More than five years ago, Harley-Davidson Dyna riders Eric Stahl and Tony Sollima had shredded and thoroughly conquered every possible canyon they could find in Southern California. They thoroughly enjoyed stalking and hunting down every sportbike they could challenge in those canyons, but it simply wasn’t enough. They have a natural gift and a passion for ripping on their big bikes, and they were itching to take their riding to the next level: the racetrack.
While trying to transition their big V-Twins to the track, they were repeatedly denied, laughed at, and even threatened by the sportbike establishment.
Undeterred, Stahl and Sollima slept in the backs of their trucks while
just hoping to sneak onto a racetrack and somehow get a chance to ride. Undaunted by the uphill battles they faced, they stayed true to their
passion for road racing their big American V-Twin Harley-Davidsons.
Fast-forward to last weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca where Stahl’s and Sollima’s dreams finally came true when they were among the 13 riders who were featured in the history-making Drag Specialties King of the Baggers Invitational. Here were two regular Joe’s with day jobs and families who followed their passion and natural talents for riding fast on Harley’s and were finally competing at the highest level on a world-class racetrack, with Stahl aboard Alloy Art MFG Co.’s Harley-Davidson Road King and Sollima racing The Speed Merchant’s Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Standard.
Not only did Stahl and Sollima compete against AMA Superbike legends, World Championship race winners and contenders, and current professional road racers backed by teams made up of industry titans with unimaginable budgets, they competed and they competed well. Both riders finished the race in impressive fashion.
Their “silly idea,” which was laughed at all the way up till race day on October 24, rocked the racing world, garnered unbelievable ratings, and pulled huge viewership and social media numbers.
It was exciting, captivating racing, which was exactly what Stahl and Sollima knew they and their big Harleys were capable of so long ago.
Here’s to you, Eric Stahl and Tony Sollima, two pioneers who are the heart and soul of the Drag Specialties King of the Baggers Invitational.