Considering America's well-known love affair with custom motorcycles, you might think that the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building would be dominated by U.S.-based builders. Interestingly, though, this year marks the first time the top prize has been won by an American, in this case Dave Cook of Cook Custom Choppers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The winning bike is called Rambler, and it's definitely not the typical custom Harley. In fact, it's not even powered by a V-twin engine. Instead, an air-cooled 550cc four-cylinder engine from International sends power through a modified BMW gearbox and shaft drive to the 21-inch rear wheel. See for yourself in our gallery below.
Second place went to another non-Harley-based custom built by Kris Krome Customs of Freeland, Michigan. Called the Re-flex-tion, the machine is powered by the mill from a Triumph T120. Bronze went to Krugger Speedshop from Belgium for its S&S-powered Overmile. Hit the jump for the official press release and click here for a complete rundown of winners.
[Source: AMD Championship]
American wins Custom Bike Building World Championship
For the first time since its inception in 2004, an American custom motorcycle engineer has won the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
The winner, Dave Cook of Cook Custom Choppers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was voted World Champion by his fellow competitors at an event that defied motorcycle industry downturn expectations. With an increased field totalling 83 custom motorcycles from around the world (compared to 67 in 2008), this year's event is being widely hailed as showcasing the most advanced display of custom motorcycle design and engineering yet seen.
The 51 year old Cook is an internationally recognized engineer and creative genius whose passion for design and engineering excellence had seen him be the winningest American in the past two years, having been fourth and highest placed American competitor behind an international top-three in both 2007 and 2008.
"This is a dream come true", said Cook, minutes after receiving the acclaim of the large crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts and fellow industry professionals who crowded into the downtown City of Sturgis Champions Park venue.
During the build-up to the contest Cook's highly anticipated, exquisite, hand-crafted "Rambler" was among the early favorites to become the first American built World Championship winning custom motorcycle.
However, as competitors pulled their bikes in for competition run-checks and registration at the weekend, it became apparent that competition for top-honors was going to be fierce, with dozens of stunning machines in contention in the 'FreeStyle' Class from which the World Champion is chosen.
"I have dedicated the best part of three years to trying to win the World Championship, and finally I have achieved the ultimate recognition of my fellow professionals. It is very humbling", Cook went on to say.
Once described as motorcycling's "Pulitzers, Nobels and Olympics all rolled into one", the Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building is staged annually during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, every August, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
It is the culmination of a year-long series of worldwide events, including an annual European Championship, that sees hundreds of custom motorcycle design and engineering hopefuls embark on a quest for the opportunity to compete in USA against many of America's finest motorcycle industry brains.
Dominated by engineers from Canada, Japan and Europe for the first five years, American motorcycle customizing has now convincingly broken through on its industry's biggest global stage with seven of the top ten competitors being bike builders based in USA.
Second place was scooped by another American, Kris Krome, of Freeland, Michigan. Third place went Freddie "Krugger" Bertrand from Belgium (Freddie had scored third place twice before, 2004 and 2005). Fourth place went to 2007 World Champion Stellan Egeland from Sweden, with Satya Kraus of Cazedero, California fifth.
About The Championships
The Official World Championship of Custom Bike Building program encompasses some 18 events in total, in 16 different countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Russia, Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Total public attendances at events involved in the program regularly top 1 million motorcycle enthusiasts a year, in markets worth some 20 million motorcyclists and nearly 1 billion consumers in general.
The World Championship of Custom Bike Building is supported for the long-term benefit of the custom motorcycle industry by a consortium of Official Partners. World Championship Partnership is only available to selected potential sponsors. The Program's organizers issue invitations to be associated with the World Championship to custom motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle parts, accessory and service component manufacturers, distributors and brand owners based on their perceived suitability for association with the aims and values of the program. The current Partner line-up is: Custom Chrome, Kustomwerks, Rivera Primo, Harley-Davidson, BUB Enterprises, Helmet City, Ride Wright Wheels, Big Dog Motorcycles, Motorcycle Storehouse, Kibblewhite Precision Machining, J&P Cycles and Hot Bike Magazine.
The World Championship of Custom Bike Building exists to showcase and promote international custom motorcycle design and engineering quality, craftsmanship and innovation; and to promote the evolution of custom motorcycling in ways that will help secure the unique enjoyment of custom motorcycles for future generations of riders.
The World Championship of Custom Bike Building is an Official Sponsor of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and is endorsed by the City of Sturgis as the sole official custom bike event of the world famous 69 year-old rally.
The World Championship supports the work of Kids & Chrome as its Official Charity (www.kidsandchrome.com). Kids and Chrome raises funds and awareness for the Children's Home Society and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.
The World Championship is a free-public-admission four-day event that opens on the first Sunday of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, culminating in an awards ceremony at 3:00 pm MST on the Wednesday of the Rally. The whole event, including the awards ceremony, is broadcast on the internet at www.amdchampionship.com
The Champions Park facility, downtown at the heart of the Rally experience on Sturgis's famous Lazelle Street, features the world's only 'remote-location' public hospitality facility staged by the legendary ACE Cafe London, and a selected event and program relevant line-up of vendors from the custom motorcycle industry.
The results of all European and World Championships since the program's inception appear in the event website registry, along with details of the motorcycle builders, photo gallery, and technical specifications.