Once again, the “World Center of Racing” played host to the March 9-11 Double Header season opener of the 2023 Mission Foods Super Hooligan National Championship powered by Indian. In conjunction with the 82nd annual Daytona Beach Bike Week. The Daytona International Speedway hosted week long competition from professional and amateur Supercross to American Flat Track and of course crescendoing with the 81st running of the Daytona 200. However, there was a palpable buzz surrounding the Hooligans and the Baggers. New teams, new rules, new riders, and old grudges all ready to kick off their championship hunt on the hallowed high banks of Daytona.
Mission Foods SHNC AMA Round 1 & 2 at Daytona
Mar 14th 2023
Team Saddleman, the boys from Suicide Machine Co and Jiffy Tune Racing’s Eric Stahl all showed up with the newly SHNC legal Harley-Davidson Pan Americas, the bikes almost unrecognizable from stock trim, looking less like they were fit for a nature path and more ready for a bare knuckle street fight.
Andy DiBrino a prevalent SHNC podium patron was back abord his KTM 890 Duke, this time with a little more factory support from big orange. DiBrino’s success with the 890 and the recent elimination of the imposed weight rule inspired a slew of other Duke’s to grid up with a total of seven 890 Dukes qualifying for race 1. We’re hoping that Andy’s not only getting that KTM contingency dough, but some sales commission kickbacks likewise.
Nate Kern also made his return to Hooligan racing with his Bavarian Vigilante backed BMW R9T as well as Stefano Mesa on number 137 electric Energica. The ladies were definitely representing with the HooliQueen Patrica Hernandez making a switch from last years Indian FTR 1200 to this years Saddleman backed Pan America, and Mallory Dobbs piloting the only Ducati in the field on her Ducati Ricmond Hypermotard. The factory Indian Motorcyle Team was back with reigning SHNC champ Tyler O’Hara and former MotoGP phenom Jeremy McWilliams and of course, the ringleader of this Hooligan s#!t Roland Sands fielded a two man team with last years rookie stand out Bobby Fong and new comber Kyle Ohnsorg.
After qualifying top of the leader board in both qualifying sessions, RSD/Indian Motorcycle’s Bobby Fong snagged pole followed by Tyler O’Hara, McWilliams, Cory West, Andy DiBrino and RSD rookie Kyle Ohnsorg.
As the lights went green and the eager SHNC class of 23 barreled through the first turn entering the infield chicane, it was the #50 of Bobby Fong on the FTR 1200 leading the way. DiBrino got an excellent jump launching from his fifth grid position into second place with O’Hara, Cory West and BMW’s Nate Kern in tow.
Almost a second quicker in qualifying, Fong knew he had the speed and was making attempts to break the draft and ditch the rest of the field early on. By the end of lap one, both O’Hara and West were able to find their way around DiBrino and were trying valiantly to make up the gap that the #50 Fong had started to eke out. O’Hara, unfazed by Fong’s fast qualifying times, attached himself to Bobby’s rear wheel letting him know he wasn’t getting away that easy. A small mistake by O’Hara on lap three allowed Fong a little breathing room. However, O’Hara hammered down and almost immediately made up the time lost putting Fong on notice and revealing a little draft strategy that might be at play.
With two laps to go a three rider battle for 7th was heating up between the #91 Alex Taylor, the #9 of Nate Kern and the electric horseman Stefano Mesa on the Energica all vying for a spot in the top 10.
Heading into the last lap, the #99 of Jeremy McWilliams put a pass on the #13 of Cory West right at the stripe. Through the final kink and back on to the high banks for the last time, Fong looked to have the speed and enough distance to hold the big #1 of O’Hara at bay. But, O’Hara made the Daytona draft work in his favor sneaking by Fong at the finish for first, a mere .064 seconds in front. The Irishman McWilliams was able to make the last lap pass over Cory West stick, claiming the third step on the podium. Hawk Mazzotta finished 15th overall but was the quickest air cooled effort abord his Indian Chief making a clean sweep for Indian Motorcycles at race one of the 2023 Mission Foods Super Hooligan National Championship powered by Indian Motorcycles.
Race 2 of the Mission Foods Super Hooligan National Championship season opener allowed riders to get the first race nerves out of their system, teams to make improvements on the machines, and everyone to get a good night’s rest and reset to fight for valuable points in this 8-round series.
RSD/Indian Motorcycle’s Bobby Fong was once again the quickest in qualifying securing himself the #1 pole position on the deep twenty-eight racer grid. Familiar front runners, Tyler O’hara, Jermey McWilliams, Cory West, Andy DIbrino and Rookie Kyle Ohnsorg filled in the final spots respectively on the first two rows.
