Thunder over Franconia!
In the “eye of the storm” Bike and Music Weekend in Geiselwind/Germany had an (almost) dry 4-day event! While other festivals and holidays were plagued by rainfalls, the “thunder” at Geiselwind did not come from the sky: it came from the engines of custom motorcycles, Hot Rods and Dragsters…
“Still sucking Gasoline” was the theme on this years T-Shirts at Bike and Music Weekend – and a lot of fuel was burned again in Geiselwind at the first weekend in August! New and established program points came together in a top show that turned out to be very different than everybody expected: Just as planned!
It’s time to talk about weather – and our changed attitude towards forecasts of rain and bad weather in the media: A forecast is just a forecast – and might not become reality at all. With a preview on a complete rained out weekend for Germany, Bike and Music Weekend had a surprising dry and sometimes even sunny event as the clouds passed the Steigerwald hills!
German news media, ever fixated on climate and bad news, focused on the rained-out Wacken Heavy Metal festival and added to the hesitation of bikers, US Car fans and other visitors who missed a full event schedule of a great event that had everything Bike & Music Weekend is famous for Action, Dragsters, burning rubber, bike show and live music and a great partytime!
Without doubt, “Bike and Music Weekend” is one of the wildest events in Germany – and sometimes it is fortunate that German media is so “fixated” on the “Wacken Open Air” Heavy Metal festival that they fortunately are missing that the real “Motorheads” party for motorcycle riders, custombike fans, US-Car Hot Rod owners and everybody who like the smell of burning rubber and extreme stunt action is taking place about 600+ km to the south: At the Strohofer Truckstop in Geiselwind/Franconia.
Last years 3-day relaunch of the event was just the test-run and 2023 saw the event back to its original 4-day schedule of extraordinary wild action, well at least in the time limits that are now given by ever-stricter rules and regulations which made a lot of German and eve European events just give up. The “Bike and Music Weekend” team of Strohofer Truck Stop and Knight Riders MC are always under pressure by local authorities, yet they manage to organize a great event for their visitors – a true “motorheads festival”, now unique in Europe and in Germany in particular. Fact is: There is no other event with this distinctive “mix” of crazy motorized action, music and party – and the show is re-inventing itself year after year. Even the most hardened “petrolheads” have to wipe their eyes to believe what they are seeing! Especially at the “Burnout Contest” on Friday and Saturday, one of the truly unique program parts of Bike and Music Weekend, the festival that still holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest “Mass Burnout of Motorcycles” since 2006. The contest has seen many unique performances in this time, tractors, unicycles, Go-carts, flaming burnouts a (motorized!!) caravan trailer (!) that burned both wheels and Grandpa’s old Mercedes, burning its way along the cheering “Showmile” with a motorcycle strapped on top to a makeshift wooden luggage rack, also spinning the rear tire with blue smoke adding to the mayhem is something you don’t see every day. Unless you are a long-time visitor to Bike and Music Weekend.
The 2023 field of Burnout maniacs seemed a bit smaller than usual, but they sure burned a whole lotta rubber! And “numbers” don’t say much as the motorcycle burnout contest saw a 5-bike strong “Burn Brothers” group dressed up in black suits and dark sunglasses to win the trophy with a spectacular 5-tires-blown performance! At the car field, the well established “Burnator” rocked the field with his “Barbie II – Ken is burning rubber!” performance as he changed his blown tire set for a second set with PINK dust blowing out of the profile!
Far out!!! Long-time motorcycle burnout contest winner Ratz took a “time out” from the competition, yet could not resist to stage a cool “Climate Protest Show” on Saturdays finals: his “No Burnout” protest glue-crew “staged” a climate protest on the Dragstrip and showed how you could deal with protesters. Fun for the surprised audience as they know Ratz for his wild ideas such as towing a sled, fridge or washing machine with gas-mask equipped passengers sitting atop the “accessory”.
Burnout & Stuntshow
A great addition to the stunt show action was Maciej “DOP” Bielicki who almost immediately became another public favorite as he not just performed an unbelievable solo stunt show on 5 (!) different bikes but also created – out of nothing – a double-action show with Ricardo Domingos and his team that became wilder with every performance they shared! When on May 20th 2017 Maciej DOP Bielicki broke the Guinness World record for “Long DIstance Burnout”, he did it on a completely stock “Street Rod” using the then new Avon Storm 3D X-M to the rear wheel. The road near Rzeszów in south-east Poland had been closed for the record attempt, the near Harley-Dealership, also known under “Game Over Cycles” had supported “DOP” in his plans. Maciej DOP Bielicki started his stunt career in 2003, becoming a pro stunt rider in 2005.
At that time, Buell-powered stuntriders like Craig Jones, Rainer Schwarz, Erdös Csabas, Bubba Blackwell were also diversifying into Harley-Davidson models to be used for their stunt shows, but none would consider a “883” Sporty to be their preferred ride. At Bike and Music, Maciej also met with Rainer Schwarz who made a “sneak visit” Saturday. “DOP” is short for polish “Dzida” (intense style of riding), “Oddział” (Department) and Płock (City where he lives, Vistula down from Warsaw). No need to add much about Stunt-pro Ricardo Domingos, other than he obviously enjoyed stunting with DOP and the team-up of stunt-giants had the audience cheering!
