Custom Bike Build Championship returns to #SABF2017
South Africa Bike Festival, powered by Discovery Channel, is thrilled to announce that the incredibly successful Custom Bike Championship is back by popular demand, and will once again take place at the next fun-fuelled rendition of the festival, which takes place at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th May.
Last year saw some world-class customisation from local South African builders, filling the international category list supplied by the international judge and master builder, Mario Kyprianides, from Chopper Kulture in Abu Dhabi. Competition was tough for the 60 motorcycles featured, but in the end the overall winner of the inaugural championship was L.J. Muller with his full custom build, “The BoneShaker”, earning him a custom BikeJet worth R6500 and a weekend away at Sun City. From the die-hard motoring fans to the merely curious bikers, over 24 000 visitors to the festival left with a new appreciation for this popular and intensely passionate industry.
South Africa Bike Festival’s Custom Bike Championship has a new home at the festival for 2017 and will dominate the Viewing Deck on the 1st floor of the Kyalami Pit Building where registration, the main display, judging and prize giving will take place over the three days of the festival.
Next year’s competition will once again boast 14 carefully selected categories, from Café Racer, Scooters, Trikes and 3 Wheelers to Classic, Street-fighters, Sport Bikes and more! And ALL NEW for 2017, organisers have also included in the jam-packed schedule of events, a two-lap parade around the circuit for the top 60 custom motorcycle entries!
From an international judging perspective, South Africa Bike Festival is bringing with them builder and judge, Frank “Thunder” Sander, from Germany who will be the prestigious chief judge for 2017. Frank has become a respected Chief Judge at hundreds of bike shows around the world and regularly speaks at, and organises events worldwide. In 2005 he attended the very first Dubai Bike Week as a photographer and later started judging and organising the Middle East Custom Bike Build Championship at Clarion Event’s Gulf Bike Week, as it is known today. Frank started life as a car mechanic and then became an aircraft mechanic. During those 15 years, Frank was racing cars, building his own suspension systems and modifying engines too. He started his business, Thunder Media, 15 years ago as a motorcycle and car photographer and journalist and covered events like Sturgis & Daytona to name a few. Frank’s stories and custom builds can be found in magazines around the world.
When asked what he thought about coming to South Africa, Frank had this to say; “After seeing the photos, social media engagement and hearing about the amazing success of last year’s first Custom Bike Build Championship, I am ecstatic to be attending the next rendition of the festival and it’s an absolute privilege to be asked to be Chief Judge for the Custom Bike Championship 2017”.
Joining Frank on the judging panel from a local perspective will be Malcolm Powrie and Grant McNicol from Ink & Iron. Malcolm, better known as “Butch” grew up with a mechanical background, starting his biking career at 13 years of age. By 18 he was pit crew for Lawson Marine racing boats and Motocross, and also built and prepared 50cc race bikes. Butch is a qualified bike painter, and part of the Mike Bramley’s top fuel drag bike team, and today they still hold the top fuel record in South Africa with 7.23 seconds at 314KMPH. Today Butch runs his own company and assists Grant Mc Nicol, owner of the INK and IRON shows coordinating and judging the 1000 Bike Show, AMID shows and Buzzard Rallies to name a few.
From the feedback received from last year the judges and organisers have decided to add a public vote prize aptly named the BIKE SA People’s Choice Trophy. The People’s Choice award is simple and minimalistic – a single builder, a group of engineers OR a whole club can compete as long as things remain private. Workshops or companies will not be considered for this award. The costs for customisation including the base may not exceed R55 000 and work time will not be taken into account, as the journey is the reward. Judges ask that the builds need to be ridden and visitors will be asked to judge the People’s Choice award, selecting from the top 15 that will be chosen and notified in advance.
For more information, how to enter and what can be won, custom builders can visit
2017 Final Categories:
- Scooter/Junior Bike Class – Motorcycles less than 125cc
- Trike & 3 Wheeler Class
- Classic Class: Every Motorcycle before 1985gc
- Retro/Café Racer Class – Motorcycles of a retro or cafe racer style of any type
- Sport/ Streetbike Class: Best Sportsbike or Streetbike with stock Swingarm
- Custom Sportsbike: Every Sportsbike with radical modified frame or Swingarm
- Streetfighter Class: Best modified Sportsbike Streetfighter Style
- Stock Metric V-Twin: Every Metric and European V-Twin bike with stock frame and engine
- Stock US V- Twin: Every US bike with stock frame and engine (Harley-Davidson, Victory, Indian)
- Touring Class: Best Touring bike (Japanese, German and more)
- Custom V-Twin Class: Best Modified V- Twin with aftermarket frame (All Brands)
- Radical Custom Class: Every custom-made motorcycle with aftermarket frame and/or engine
- NEW for 2017: Custom MotoCross/Off-Road Build