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Tuesday 4 July 2023

37th Annual Biker Fest 2023

37th Annual Biker Fest

Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, May 18-21, 2023

Words and pics by Onno "Berserk" Wieringa

What is the secret? An event that runs for 37 years, still going strong, attracting thousands and thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors? Well, the answer is simple …

"Arcadia", H-D Shovelhead chopper, built by DMC Toys for Men, Castell'Afero in Italy.

From the beginning of Biker Fest's history, the Persello family does an outstanding job, has the backing of the Italian Custom Bike scene and has a dedicated team that has been involved with the event for many, many years. 

It's the enormous amount of hard work and the passion for motorcycles that makes Biker Fest the success it continues to be - a place where motorcyclists of all brands, makes and types feel at home, where they can enjoy and 'taste' the love for Motorcycles!

Of course, owning a stable of leading custom magazines - automotive as well as motorcycle - doesn't hurt either. Not least among those magazines is 'Bikers Life', the Italian market leader.

You don't 'just visit' Biker Fest, you experience it. There are three adjacent sites - at Luna Park there's hundreds of vendors, artists, craftsmen, special painters, the main stage, the AMD Approved Custom Bike Show, Helicopter Rides, the usual bars, and even in the parking lot you can spend an hour or so checking out all the motorcycles and American cars. 

Then there's the off-road area, where many tracks are open to the typical Italian three-wheeled Vespas and Piaggio MP3s (but don't be fooled as they have unbelievably fast engines), car off-roading, mini-motocross, Scooter racing and much more - some of it is hilarious to watch.

Then there is the demo ride area, where all the well-known brands and others show their newest models, making them available for test rides. Every year more people book demo rides - thousands his year. H-D, Indian, Boss Hoss, Keeway, BMW, Triumph, Royal-Endfield, SWM, well, you name it, they were all there with big trucks and stands. 

BMW R100RS by VM Cycles, Tolmezzo, Italy.

And let's not forget the special exhibition with painters and other artists at the Terrazza a Mare, the pier where the Custom Bike Show used to be. Now you can see painters at work, bodypainting, tank art, cool mopeds and other customized vehicles and more. Additional events include a Bike Parade on the Saturday, the US Car Parade on Sunday, live music on various stages during the whole weekend and a Pin-up Contest.. 

Add to that the Italian hospitality, the best coffee, great weather and some of Italy's most beautiful models, and you have the perfect weekend at the perfect location - with white sandy beaches and palm trees Lignano Sabbiadoro is called the "European Florida".

"Revolution" by Niko, of Nikobikes, Cologno al Serio, Italy.

Best in Show: Mannaia's "Miss Penny", with single sided rear end, an S&S engine, Alfa Romeo turbo, one-off frame and many, if not all, handmade parts.

Announced on the Sunday, the three winners of the AMD Approved Custom Bike Show are "Arcadia", a beautiful H-D Shovelhead chopper, built by DMC Toys for Men, Castell'Afero in Italy. The 1968 Pan/ Early Shovelhead with many handmade custom parts by DMC is painted by Cisko Airbrush Studio, the leather seat is made by L.R. Leather and the engraving is done by Clarissa Incisioni at Tattoo Army Studio. The win scored an XLMoto € 1,000 voucher.

Another classic chopper, "Revolution" by well-known builder Niko, of Nikobikes, Cologno al Serio, Italy, was another worthy winner. Handmade parts such as frame, fender, oil and gas tank and exhaust, excellent finish and many details, combined with an Evolution Big Twin engine makes for a reliable and powerful ride - winning a € 1,000 Vperformance Exhausts voucher.

The BMW R100RS by VM Cycles, Tolmezzo, Italy, was another classic - albeit in a different style. Many handmade inox and aluminium handmade parts and a perfect finish with incredible details made this BMW the third AMD Winner. A Dutch visitor at Biker Fest was so impressed with the BMW that he struck a deal with VM on the spot and Simon is now the proud owner of this oh so cool BMW - which scooped a € 1,000 F.G. Racing and FGirdex voucher.

First place winners in other categories included a Giacomo, G-Design, Scrambler; the Riva inspired Moto Guzzi Nevam 750 by Biandronno Varese in Café Racer; the PDF built BSA in Old Style; the BMW by FTG Moto in Streetfighter; both T.H.O.M's V-Rods in Modified H-D; the BMW R 18 'Joker' by Aurecia Motorrad of Livorno in Metric Class; internationally well-known veteran builder Peter Penzenstadler of Penz Custom Bikes in Austria won the Freestyle Class with a beautiful Shovelhead chopper, and very surprisingly, not an H-D, but a Yamaha Wild Star, built by Biker Sheriff, won the Bagger class.

Best in Show was a well-deserved win by Mannaia's "Miss Penny", with single sided rear end, an S&S engine, Alfa Romeo turbo, one-off frame and many, if not all, handmade parts.

Having enjoyed a great weekend at the increasingly international Biker Fest, with visitors coming from all over Europe, next up is Italian Bike Week by the same organizers, also at Lignano Sabbiadoro, September 14-17, 2023 - north of Venice on Italy's Adriatic coast and just a two hour back-roads ride from Faak in Austria where, for those who'd like to do consecutive weekends, the European Bike Week is being staged the week before IBW.