Building on the growing popularity of the Mission King of the Baggers race series, MotoAmerica has announced a new two-up touring-based class to be named “Grand Touring” that will be aimed at bridging the gap between the fully built race-only machines that inhabit the current bagger racing class and the stock American-made touring bikes that are ridden on the street.

The Wyman brothers are looking to be the first ever MotoAmerica Grand Touring champs.

MotoAmerica Grand Touring will shift the focus to what touring bikes were meant for with the added bonus of benefiting from today's performance modifications. The rules will be largely based on the current structure of the King of the Baggers series but with additional requirements to emphasize the touring aspects of the class.

The class will include all years of Harley-Davidson FL “Limited” models and the new Indian Pursuit models, with the major rule differences from the King of the Baggers class being as follows. All entries must retain the factory fairings, saddlebags, top box, lower fairings and stereo systems, including antennas, and must run a full-sized windshield of no less than eight inches in height. The minimum weight of the Grand Touring class will be 775 pounds as opposed to the 635 pounds of the current King of Baggers class.

And of course the biggest difference is that this class will feature a passenger along with the rider. In the spirit of touring motorcycles, the races will be much longer with one mandatory pit stop and change of rider and pillion. Each member of the team must pilot the motorcycle for 50 percent of the race. The class will debut possibly as an exhibition towards the end of the 2022 season and will officially kick off for the 2023 MotoAmerica season. Which leaves plenty of time for bikes to be built and teams to start practicing pit stops.

It remains to be seen which teams will cross over into the new touring class from the standard bagger class, but we do know the Harley-Davidson factory team is set to race in Grand Touring with brothers Kyle (2021 King of the Baggers champion) and Travis Wyman, shown in the photo above, as the rider-passenger combo. The new class will create some complex issues that teams will need to address, beyond just slapping a top box on their current race machines. Obviously, the addition of a passenger creates a set of suspension and tuning obstacles that are far beyond normal race preparations.

Along with the mandatory pit stop and rider-to-passenger swap, teams that venture into the class may also tune their race bikes very differently. One possible scenario is that the new class will rely more on reliability than performance. The current bagger class has a high rate of failure with about 40 percent of the class failing to finish races on a regular basis. The current bagger class also lacks parity of competition outside the factory-based teams, with the gaps in competition after third place often being over 30 seconds to the next rider, which can make for less than exciting racing. The added wild card scenarios of splitting the race between two riders and the mandatory pit stop could create the competitiveness the current bagger class is missing.

You can count on a few things with the new Grand Touring class: It will be a spectacle and we will be watching.

Then again, it is April 1........