Our friends over at Choppertown are currently holding the first online Choppertown Bike Show at ChoppertownNation. The rules for entry are simple; your bike has to have been built by you or your mates in your shed or backyard. There’s three categories – chop, bobber and cafe racer – and various prizes from the likes of Biltwell and Dickies, and all you have to do is upload a couple of pictures before 6th July. The entries will then be judged by a panel of twelve industry folk, including Kutty Noteboom from Hippy Killer Garage, Irish Rich, Duane Ballard and ex-pat Englishman, Carpy of CB750 Cafe.
It’s good to see a few British entries already on the site – such as Ian Solley’s ‘Macbeth bobber’ which was on the cover of BSH 303, Trawler’s ‘Trawler Hauler’, Yorkshire’s finest, Willi’s new ‘Ace’, Andy Spong’s bobber, just to name a few.
Here’s just a handful of the entries; head on over to Choppertown to see the rest, or to make sure your own bike is in the running.
This Sunday – 5th July – is the Last Wolf MCC’s Charity Bike Show and barbecue in aid of the Air Ambulance. It all kicks off at midday at the White Lion, Barthomley, Cheshire (signposted from junction 16 of the M6), and the barbecue will be fired up from 3pm. The custom show will feature handmade trophies for the winners, and all styles of bike and trike are welcome. If you want to make a really early start, camping is available for Saturday night. For more details, ring 01270 764128 or 07923650443 or visit Last Wolf MCC.
It's just been confirmed that the Friday night headline act at this year's Stormin' The Castle will be Bradford's finest, Terrorvision. It's another good bit of news for what is shaping up to be a fine Stormin'; after the trials and tribulations of last year when rain reduced a new site to a mud bowl, the event is moving back to the much-loved Witton Castle.
You can find out more, and book tickets by visiting Stormin'.
Bonhams, the globally-renowned auctioneers, today sent us a press release for a forthcoming sale, which was a big mistake as I’ve done little else other than ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the online catalogue for the sale.
Taking place on 18th July, the auction in Henley-on-Thames will be selling off vehicles and automobilia belonging to Yorkshire-based brothers and world-famous collectors, Toby and Daniel Ward. The lots range from an Amal Mk2 GP carb (auction estimate £150-200) to three Brough Superiors and three Vincents, among various other classic motorcycles. For that special project, you might fancy the Curtiss OX5 engine seen below. The 8-cylinder, 8.2 litre water-cooled engine was built in 1918 and has a guide price of £12000-15000.
There’s also a 905 Waddington 3hp Forecar on offer, built in North Yorkshire, and a wonderful 1928 McEvoy/JAP 8 (pictured aboved) that was once campaigned by famous road and grass track racer Alf Briggs, and later owned by TT winner, Eric Houseley. The guide price on the McEvoy is £120,000 to £150,000, just in case you were thinking about snapping it up for my birthday.
What’s even more amazing is this auction (which runs to over 180 lots) is just the Wards’ reserve collection – the stuff they’re selling off because they’ve already got one, or because they don’t reckon they’ll live long enough to finish.
Admission to the sale is by catalogue only, which will be £30 plus p&p, but you can view it and follow progress online at Bonhams.
If you weren't at the Farmyard Party (and why not?), or you were sensibly sheltering from the refreshing showers on Saturday afternoon, here's what won in the BSH Farmyard Party Custom Show. Above is the overall Best of Show winner, Clive's Super Glide, sleek, poised, elegant and ridden down from the north of Scotland. Those of you familiar with the Farmyard's method of judging the custom show will know that there are no categories, simply a number of running up 'Very Good Bikes'; we've kept that in place, but hopefully there'll be at least one bike you'll like in that choice.
Phew, another issue finished and sent off to the printers who will hand-draw each issue with crayons and felt tips. The next issue has an impressive range of bikes, from a hooligan Yamaha XJR to a real old school Honda, along with coverage of The Shires Show, Paignton, Bikes Trikes n Stuff's Day and the NCC Berkshire & South Bucks' Custom Show, while we sent top snapper Michael Lichter off to Russia to have a look around. Pride of place on the cover is a young gentlenman called Berardo and his truly inspiring and completely handbuilt FXR. BSH 304 will be in the shops on 2nd July and I'm now going to have the day off!
