You heard it here first folks, the Aussies have once again pipped our hard working Kiwi dealers to the post and taken out the annual Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings Australasian round with Gold Coast Harley-Davidson taking out the feeder competition for the global finals.
Taking place in our neck of the woods for the second year, the Battle of the Kings competition as always was decided via a round of online voting open to the general public, with Gold Coast Harley-Davidson's Softail Slim “Hollister Riot” winning over the masses to see the Gold Coast dealer crowned the 2019 Australian and New Zealand Custom King and moving into the global finals.
Out of a total of 26 participating dealerships across Australia and New Zealand, only one of the six Kiwi dealerships who entered made the top five finalists, with Christchurch's Rolling Thunder Harley-Davidson joining Morgan & Wacker Harley-Davidson, Adelaide H-D Bike Works, and Sunshine Coast H-D in the Top 5.
On top of the public voting, each finalist was judged and scored against three categories - character, styling and x-factor – by the carefully selected Battle of the Kings Judging panel made up of experienced industry professionals and Harley-Davidson ambassadors.
Using a Softail Slim as the base model, Gold Coast Harley-Davidson entered the “Hollister Riot” into the CHOP category – one of three new design categories implemented for the 2019 build off – to create a masterpiece which pays respect to the old Panheads and Knuckleheads of past years.
The most eye-catching modification has to be the move to a springer front end, with custom bars, a muffler based around those found on from the 1930s era of Harley-Davidson featuring a custom made 2-1 exhaust setup with old school ribbing. Gold Coast Harley-Davidson also moved away from and a chain and sprocket.
The Milwaukee-Eight engine was also dressed up for the occasion as a key feature in the build alongside an original style solo saddle seat slimmed down and a paint scheme that pays respects to Harley race bikes of the 1940s completing the vintage look.
Interestingly the custom build named “Hollister Riot” is a reference to the Hollister Riot of 1947 at the AMA Sanctioned Gypsy Tour Motorcycle Rally in the town of Hollister California, where Harley-Davidson enthusiasts gathered to party hard – while the number 16 is a reference to Jimmy Chan, who made history with his 3 consecutive wins of the Springfield Mile and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
Steve Schilling, Dealer Principal from Gold Coast Harley-Davidson was excited and humbled with their win,
"It is absolutely fantastic to win, as the competition was very strong, so to take out the ANZ Battle of the Kings Crown is a credit to the team involved from Gold Coast Harley-Davidson as well as those who assisted with the build, photos and video, says Gold Coast Harley-Davidson's Dealer Principal, Steve Schilling.
"It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to represent ANZ and with the fierce international competition, we know it will be tough to win. I have seen the U.S.A. finalists here in Milwaukee at the 2019 Harley-Davidson Dealer Show and to have ‘Hollister Riot’ in the same category is a credit to our team."
Harley-Davidson ambassador and Battle of the Kings judge, Nathan Hindmarsh, said “Once again these builds have amazed me. The creativity and attention to detail has blown me away. Congratulations to everyone involved in this year’s competition.”
Gold Coast Harley-Davidson will now go on to represent Australia and New Zealand's wider Harley dealerships against other International Winners of the Battle of the Kings Competition. Four winners will be selected via online voting from International markets, meeting the U.S.A winner at the EICMA in Milan, Italy to battle it out for Global Custom King title on centre stage.
The Winner of the 2019 Global Battle of the Kings Competition will be announced this November.