European 2006 Championship Winners
One Feature A Day For A Week
By Robin Bradley, photographer Horst Rösler
GERMAN cruiser specialist Thunderbike of Hamminkeln in Germany was the clear winner of this year’s Official European Championship of Custom Bike Building, presented by Custom Chrome Europe at their 2006 Dealer Show at Mainz in Germany. (We will feature the first place winner here, followed by second tomorrow and so on for ten days, if we don’t burn out.)
Called ‘Spectacula’, the swoopy lines and belt-free direct- drive 300mm fat rear-end lowrider was the clear choice for top prize among the twenty industry experts chosen to act as the jury panel at AMD’s acclaimed fifth annual European Championship.
Altogether 127 custom bikes (up from 71 in 2005) were entered by 98 builders (up from 63 in 2005) representing nineteen different countries (up from fourteen in 2005). The competition took place at the Phoenixhalle, Mainz, on Saturday March 25th and Sunday March 26th. The top ten featured three builders from Sweden, two each from Germany and Belgium, and one each from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic.
Second place went to custom show newcomer Stellan Egeland of SE Service from near Stockholm in Sweden. Stellan got a huge ovation from the crowd attending the awards ceremony for his remarkable Flathead engined drag-race inspired ‘Esox Lucius’ (Pike). It was only the second bike built by the hot-rod specialist, and it won admiration throughout the weekend from all who saw it.
Third place went to Charly Gregoire of Red Baron Choppers in Belgium for ‘Revenge’, a transverse mounted v-twin, finished throughout in aluminium and stainless steel. It had been a hot tip for Euro champs honours ever since the bike took ‘Best in Show’ on its debut at MotorSale and a Class Win at the Belgian Bike Weekend last year (Netherlands in November and Belgium in December respectively).
Fourth place went to Vaclav Vavra whose ‘Breakin’ the Rules’ backed up its fifth place in the 2005 Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building held in Las Vegas in November last year with a fourth place at the European Championship.
An orthopaedic surgeon by profession, Vaclav Vavra’s Czech Republic based VAV-Tuning bike building business is now firmly on the international map, and as with the success achieved last year by VMP of the Czech Republic (with their hi-tech ‘Czech Bread’ bike) points to one of the big trends seen at the European Championship in the last two years. Namely the emergence of top class custom building with contemporary design and production values in the former Soviet countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Shox KFT from Budapest, Hungary, finished just outside the top ten with the ‘The Hawk’, and altogether there were four entries from the Czech Republic, two entries from Hungary, three entries from Poland and Yuri Shif from Belarus.
Fifth place was taken by Krazy Horse Cycles from the UK, with their ‘Zeroesque’, an Ironhead Sportster homage to the styling that emerged from Shinya Kimura’s Zero Engineering in Japan. Other trends now clearly seen through the Official European Championship have been the growing popularity and quality of ‘retro’ styling, and, conversely, the continuing development of cutting edge suspension, chassis and driveline technology and the use of light weight materials.
It is as an engineering and design showcase that the European Championship was initially conceived, and, as with the Official World Championship which will be held during Sturgis Bike Week in the United States later this year (August 6th-8th), the European and World Championship program, along with its endorsement of approved national affiliate events around Europe and elsewhere, is having a positive and important effect on the global custom bike industry.
“AMD has created a fantastic showcase for the work of custom bike builders everywhere” said Andreas Bergerforth, of Thunderbike, in his acceptance speech after taking his company’s European Championship win. “The opportunity for builders to be able to compete in an event that has such an extremely high standard and that creates such worldwide publicity is great for all of those who take part, and fantastic for the industry as a whole.
“I know I speak for every body who has taken part this weekend when I say thank you and pay tribute to AMD and Custom Chrome for making this possible,” Andreas said.
The 2005 European Championship winner, Habermann- Performance from Germany, continued their fine track record of doing well at the event with an eighth place finish for their new bike ’Balor’, and two times World Championship third place winner Fred ‘Krugger’ Bertrand of Belgium scooped seventh.
Piet Hofman of Violator Motorcycles fame in the Netherlands backed up his 2005 European Championship second place and World Championship eighth place with sixth spot at this year’s European Championship with ‘Guilty to be White’.
The traditionally fine showing by Scandinavian builders continued with Ulf Stjernholm and Per Cederqvist of USPC of Romakloster, Sweden taking ninth place with a remarkable lowrider that combined contemporary styling with a ’74 Flathead power plant appropriately called ‘Fusion’, and 2005 Norrtalje, Sweden winner and World Championship competitor Peder Johansson of Hogtech fame took tenth for his rigid chopper ‘Laponia Outlaw’.
In addition to Shox KFT of Hungary finishing thirteenth, the top twenty saw Sweden’s MKHER tie with Violator’s other entered bike, ‘The Equator’ in eleventh, and bikes from Switzerland, Finland, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany (Holger Schnell of No Limit Custom fame for another remarkable v-rod) filling the other top nineteen spots.
Privateer Michael Andreasson and 2005’s 10th place man Gordon Rooth (Unique Custom Cycles) continued Sweden’s excellent showing by taking twentieth and twenty-first places respectively. The much admired ‘Quattro’ by Daniel Rodriguez Crespo of Devil Inside Cycles in Spain also tied for twenty-first, as did Germany’s Andreas Maier of Schwaben-Schmiede.
American Motorcycle Dealer
Photographer Horst Rösler, from Germany can be visited at www.motographer.com and e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
1st PLACE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP—FREESTYLE CLASS
Bike Name: Spectacula
Engine Make/Size: TP Pro Series
Frame Make: Thunderbike
Frame Mods: 50° 6"
Wheel (front): 4.25 x 21
Wheel (rear): 11 x 18
Brakes (front): Thunderbike
Brakes (rear): Thunderbike
Painter: Kruse Design