We're still recovering from another cracking Farmyard Party. The odd drop of rain couldn't dampen everyone's high spirits, and the turn out for the BSH Custom Show was probably the biggest ever seen at the Farmyard. Thank you to everyone who bothered to fetch their bike or trike and help put on such an incredible display. The little reverse head Triumph that you see here was one of the runners up, and won Best Paint and Best Brightwork at the Belle Vue show ... in 1974.
The BSH Big Top proved to be a huge success and was heaving on both Friday and Saturday nights, and we'll be bringing you massive coverage in BSH 305. Once I've found the card reader and can download 400+ pictures!
Fresh from setting a new world record as we reported last week, West Coast Choppers’ Jesse James is to make his debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 3-5th July. But, rather than any of the choppers for which he’s famous, Jesse will be bringing his Baja desert racing Trophy Truck.
Although Jesse has promised that his driving on the Goodwood hillclimb will be more sedate than usual, I wouldn’t count on it…
This week's 'Web Site of the Week' is the rather fine Paper Toys which allows you to download patterns for making - as it says on the box - paper toys of, well, some very strange things indeed.
Among the latest additions to the site are a model of Sydney Opera House, a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Taj Mahal, while previous patterns available to print out include a Harley (which is actually one of the least impressive models on the site), the Eiffel Tower, an oil rig, the Brooklyn Bridge and a Thanksgiving turkey. No, I have no idea why anyone would want a paper model of a Thanksgiving turkey, either.
Jesse James, bike builder and the man behind West Coast Choppers, now has a world record to his credit.
On 16th June 2009, Jesse shattered the land speed record for a hydrogen-powered vehicle at El Mirage in the Mojave desert of California. His new record speed of 199.7mph was documented by the Southern California Timing Association, beating the previous record holder by almost 15mph.
The vehicle was originally built in the 1960s and had been used for previous LSR attempts. For his new TV series, ‘Jesse James Is A Dead Man’, Jesse rebuilt it from the ground up, replacing the old Chrysler engine with a twin-turbocharged 9.8L V8 engine from Chevrolet. The engine, which took three years of development, runs on hydrogen gas pressurised to 10,000psi, rather than liquid hydrogen. Basically, it’s like sitting on top of a large bomb. However, if we know Jesse, after he’s got over being quite pleased about his achievement, he’ll be bitching like hell that he couldn’t squeeze that extra third of a mile per hour and break the 200mph barrier…
It's just hours now until the 2009 Farmyard Party at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, North Yorkshire, and we've been labouring away erecting the huge Back Street Heroes Big Top. Okay, we haven't exactly been doing it ourselves, but we would have done if we hadn't been finishing an issue/ working very hard/washing our hair.
As well as hosting the entertainment heart of the Farmyard, we'll also be running the custom show on Saturday. Just turn up at the BSH stand to enter your bike from 10am onwards. If you turn up any earlier than that, you have to buy us tea and bacon sandwiches, and we can eat a lot of bacon butties.
It's now less than two weeks to the 3rd Chop 'n' Rod Show on 27-28th June, this year at a new and sumptuous site at the Fairmile Arms in Cobham, Surrey. So far, seven bands have been booked, with the added incentive that the band judged to be the best on the day will have a chance to play on the Area 81 rock stage at the Bulldog Bash in August.
As well as an autojumble (we're British, Woody, we don't have swapmeets!), trade stands, camping and all the usual malarkey, there'll also be a huge custom show for two, three and four-wheeled machinery with various categories and awards, while the best of the best will be automatically entered in the Bulldog Bash Custom Show with VIP camping and gold passes.
A new potential threat to bike runs has been posed with an article in equestrian magazine, Horse & Hound. On Sunday 14th June, a racehorse was killed in an accident with a motorcycle. The seven-year-old gelding, Quizzene, was, according to H&H, being ridden along a track that runs parallel with the Lambourn to Great Shefford road in Berkshire, when ‘more than 50 motorbikes rode past as part of an organised run’.
The horse was startled by the noise of the bikes and threw his rider, before running back along the track and in front of the bikes, where it was hit, sustaining a broken leg that resulted in the racehorse being put to sleep. Kevin McCarthy, racing manager for Lidderdale Racing, the stable responsible for Quizzene, told H&H:
“Something has to be done to prevent this from happening again. It is unacceptable for any organisation to arrange and be permitted to bring this kind of traffic through the area. Apart from racehorses there are many other keen adult and child riders who enjoy the beautiful Berkshire countryside side and are put in grave danger. This has to be rectified.”
