Some of the best custom motorcycle builders around came to Sturgis to compete in the 2012 AMD World Championships of Custom Bike Building. When it was all over, three shops rose to the top in the coveted Freestyle Class.
It was a bittersweet day under the big white tent where the Ninth Annual Sturgis AMD World Championships of Custom Bike Building was taking place. This year’s event marks the end of a great run of holding the contest here in the States as it moves to Germany next year. This just means that Team USA will have to take its show on the road next year to show Europe the caliber of talent we have here in the good ol’ US of A.
Needless to say, 43 custom bike builders still brought it this year as the quality of the work of the craftsman in the show never disappoints. This year’s AMD’s saw quite a few firsts. There was a three-way tie for first place in one class. We also saw the first repeat class winner. And then the second. Then a bagger finished in the Top 10 in the Freestyle Class for the first-time ever. The last Sturgis AMD’s definitely refused to go out without a bang.
Before the award ceremony began though, two participants were singled out for special circumstances by AMD organizers. Xiao Lei of Songsan Motorcycles of China was given a special award for the hardships he had to endure just to make it to the show. Not only did he come to the AMD’s to compete on his own dollar, his bike got tied up in customs and was impounded in Chicago. He had to display great patience and resourcefulness to even make it to the show, a fact that did not elude Robin Bradley and the AMD crew.
The likable “Kiwi” Mike Tomas also earned special recognition because he is the only competitor to make it to every single AMD show in America. His string of nine straight appearances can’t be matched and demonstrates “Kiwi” Mike’s dedication to his craft. As always, he brought another strong competitor, his Hendee Deviant earning him third place in the Production Manufacturer Class this year.
In the premier Freestyle Class, no detail was left unattended in the striking little gold racer called PainTTless by Thunderbike out of Hamminkein, Germany. Based around a 1984 Sportster Ironhead engine and an H-D 750 WLA drivetrain, there’s little that resembles a Harley in the streamlined racer. Weight was shaved off by drilling out everything
Thunderbike of Germany won the Freestyle Class at the 2012 Sturgis AMD World Championships for this sporty little Ironhead-powered racer called PainTTless.
from its swingarm to its controls. A beautiful custom tank tapers back to a tiny tail section that looks to be one piece. Thunderbike crafted some artistic wheels in-house to go along with an artistically designed braking system that conceals the rotors. Light, fast and flickable, the entire motorcycle has a jewel-like appearance and was definitely worthy of top honors in the Freestyle Class.
Dar Holdsworth of Darwin Motorcycles became the first repeat winner when he captured first place in the Production Manufacturer Class. Then Jim Guiffra and the AFT Customs girls followed suit by winning the Performance Custom Class for the second year in a row. But it wasn’t easy. There was a three-way tie for first place in the class. Judges broke the tie by counting the number of first place votes each competitor received, AFT winning with 17, four more than second place. The enigmatic crew from Abnormal Cycles would grab the final first place finish in the Modified Harley Class for its combination of a 1930 VL-framed Harley with a 1919 JD 74 V-Twin and boardtracker bars.
The quote of the day went to Steve “Brewdude” Gam of Brew Bikes when he said “Who else would bring a CB350 to the World Championships?” while sporting his signature blue-tinted soul patch. You would, Brewdude, and your bike wasn’t bad either, raking in second place in the Performance Custom Class. Not too shabby for a little bike he made for himself just to race around on.
2012 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building Winners -
1. Thunderbike of Germany
2. LC Fabrications
3. Abnormal Cycles
4. Kreator Custom Motorcycles
5. Claes Warefors
6. KW Kustoms (1st Bagger to place in the Top 10)
7. Moore Customs
8. Kreator Custom Cycles
9. RK Concepts
10. Hoosier Daddy Choppers
Production Manufacturer Class
1. Darwin Motorcycles
2. Rods & Rides Motorcycle Co.
3. “Kiwi” Mike Tomas Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co.
Performance Custom Class
1. AFT Customs
2. Steve “Brewdude” Gam Brew Bikes
3. Curt Winter BTR Moto
Modified Harley Class
1. Abnormal Cycles
2. Ehinger Kraftrad
3. Cooper Smith & Co.