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Wednesday 21 July 2021

Get On! Moto Fest

Team AMD USA Qualifier -
Get On! Moto Fest

Texas Motor Speedway, May 20 - 23, 2021

With the world tentatively headed towards a post-pandemic reboot, industry veteran Bob Kay and custom bike builder and show organizer Kevin Dunworth operated the first in their program of 'TEAM AMD USA' world Championship of Custom Bike Building qualifiers - hosted by the Get On! Moto Fest in Texas in May.

Builders from all over the USA headed for the Texas Motor Speedway at Fort Worth just a week after the U.S. CDC lifted its travel restrictions and mask mandates - all hopeful to qualify for an expenses paid trip to represent the United States custom bike building community at the next AMD World Championship. The next 'AMD' ('AMD' XIV - postponed from 2020) is presently slated for INTERMOT, Cologne, Germany, in October 2022. 


The structure of this competition was 'winner takes all' prizing with trophies for second to fifth places. "As usual, we had some heavy U.S. hitters bringing some amazing builds," says Kevin. "The first thing we did was to have everyone meet for a morning ride on the Friday of set-up. This was a 22-mile ride through the Texas countryside with a medallion handed to each builder for completion of the route.  

Winner: Rick Bray/RKB Kustom Speed, 'King Solomon', 1981 Shovelhead 76 ci

"There is a handicap for any bike that does not complete the ride under its own power - come the judging, it can't get the same full points as the bikes that do complete the ride. So, compared to display only shows, the heat was on and you could feel the tension as many negotiated their custom starting procedures, or kicked these beautiful machines to life.   
"With the test ride done and spectators starting to gather around the area, the unique 'in it together' camaraderie of the now established 'AMD' vibe kicked in with all the builders joining forces to get the bikes positioned and the display completed - helping each other and getting the bikes clean and ready for the crowds. The brotherhood of common goals and respect for each other superseding the underlying seriousness of the competition in a very cool display of shared commitment to the art.
"Once the display was ready and the event officially open, the comments from many industry peers and first time spectators were music to the ears of the competing builders. Mostly there was astonishment that the bikes had been ridden hard just hours before - the ultimate compliment and appreciation of the high standard of design and craftsmanship on show - the ride and the display showcasing the quality of the engineering and the marriage of form and function."
Second place: Ryan Gore/Paper Street Customs, 1978 Harley Shovelhead

Third place: Colt Wrangler, 1977 Yamaha XS650 'Theory Coffee Build'

Bob Kay headed up the chairman duties, with Team AMD USA team member Brian Buttera and Kevin rounding out the three-man judging panel. After the scores had been weighted for the ride, the Peer Group Review Judging (where the builders themselves cast votes - not for their own bikes though!) counted for around 50 percent of the judged score.
"Yes, the weekend saw some tough weather," said Kevin, "and as has been widely reported, the AFT races on the Speedway had to be canceled, but the bike show was under cover and with the hardcore aficionados not being put off, the visitor numbers may have been lighter than expected, but they were a knowledgeable and experienced crowd.
"Bob Kay did the MC duties at the awards ceremony - the main award, with the place on Team AMD USA, was the inaugural John Parham Memorial Award. John had been involved in motorcycle events and shows around the Midwest from the 1970s and founded the company that became the J&P Cycles we know today in 1979.
"John's family and peers were in the crowd, initially unaware of the tribute that we were about to pay to the man who did so much to shape the custom parts industry that we know today.
"With the public votes, builder 'Peer Group' votes and ride points tallied, the winner of the inaugural John Parham Memorial Award, and the trip to represent the USA at the AMD World Championship, was won by Rick Bray (RKB Kustom Speed) of Lemoore, California, with his 1981 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead 'King Solomon'.

Fourth place: Anthony Robinson/Gasoline & Coffee, '73 IronHead

Fifth place: Shaun and Aaron Guardado, Suicide Machine, carbureted 2020 H-D M-8

"Ryan Gore of Paper Street Customs (Fort Collins, Co.) took 2nd with another Shovelhead; Colt Wrangler (Colt Wrangler Motorcycles, Mason, Tx.) was 3rd with a Yamaha XS650 'Theory Coffee Build'; Anthony Robinson (Gasoline & Coffee, Lancaster, Ca.) scooped 4th with a Harley Sportster, and Aaron and Shaun Guardado of Suicide Machine (Long Beach, Ca.) were 5th with a Softail. The People's Choice award went to AJ Harris of Command Co Moto - a veteran owned and operated motorcycle shop right here in the DFW area.
"Despite confusion about post covid travel, and conflicting events elsewhere in the United States on the same weekend, both Bob Kay and I feel we got great feedback for the event and nothing but compliments about the contest, the way it was staged and operated.
"Our thanks to Comoto and its staff for their professionalism and helping to create a display and environment that showcased the quality and craftsmanship that the builders brought, and for the welcoming and enthusiastically supportive atmosphere that they created for the competitors who made the journey.
"The feedback has been exceptional, especially for a first year event. Many builders have already been asking about the next date. We are just as determined to see this develop into a fixture on the American Custom Bike Show circuit as Comoto are to see the Get On! Moto Fest itself prosper and establish itself as a genuine new force on the American motorcycle event landscape."