Unsurprisingly, Horse & Hound didn’t comment on whether the bike rider was hurt.
McCarthy’s comments appear couched to bias local opinion against organised ride-outs, despite the fact that motorcycles will, in the main, carry considerably more insurance than horses, as well as paying towards the maintenance of roads in the form of vehicle excise duty (and that’s without the obvious fact that a horse’s metalled hooves do more damage to roads than rubber tyres). There is also the question of why a horse liable to be spooked by traffic – and, remember, this was not a particularly young horse – was being ridden in an area close to a road, and on a track with access to the road? Why undoubtedly a tragic accident, it would be even more unfortunate if this was used as yet another stick with which to beat motorcyclists.
If you were watching the BBC news at 7.25am this morning, you may have spotted a familiar face. There, wedged into a tiny kayak, was our very own Simon Everett being interviewed before paddling off, apparently, to count sharks off of the Scottish coast. Alas, the only one of us up at such an unearthly hour to see this piece of cinematic history was Gareth, although we hope that Mr Everett realises that sharks do get bigger than the fish he's caught in this picture. Mind you, we haven't heard from Simon today...
Zero Motorcycles (no, not Shinya Kimura’s Zero) in Santa Cruz is currently leading the world in electric motorcycles, and its latest model is the Zero X, a full-sized dirt bike which has been built using the ultimate in electric motorcycle technology. Boasting 50 ft lbs of torque, Zero says that the Zero X will send you racing up hills, flying over jumps, and splashing through streams, all in silence.
The Zero X is faster, stronger, and more durable than previous electric bikes, with upgraded drivetrain, handmade aircraft grade aluminum frame, suspension and more. It’s powered by Zero’s proprietary Z-Force™ lithium ion power which the company says gives acceleration of 0-30 in under 2 seconds, delivering similar performance to a 250cc petrol-powered off-road motorcycle, while the battery is rechargeable is under two hours. But isn’t there something just a little well, odd, about a dirt bike that doesn’t go ‘vrooom vroom’?
Here Neal Saiki, the man behind Zero, explains the technology behind his bikeS to a man who knows a bit about motorcycles and automobiles, US chat king, Jay Leno.
Ray Mallon, the Mayor of Middleborough, is claiming that penalties issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) could break the law, the Northern Echo reports.
Mr Mallon has noted that owners who fail to inform the DVLA when they sell their vehicles are issued with a letter demanding a £50 penalty. If they try to contest it, the case is handed over to a debt recovery agency. Mr Mallon contends that the DVLA could be challenged because it effectively issues fines, without first seeking the power to do so from a criminal court.
“These cowboys have decided they don’t want to go through the expense and aggravation of going to a court of law. The DVLA has been abusing its powers for years and … I intend to do everything in my power to expose and dismantle this organisation piece by piece.” he said.
Mr Mallon claims that the DVLA fines system contravenes British legal law that states a person is innocent until proven guilty and that everyone has he right of appeal.
According to the Northern Echo, the DVLA has earned £3,123,332 from out-of-court settlement letters sent to UK motorists in the past three years, a figure that Mr Mallon finds scandulous.
“This is a government department and it is clearly out of control,” said the Mayor. As well as writing to Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport, Mr Mallon plans to ask Cleveland Police to begin criminal investigations.
“I want the police to investigate whether criminal offences have been committed here,” he said. “I want people who the DVLA has taken money from to be refunded, as appropriate, and I want the DVLA to alter their practices immediately. I have never come across a more serious and blatant case of abuse by a public sector organisation.”
Perhaps more remarkably, Ray Mallon is an ex-copper. Until first standing for Mayor in 2002, he was a high-ranking Detective Superintendent who introduced ‘zero tolerance’ in Hartlepool and Middleborough, cutting crime in the latter town by 20% in 18 months, and earning himself the nickname of ‘Robocop’. We will watch Robocop’s latest battle with interest.
Congratulations to Anders Goth of Sweden who triumphed at last weekend's Twin Club MC show in Norrtälje. Anders built the entire bike from the wheels up himself, and was a little disappointed that it didn't made the top five at the European Championships in Mainz in March. Back then, he told me he was thinking about stripping it to bits. Now, with a trip to Sturgis scheduled for August (Norrtälje is an affiliate round of the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building), I guess he's glad he didn't. We'll be bringing you full coverage of the Norrtälje show in BSH 305.
