News 15 Apr 2024

Herfoss breaks through at COTA with first Baggers race win

Australian export continues to make an early impression in US series.

Image: Supplied.

Triple Australian Superbike champion Troy Herfoss broke through for a maiden victory in the ‘King of the Baggers’ series at Circuit of the Americas on MotoGP weekend, the factory Indian Motorcycles rider going 1-2 across the two races.

Herfoss won Friday’s three-lap ‘Challenge’ sprint in commanding fashion on his first visit to the Texan venue, before carrying that same form into Saturday’s bag-banging action.

It was Herfoss winning the first of the two races after a come-from-behind ride that saw him at the back of the seven-strong lead pack early in the race. The Australian soldiered on, slicing and dicing his way through the pack and coming out on top of a hectic last-lap battle with his teammate Tyler O’Hara and Kyle Wyman (Harley-Davidson Factory Racing).

At the finish line it was Herfoss by 0.295s over Wyman, with O’Hara only 0.685s behind the winner in third place.

“Firstly, it’s an honor to be standing here today with my first win, especially with these two great competitors,” Herfoss said. “There are more wins between these two guys than I dream of having, so to get my first win here in COTA at MotoGP is a great feeling.

“I’ve got a lot of days on the bike now. There’re no excuses to not be able to be competitive, but I don’t have a lot of experience racing because Daytona was not really a race in the infield. It was a race to get to the outfield, so I didn’t see the true speed of these riders in the infield a lot of time.

“Today there were six guys going toe-to-toe, fighting at their best pace, so I couldn’t ride the lap they were riding – I could not ride my bike the same way the guys in front of me could ride their bikes, even between the different manufacturers. I know it’s a short race, but I spent the first two laps just confused… over-riding the corners, over-riding the braking.

“I didn’t concede, but I sort of sat back to take a breather. Got nabbed by Bobby Fong and went, ‘Okay, it’s time. I’ve got make something of this’. Honestly, once I started riding my own race it became a lot easier to make my passes. I fought as hard as I could. It’s a real privilege to be up here on the top step.”

Wyman turned the tables on Herfoss in the second race as those two sped away from the chasing group, setting up a battle between the two that went to the finish. Herfoss led most of it, but Wyman – after an attempted pass at the end of the back straight didn’t pan out – finally pulled off a pass on the final lap.

At that point, Wyman put his head down and set sail, though Herfoss was still within striking distance. Wyman wasn’t to be denied this time around and he saved his best for last with a record-breaking lap of 2m14.890 sealing his victory, albeit by just 0.677s over Herfoss.