The four Grand National Champions of the 2012 Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows pose proudly with their championship trophies.
Jeremy Cupp of LC Fabrications won the FreeStyle Class Grand National Championship for his 1976 Harley 883 XL called ‘Old Black.’
Borrowing a phrase from Highlander Conner Macleod, “There can be only one!”
This battle cry was the mantra over the weekend at the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike United States Championships held inside the Ocean Center at Daytona Beach. The event pitted the cream of the crop as winners from the previous 11 rounds of competition were invited to compete for twice the prize money during Daytona Bike Week 2012 and automatic entry into the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Sturgis. When the dust had settled, Jeremy Cupp of LC Fabrications out of Mount Crawford, Virginia, would earn the top prize in the FreeStyle Class for his 1976 Harley-Davidson 883 XL called ‘Old Black,’ a bike which now more resembles a 1932 DAH Hillclimber. Cupp climbed his way to the $6000 grand prize virtue of a victory over second place finisher, Steve Broyles of Stevenson’s Cycle, whose GL Special won the Detroit Ultimate Builder FreeStyle class. Broyles used influences like Schwinn bicycle’s Flyer to create a sweet 2007 Stevenson’s Bobber with a custom Flyer-like frame, wide-set beach cruiser-style bars and an S&S 93 cubic-inch engine with split polished rocker boxes.
But it was the old XL with the “Hillclimber” chassis which stole the show for Cupp. The new design bears little resemblance to a Sporty. Cupp said he researched classic hillclimber race bikes by talking to Wheels Through Time Museum’s curator, Dale Walksler, to ensure his creation paid homage to the original. Starting from scratch, he made the hillclimber-style chassis to house the Harley 883 which sports a custom open rocker valvetrain and dual Amal carbs for the two rear-facing heads. The front has a thick tire wrapped around a spoked wheel held by the legs of a heavy-duty Springer fork. To make up for the absence of a front brake, the rear has been equipped with dual drums. A jackshafted dual chain drive puts the power to the rear. The angular handmade tank is suspended below the backbone and copper accents are sprinkled throughout the bike’s design. Cupp cleaned house in Charlotte with his vintage hillclimber and his efforts earned him rights to the Ultimate Builder series’ most prestigious prize of all as well, Grand National Champion 2012.
“I am incredibly humbled to receive this award and am still in shock that I actually won the Grand National Championship. The entire field of competitors brought amazing motorcycles down to Daytona and each one was world class in its own right,” Cupp said after the show.
Steve Iacona of Iacona Custom Cycle made his trip down from New York City worth it by winning the Hot Bike Modified Harley Class in Daytona as his “Challenger” edged out Copper Mike Cole’s “Coppa Choppa” for the victory and the $4000 cash prize. Iacona also won a 120 cubic-inch Sreamin’ Eagle engine from Harley-Davidson as well to sweeten the pot.
“Challenger” blends design traits from both board trackers and café racers. The bike features an abundance of handcraftsmanship, a factor that didn’t go unnoticed by the judges. What began as an 883 engine has been converted into a 1200 via the addition of Buell heads and cylinders.
Steve Iacona proudly displays the winning check he won in the Hot Bike Modified Harley Class. Iacona also received a big bonus in the form of a 120 cubic-inch Screamin’ Eagle V-Twin courtesy of The Motor Company.
Mark Webster of MW Performance is a happy man after his 1973 Yamaha TX 650 Street Tracker earned him top honors in the Motorcyclist’s Retro Mod Class.
Mike Belland of A1 Cycles and his wife stand next to ‘Janet,’ a unique stretched Pro Street drag bike with a 140 cubic-inch engine bolstered by both nitrous and turbo.
Dual 30mm Mikuni carbs and revamped ignition coils complete the overhaul. Iacona moved the oil cooler behind the motorcycle’s cool front number plate which houses the small, high intensity headlight. He also converted the stock ’96 XL frame into a hardtail, and its tail section does double time as the rear fender. The dual split tanks are accented with aluminum backing plates and he used the same form from the gas tanks to design the tail so it matched the lines along the bike’s backbone. Raw and industrial, Iacona reinvented the 1996 XL, injecting it with a racy pedigree including the addition of rearsets, a steering damper, and café racer-style bars.
Mark Webster of MW Performance is a happy man after his 1973 Yamaha TX 650 “Street Tracker” rode away with the $2000 cash prize in Motorcyclist’s Retro Mod Class. Webster built up the Yamaha 650 engine by porting the heads, adding stainless steel valves, R&D springs, a Mega Cycle 20.0 cam and a Boyer Brandson Ignition to go along with a competition clutch. He chopped and lightened the “Street Tracker” frame, switched to a Radian swingarm and added KYB piggyback shocks. Akront wheels keep the build light and the rear features a Barnes-style quick change hub. Clean and fast, Webster’s upgraded 1973 Yamaha beat out a strong competitor in the form of BlackSmith Motoring Company’s “El Vaquero,” a heavily modified 1977 Gold Wing GL 1000 with a big bore kit, supercharger, and beautiful engraving by Eazy Garcia.
The final prize of the Ultimate Builder Grand National Championships in Daytona went to Mike Belland of A1 Cycles in the Super Streetbike Performance Custom Class for “Janet,” a unique stretched Pro Street motorcycle. Belland’s build looks like a drag strip dominator, from its 140 cubic-inch engine with both turbo and nitrous to its custom-made Pro Street chassis. He hand-built the stretched tail section to match the stretch of the bike’s Hayabusa swingarm. An open belt primary links to a long chain to get the meaty rear wheel spinning. The front end and tank have also been custom made, giving this bike plenty of ass-kickin’ character. “Janet” earned Belland and A1 Cycles top honors among his contemporaries to go along with a $2000 pay day.
The final award in Daytona went to Jon Shipley of Hoosier Daddy Choppers whose Jack Daniels’ themed motorcycle called “Whiskey Bent” earned the “People’s Choice” award. The 2011 Hoosier Daddy Chopper has a wooden bar stool for a seat, a jockey shifter that looks like a beer tap and is crowned by a shot glass and a copper oil tank fed by still-like copper tubing. From what we understand, the 1977 Ironhead Sportster also has the capacity to pour shots of Jack. Creative and cool, “Whiskey Bent” garnered the most votes from people attending the show to win the “People’s Choice” award.
And speaking of “People’s Choice,” it won’t be long until somebody wins a custom 2011 Honda Fury from Motorcycle USA. The random drawing will take place next Monday, March 26, and the winner will be notified within 10 days of the drawing. Visitors to the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows who voted in the “People’s Choice” award were automatically entered to win, and one lucky person will soon be receiving a new custom bike just in time for the 2012 riding season. It’s one clean machine, with wicked gold metal flake paint and a bigger bark courtesy of its Cobra PowrFlo Air Intake and black Speedster Swept pipes. We’ll be featuring the winner in a future article, so check back in to see who the lucky person is. In the meantime, we’d like to thank the guys over at Biker Pros, Bob Kay and Jeff Najar, for all their help in bringing every round of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows to Motorcycle USA readers.