In the news pages of the current BSH, we mentioned Alan Ross, sculptor, artist, BSH reader and circumventor of BBC regulations. This morning, I had a small package in the post with this wonderful five-inch long scimitar that Alan - known my penchant for sharp things - had made for me from, in his own words, 'a Victorian fish knife, the spiky bit off an old fork and the end of a hideous St Christopher teaspoon'. I like it very much indeed.
You can see Alan's work - most of it somewhat bigger in scale than my knife - at www.artinsteel.co.uk.
This year's Bulldog Bash on 6-9th August sees the 10th Bulldog Bash Custom Show, and to help us celebrate, the custom show will have a very special guest in the tall blond shape of Russ Mitchell of Exile Cycles. Star of 'Build or Bust' and 'Biker Build Off', ex-pat Englishman Russ's clean and crisp style of building bikes has brought him many fans both here and in his adopted USA.
Police have wasted over a million pounds in three years – by putting the wrong fuel in their vehicles.
Over the past three years, an average of four cars a day have been repaired and their engines flushed because PC Plod can’t tell the difference between a diesel and a petrol pump. That's despite unleaded pumps being green and diesel nozzles black with the word 'UNLEADED' or 'DIESEL' writ large upon them. Met officers in London managed to fill up with the wrong fuel 671 times during that time, at a cost of almost £200,000.
In an attempt to stop this happening, North Wales police fitted luminous yellow petrol caps emblazoned with the word ‘DIESEL’ to their derv-powered cars. It didn’t stop 39 coppers filling up with unleaded during 2006…
This weekend sees the mighty Shires Show take place near Market Drayton in Shropshire. From humble beginnings in a pub car park, the event has grown into one of the season’s most keenly anticipated shows, thanks to its laidback atmosphere, fine site, huge custom show (sponsored by BSH and Streetfighters) and line up of live music. This year, the latter includes Shires favourites, The Jalapenos, Hot Rod 55, Stevie One Man & His Mandolin, The Mojo Kings, Dumpy’s Rusty Nutz and Girlschool, along with some saucy burlesque dancers. Tickets are £25 on the gate for the weekend, or a tenner for a day’s entry. Shires Show A41 Ternhill Market Drayton Shropshire TF9 2TQ 12-13th June 2009
Following a court process which has dragged on for two years, Florida bike builder and owner of Choppers Inc, Billy Lane is set to change his plea to ‘Guilty’ on a single felony charge of vehicular homicide. In September 2006, as his Dodge pick-up crossed a double yellow line to pass slow-moving traffic, Lane was involved in a head-on crash with moped rider, Gerald Morelock, in which Mr Morelock died. After police reported that his blood alcohol lever was more than twice the legal limit, Billy Lane was subsequently charged with one count of DUI – or driving under the influence – manslaughter. Last December, mindful that questions had been raised over the admissibility of blood evidence in court, prosecutors added an alternative charge of vehicular homicide, which requires the state of Florida to prove that Lane was driving recklessly, but does not include the drug or alcohol element needed to prove DUI manslaughter. Both charges are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, under a plea deal agreed with the prosecution, Billy Lane will return to court tomorrow to charge his plea from ‘Not Guilty’ to ‘Guilty’, in return for which the charge of DUI manslaughter will be dropped, and prosecutors will seek a nine-year prison term for the vehicular homicide charge. Sentencing will take place on 14th August.
On Monday 25th May (Bank Holiday Monday), this Triumph Bonneville lowrider was stolen from Newton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, between midday and 2pm.
As you can see, it’s a very distinctive bike which has taken owner, John Osbourne, two years to build, and police fear that the thieves may break it for parts. Please keep an ear and eye out for the bike or for anyone offering parts.
The engine is a Triumph Bonneville 790cc, bored out to 904cc. Engine number 199150. Vin number VIN number SMTTJ910TM4198304.
The frame and integral rear mudguard has been stretched and modified and is bronze/copper in colour.
German polished aluminium ‘Light-On’ wheels.
American ‘Tricky-Air’ forks.
One-off tank by Parker Fabrication.
Two-into-one exhaust system.
One-off handlebars with integral LED indicators.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact North Yorkshire police on 0845 6060247 quoting incident reference number NYP-25052009-0307.