Team Saddleman’s Cory West was able to get an amazing start, rocketing off the line from his 4th starting position to the early lead and cleanly navigating the somewhat tricky infield that caught SHNC newcomer Kyle Ohnsorg out. Kyle lost both the front of his RSD prepped FTR 1200 and any chance of making the podium as he and the bike slid dramatically and tumbled across the racecourse. Kyle wasn’t injured but was unable to rejoin the race. At the conclusion of lap one and after multiple lead changes the lone RSD pilot Bobby Fong led a five rider battle for first back into the infield with Cory West in second McWilliams in third, O’Hara in forth and DiBrino in fifth but just as quickly as that rider order was recorded to end lap one, a crafty pass by West for the lead was also enough to let McWilliams and O’Hara sneak by shuffling Bobby Fong from first to forth in a heartbeat. DiBrino also pushing hard to not miss out on any of the upfront fun was not letting any of the lead pack get away without a fight. After Fong was able to find his way back around McWilliams and West, DiBrino made a brilliant pass on the outside of O’Hara for fourth at the same time West got back around Fong. As the lead 5 entered the high banks, O’Hara snuck back by DiBrino as West’s Pan America suddenly lost power dropping him to the apron of the racetrack, ushering the Fong, McWilliams, O’Hara and DiBrino freight train past in a hurry. On the same lap the #91 of Alex Taylor had a BIGGG get-off in the bus stop corner resulting in a red flag for the field and 6 weeks of plaster for Alex to mend his broken arm. Everyone at SHNC wishes Alex a speedy recovery and we hope to see him back at some of the later rounds.
Alex’s bad luck was Cory West’s good luck as the red flag allowed Cory to sort his issue with the #13 Harley-Davidson and re-grid in his original starting position for the remaining 5 laps.
At the restart, Bobby Fong’s pole start lead the field through turn one, but it was West with the reaction of a Gunfighter absolutely nailing the start and making his way to the front as they entered the international horseshoe. West got in a little hot though, running wide allowing Fong and O’Hara to sneak underneath, DiBrino was again looking to make magic happen on the outside but unfortunately didn’t have enough heat on the right side of his Dunlops to make it stick or stay on the bike. Thankfully, DiBrino was able to keep his freshly painted Donut Media painted helmet off the pavement, pick up his bike, and rejoin the race.
Back up front the four Indians and the lone Harley were playing musical chairs for the lead position with Fong, West and O’Hara all having a turn leading the race.
Unfortunately, Fong would suffer a mechanical ending his day and leaving the two FTR’s of McWilliams and O’Hara to contest with remarkably quick Harley-Davidson of West.
A mistake by West with two laps left sent McWilliams to the lead with O’Hara in second, but West was able to regain his composure and motor past both O’Hara and McWilliams in the draft putting himself back in the lead position on the last lap. Exiting turn six and up on the banks, McWilliams was able to get a spectacular drive off the corner fall into West’s draft and make the pass for the lead as they entered the final kink before getting back on the high banks for the final push to the finish. O’Hara sitting in third seemed to be in the cat bird seat for the draft strategy that could lead to another victory, but as soon as they entered the high banks Cory seemed to find another gear, motoring away from O’Hara, and passing McWilliams, putting a significant gap on both the Indians crossing the finish line first in commanding fashion. O’Hara was still capitalized on his draft strategy sneaking past McWilliams for second just as they crossed the line. The provisional results showing West as the winner, Tyler O’Hara in second and Jeremy McWilliams in third.
After the conclusion of each race per MotoAmerica rules; the top three bikes in each class are subject to inspection. Unfortunately, the discovery of an “illegal airbox” used on the Pan America resulted in the disappointing disqualification for West and the Saddleman team. The official results for race two of the Mission Foods Super Hooligan National Championship powered by Indian Motorcycles credits Tyler O’Hara with first, Jeremy McWilliams with second and Mark Price snagging the final podium spot aboard his Gray Area backed KTM 890.
Once again it was Hawk Mazzotta abord his Indian Chief quickest in the Mission Foods Air Cooled Challenge.
A big thanks goes out to all the fans who made it out, the teams for all their efforts and of course our sponsors; Indian Motorcycles, Sena, Dunlop, Mission Foods, Suckerpunch, SDI Racing and the legendary Sacramento Mile. We will see you at The Ridge in WA, June 23-25 for rounds 3 & 4.
