Racing is in Roland Sands DNA. He earned his stripes as an AMA 250 GP champion, and more recently helped turn street bike flat track racing into a national phenomenon with the Super Hooligan National Championship series. So when the RSD team got an invite to do something sketchy like racing baggers at Laguna Seca, they pounced on the opportunity. RSD is busily converting an Indian Challenger into a race bike, joining S&S Cycle as the only two Indians racing against a stacked field of Harleys in the King of the Baggers.

“There’s something both absurd and awesome about racing baggers at Laguna Seca, and it’s exactly the type of craziness we live for here at RSD,” said Roland Sands in a recent announcement. “The Indian Challenger is an incredible platform, and we definitely will be competitive. But make no mistake, our priority is to have a great time, and how can you not at an event like this? Hats off to the gang at Moto America and Drag Specialties for bringing this event to life.”

The transformation from everyday rider to track bagger includes rearranging the rider’s triangle to a more race-ready position. Gone are the forward controls and pullback bars, rearsets, risers, and a ProTaper Evo dirt track bar in their place. Ditto for the big cushy bagger seat, the mock-up for a custom Dyna-style, step-up saddle in its stead. The stock belt final drive has been swapped out for a chain and a set of RSD race wheels and Dunlop slicks have been laced up front and back. RSD recently introduced a performance shock it developed with FOX, so naturally a hydraulically-adjustable FOX X RSD shock will anchor the rear. For their race Challenger S&S ditched the stock fork for one from an FTR1200 and it looks like RSD followed suit. Using a race-tuned exhaust from their allies at S&S Cycle was a no-brainer. No mention was made of performance upgrades to the engine, but knowing RSD, they’ll have a trick or two up their sleeves come race-day. Looks like they did shave some weight from the front fairing though by taking out the TFT display and a bunch of wiring and are reconfiguring the tail as well.

Frankie Garcia helps get the RSD Indian Challenger dialed in and ready to race in the inaugural King of the Baggers battle at Laguna Seca. 

Racing the RSD Indian Challenger will be wily veteran Frankie Garcia, a member of the Indian Motorcycle-RSD Super Hooligan race team. Garcia comes from the hotshoe hotbed of California’s Central Coast and has been racing motorcycles almost as long as he’s been walking. Though his roots are in dirt track racing, Garcia is an accomplished Supermoto competitor and road racer as well. At 15 years old he became the youngest athlete to compete in an X Games motorcycle event when he raced Supermoto and has competed at the highest level of American road racing when he battled in the Daytona 200 when he was with Motorcycle-USA. He also grew up not far from Laguna Seca, another factor that tilt the scale slightly in his favor.

“It’s a real honor to have the opportunity to not only participate in the inaugural King of the Baggers race, but to represent RSD on one of only two Indian Challengers in the field,” said Garcia. “I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time on a stock Challenger, and believe me, this bike wants to go fast and handles like a bike half its size. It’s the perfect platform for something as radical as knee-dragging baggers at Laguna Seca.”

The King of the Baggers will be part of MotoAmerica’s Superbike Speedfest at Laguna Seca on October 23-25. The inaugural race will join a jam-packed racing program including MotoAmerica Superbike, Supersport, Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Stock 1000, Twins Cup and Heritage Cup racing.