From our good friends Scott di Lalla and Zack Coffman at One World Studios, the gentlemen behind one of our all-time favourite films, 'Choppertown', comes a new documentary that promises to be very much in the same style and feel as Choppertown.
'The Harbortown Bobber' follows the ground-up build of Scott's 1969 bobber as various backyard masters - including Irish Rich of the Sinners, Earl Kane of Earl's Bikes, Japanese Jay, Todds Cycles and Dennis Goodson - get involved in helping to create a unique custom motorcycle, telling their own personal stories as they work.
Two years in the making, the film is scheduled for release at the end of July, and you can find up-to-date news at Harbortown. In the meantime, here's a taster of the film...
It might seem like something from the pen of Ian Fleming or Philip K Dick, but a California company believes that a SkyBike™, part motorcycle and part aeroplane, could soon be a possibility.
The idea of a flying car or bike is nothing new, and I would guess that there’s several dozen people working on just such an idea right at this moment, but Sam Bousfield of Samson Motorworks, near Sacramento, reckons that he could have a half-scale, radio-controlled version of his SkyBike in the air in a few months time. The SkyBike can carry two people with luggage and has telescopic wings, while its three wheels and two seats class it as a motorcycle for ground traffic purposes. Once on the road, Samson claims that it has the same power-to-weight ratio of a Ferrari Testarossa, while it’s also capable of flying at 130mph.
Will it work? Will it ever be built? Well, we’ve seen similar ideas come and go, but should the SkyBike ever go into production, we’d like a test ride. Please.
The new issue of BSH goes on sale on Thursday 4th June, and if you hightail it down to your local Tesco's (and, let's face it, everywhere has a local Tesco's store now) and make your purchase of the finest custom motorcycle magazine known to civilisation, you can enter an exclusive competition to win not only tickets to this year's Farmyard Party, but also a backstage tour and full camping facilities laid on by Carry Nowt Camping. Because the closing date is midday on 15th June, you'll have to be quick on your toes down to a Tesco emporium; I recommend about 8pm, because that's usually when they do the really good reductions...
In BSH 302 we featured former AMD Custom Bike Building Champion, Stellan Egeland's new creation, the hub-centred steered Harrier BMW. You may have asked yourself, "Yeah, but does it actually work?" Here's the proof...
BSH has featured a couple of trikes built by Santiago Choppers in Florida, where company owner Alan Bernard is turning out some of the most stylish three-wheelers in the USA. The Old School trike is available with an 88 cubic inch RevTech engine, softail frame and your choice of colour for $18995. It's almost worth emigrating to the Everglades!
For more information on Santiago Choppers' trikes, bikes, and parts, visit Santiago Choppers. We stole this picture of Alan riding his first trike from there...
One of the highlights of the weekend just gone was meeting the guys from Run Riot Cycles. They'd just finished a rigid chop which was making its debut at Chopper Club Berkshire's custom show. Doesn't sound a particularly radical incident so far, does it? But this little bike has been built round a Kymco lawnmower engine by three lads working in a shed - and they're all still in their teens! I wasn't the only person to be taken by 'The Mower', and it picked up the Best Engineering trophy - no small shakes at an NCC event. We'll be bringing you a full feature in a future issue, but congratulations to Ryan and the crew.
Last October saw the first annual ‘Ride To The Wall’, an event in which more than 2500 bikers rode to the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield, Staffordshire, in remembrance of all the troops to have lost their lives since World War II.
The day also raised £10,300 towards the upkeep of the Arboretum, which comprises 150 acres of trees and memorial, including the Armed Forces Memorial which gives recognition and thanks to those who have died while on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the Second World War
Founder and organiser of the RTTW, Martin Dickinson, seen here presenting the cheque to Charlie Bagot Jewitt, chief executive of the National Memorial Arboretum, said;
“The response to the first RTTW was beyond anything I could have ever have dreamed. At no time in the planning stage did I ever believe it would be supported so magnificently. Initial estimates suggested 350 people may attend but it soon became apparent that figure would easily be surpassed at an early stage. By the time the first bikes started leaving the meeting point at Tamworth Services more than 2,000 people had registered.”
This year’s RTTW will take place on 10th October, and is hoping to double the number of bikes and visitors. You can register for the ride online at www.rttw.org.