Those who made their way to Geiselwind – and a great start into the music program with a “full Music Hall” for Rammstein tribute STAHLZEIT was made Thursday night – were certainly not disappointed: Dragrace demos, world class motorcycle stunts, burnout action, live music almost around the clock and partytime on the whole area made forget that also the area itself had been scaled down in size.
What remained of the eventsite is still considerable – and packed with exhibitors and Dragrace teams. Just as the last years have been bypassed as a “bad memory”. With the rainfalls the week before the event – and not realized weather forecasts for the event days itself – the campground was less crowded than during previous events, but US-Cars and Hot-Rodders arrived in force and the “Longest distance” trophy went to Lithuania (2nd) and Finland for 2000+ Kilometers ride to come to “Bike and Music”.
A traditional part of the event, passionately organized and executed by the Knight Riders, is the Bike and Music Bikeshow. Preparation and decoration of the hall takes two days and includes a state of the art presentation of the bikes, judgment by public and jury and the counting of the votes until late Saturday night! No less than 14 classes plus “Best of Show” are honored in 3rd, 2nd and 1st place – allowing for a almost complete mix of all facets of motorcycle customizing from Old School to Streetfighter. Many bikes exhibited are presented only at Bike and Music Bikeshow – and entries are international too! To the surprise of the participants – very often its not the Harley-Davidson’s that make the top-honors! Exciting designs and excellent craftsmanship can be found in all classes! Sunday mornings trophy ceremony, combining the motorcycles and US-Cars last for about two hours and more, all vehicles are presented “live” on stage and receive trophy and some “fuel money”.
Dragracing is in the DNA of the “Knight Riders”, which also operates the “69 Time” Funny Car Dragster, always one of the highlights at the Dragster-Show at Bike and Music: Although the “Showmile” of Geiselwind is angled, uphill and challenging to master with 1000+ hp racers, teams arrive in numbers to test and check their cars and bikes for the upcoming Nitro OlympiX in Hockenheim. Add Jochen Reich’s Drift Show, French Jet Dragsters by Donald “Duckman” Pottier and Hervé Franquin, all held to the planned schedule of events, hot action was back at the 26th year! Even a spring in the middle of the track this year did not stop the event, neither did the climate/weather panic now spread by German news and media, switching from heat catastrophe to bible-like floods in less than a day, just as the weather changes from minute to minute. Only way out: switch off the BS, hit the saddle and ride! Feel the wind, hit the road, get wet in the rain! You ought to take a risk some times – and Bike and Music Weekend is certainly worth the way!
Text und Photos: Horst Roesler
Results & Winners
One of the main “Showparts” of Bike & Music Weekend, arguably the Shows with the most classes and chances to win a trophy in Europe, are the Custombike and US-Car Shows, both for some years under “covered” halls which are weatherproof in case of rain – and especially the Bikeshow hall decorated for a superb view on the custombikes and classic motorcycles exhibited. 14 classes plus special awards and a “Best of Show” grant a wide variety of excellent custombikes and often rare classics that can only be seen at Bike & Music Weekend. For the bike show team, it takes two days to decorate the show hall from “storage area” to “Bikeshow” mode, and some 10-15 Knight Riders operate the necessary machines, place and decorate the podiums. When the gates open, the bikes rush in and are placed – if possible in classes, but also to use the available space and have some reserve. No pre-registration is necessary, this is a pure “come in and show what you’ve built” type show, that always shows something new, innovative and surprising!
Of course, the 2023 saw lesser numbers than previous years, due to the weather forecasts that did not happen, but not in lesser quality, as the results show.
Again, “Best of Show” and “Streetfighter” trophy concentrated on one outstanding Streetfighter: René “Krawallrad” Lippmann’s Spondon GSXR Special Streetfighter was a hard to beat competitor, as he spent two years in building and homologation of the one-off Suzuki Supersport Fighter. Not the first time, Swiss top-shop “Motobene” arrived and scored with a superb “Café Racer” conversion, this one built by the shops apprentice – who modified last years Moto Guzzi 1000 tourer into a “Mooneyes” themed racer. The Ratbike Winner rolled in from as far a Luxembourg – with a completely new-built trailer behind his outstanding Evo-Harley. “Best Radical” went to a Suzuki Savage Sidecar conversion with the sidecar transporting a guitar case!
“Best Oldtimer” went to Thomas Niemann’s excellent restored 1948 Indian “Chief”, predecessors of todays “new” Indian. Fuchs Powerbikes from near Suhl just finished another super Evo-based custom for an exited client who was happy to receive the “Best V2 Harley-Davidson” trophy along with the keys to his cool custombike. Especially the “Sportster” and the “Buell” classes saw a massive competition of cool customs with the artistic “Cyber-Buell” of Hubert Schmiedt scoring top-class for Buell and Aron Zeise winning the “Sportster” trophy for his garage-built 1977 Ironhead. Another entry into the Sportster didn’t make it into the trophy range but sure should be mentioned: Last years “Touring” competitor, who lost his award due to riding back to Lithuania came back with another cool “Artbike” his 1997 “Sportster” has a “Lava” Artbike under the fur-cover of 8 authentic Beavers. Before anyone cry’s wolf, Beavers in Lithuania are not a protected species, rather seen as treated as a “pest” that is to be hunted and even on the menu of restaurants!
Sunday morning’s line-up of winners was cut shorter than usual due to light drizzle from the sky, yet again underlined the – still underestimated – quality of the “Bike and Music Weekend” Bikeshow: Every bike a interesting story. Handcrafted and individual. Be there to see it!