KING OF THE BAGGERS ROUND 1 & 2
Based on the success of the 2022 season, the wildly popular King of the Baggers series has expanded to 7 rounds on the MotoAmerica schedule for 2023 and ushered in an abundance of new interest from fans, riders, racers, sponsors, and teams. Roland Sands Designs is once again fielding a two-man Bagger effort aboard their race prepped Indian Challengers with the #50 Bobby Fong and the #5 rookie Kyle Ohnsorg.
There were lots of changes during the off season which resulted in critical bike development and rider selection not falling into place until almost the eleventh hour leading into the 2023 season. This late start left the RSD team with very little room to test recently developed parts and give the new rider and crew valuable time to get acquainted with each other and the machines to improve on the success the team saw last season.
Leading up to Daytona the team struggled a bit with bike set up and ultimately, what in theory should have been the right steps forward, unfortunately resulted in a few steps back. What can you say? That’s racing. It’s part of the reason this thing we do drives and motivates us to keep at it. To conceptualize what the perfect recipe for success should be and put it to the test in the harshest environment against everyone else who thinks they have figured it out is kind of what this thing is all about. Racing is a great metaphor for life. Using applied knowledge to get ahead, avoid catastrophe, and find your position. Uncertainty exists whether you’re brave, reckless, calculated, or calm. There is no foolproof approach to success. Hard work, determination, and perhaps the desire to want it just a little bit more have equal opportunity for triumph or tragedy. Finding your rhythm with the ability to adapt to the everchanging beat is a must no matter if you’re floating or surging. Keeping the momentum flowing is key in the ultimate pursuit of purpose.
Gremlins from the off season kept the RSD Indian Challengers in the pits and boys from participating in Qualifying 1. At the beginning of Qualifying 2 a motor from one of the other teams let go spewing oil all over the front high bank straight resulting in a red flag and eventually cancelling the second qualifying opportunity. So, with no opportunity to qualify for a good grid position and even less valuable seat time, both Bobby and Kyle had their work cut out for them to try and run up front or at least salvage precious points at the beginning of the season.
Race 1 MotoAmerica Mission King of the Baggers saw Kyle Ohnsorg get a great jump from almost the back row to seventh and the first Indian behind a sea of Orange and Black lead by Harley. Tyler O’Hara on the factory Indian Challenger settled in just behind Kyle with RSD’s Bobby Fong and Jeremy McWilliams also aboard the factory Indian Motorcycle.
As they entered the infield chicane section for the second time, Fong’s #50 Challenger had a small issue forcing Bobby to pull off, leaving the heavy lifting to rookie Ohnsorg to carry the sole RSD effort in race 1. RSD weren’t the only ones with first round frustrations. Both of Harley-Davidson’s factory efforts as well as the HD privateer Nowaskey ride gave up the ghost sidelining both Wyman brother as well as Danny Eslick.
Taking full advantage of the thinned field James Rispoli took the first win of the season with teammate Hayden Gillim in second, and Factory Indian’s Tyler O’Hara in third. RSD/Indian Motorcycles Kyle Ohnsorg was able to hold on to 8th.
Race 2 of the 8 lap MotoAmerica Mission King of the Baggers saw the Harley’s once again taking advantage of their great qualifying position. But the Indian Challengers weren’t going to let them get away that easy as Tyler O’Hara and McWilliams slotted in third and fourth respectively. RSD’s Fong was on the heels of Gilim for fifth while the #5 of Ohnsorg ran ninth. A mistake by O’Hara and Fong running into tricky turn one sent them all the way back to twelfth and fourteenth with only seven laps to go. Disaster struck the Factory Screemin Eagle Road Glide of Travis Wyman again forcing him from competition and scoring no points in either race 1 or 2 of the championship. RSD’s Bobby Fong also found himself struggling with bike issues forcing him to retire early, and unable to complete Race 2. At the finish, Harley -Davidson’s Kyle Wyman was able to claim redemption from his DNF in race 1, securing the top step of the podium with Rispoli in second and Hayden Gillim in third. Hawk Mazzotta was the quickest Indian on the day with RSD’s Kyle Ohnsorg keeping it consistent and besting his previous days result with a solid seventh.
RSD would like to thank all their sponsors Including Indian Motorcycles, Mission Foods, Dunlop Tires, Sena, Suckerpunch, Motul Oil, Drag Specialties, SDI Racing and the Legendary Sacramento Mile. We’ll see you all at RD 2 Road Atlanta April 21-23