that a guy that I looked up to in racing, now I’m on the record books up there with that name. I think that’s incredible. I’m so fortunate. I’ve been lucky in racing. It took a while. The first decade was hard, and then the next one has been pretty special. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup – Yaakov The Dominator
SportbikeTrackGear.com Junior Cup race two concluded the weekend’s race action at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Pennsylvanian Kayla Yaakov won her third race of the season. The race was red-flagged and restarted with just a four-lap sprint, but Yaakov, aboard her Altus Motorsports Kawasaki, crossed the finish line nearly three seconds ahead of Rodio Racing Kawasaki’s Gus Rodio in second place. Alpha Omega Kawasaki rider Cody Wyman rounded out the podium in third.
“I don’t have a ton of track time here,” Yaakov said. “I’ve been here a couple of times here and there, but never in the rain. So, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I kind of just went out there and with that small warmup, I honestly thought I was going to be mid-pack. It felt really slow because I’m just trying to get the bike to stay under me and not crash. But I ended up being pretty solid. It was good motivation going into the race. I think the biggest thing for me was just to stay up and be comfortable, stay comfortable on the bike. Don’t push too far out of my limit because I know that I’m still in it for the championship, and I could still be there in the end. So, I just wanted to stay up. I’m really happy with this result.”