(Photos courtesy of Progressive International Motorcycle Shows)

The 2019-2020 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show tour got off to a roaring start as 52 custom motorcycles battled for best of show honors inside the Long Beach Convention Center during the Progressive International Motorcycle Show. This year’s contest features fewer classes and categories are more wide open. This resulted in a diverse showing in Long Beach, from dynamic FXRs to shiny Vicla cruisers to high-necked choppers and scrambler-style UJMs.

“Entries for Round One of this year’s series are fire!” said Countersteer’s Pat Garvin, who witnessed the spectacle first-hand.

Anthony Robinson of Gasoline & Coffee Speed Shop won top honors in the coveted Freestyle class for his immaculate 1973 Ironhead chopper. From its seamlessly molded gas tank to its double wishbone frame to the engraving on its highly polished engine, Robinson’s tidy chopper is cool as the other side of the pillow. The classy chopper earned Robinson a healthy $1,500 payday for winning first place in Long Beach’s Freestyle class.

It was a good thing Robinson brought his A-game because Niki Smart’s modern interpretation of a boardtracker, runner-up in the Freestyle class, was stunning. While the engine came from a 1980 Honda XL500, just about everything else is custom made, from the 4130 chromoly frame to the Hossack-style fork to the handbuilt 26” wheels with carbon fiber spokes. The gas tanks are split and the inside of each half has been hollowed out creating a space for the front shock, a compact 6V battery, and the regulator, rectifier, and electrical loom.

1st Place Custom Classic - John Jessup 1984 FXRDG

In the Custom Classic class, John Jessup of Team Dream Rides won first place for his 1984 FXRDG. While he kept the FXR frame, he swapped out the stock carb-fed Evo for a fuel-injected Twin Cam. He added a steering damper on the front and Beringer brakes to his rocking FXR, clear indicators that this bike was built to ride fast and hard. The frame-up custom build helped Jessup ride away from Long Beach with an extra $500 in his pocket for winning the Custom Classic class.

Custom Classic Runner-Up - Ava Wolff 1984 Yamaha XT600

Ava Wolff of Gray Wolff Motors was the Custom Classic runner-up for her 1984 Yamaha XT600. Wolff’s Yamaha scrambler features a gas tank from a 1979 Yamaha XS750, a custom fabricated seat pan and subframe and a rebuilt engine with an extended exhaust. Mike Learn laid down the classic paint on the tank and headlight housing.

“It was a dream of mine to be in the @motorcycleshows with my own build and an unbelievable honor to go home with a plaque. I still haven’t stopped smiling,” Wolff posted @motowolff.

1st Place Custom Street - Dana Buch 2006 Yamaha Custom Flat Tracker 

Meanwhile, Dana Buch rode away with first place in the Custom Street class for his Screamer Motor Works’ 2006 Yamaha custom flat tracker. The dirt demon features a 4130 chromoly frame built by C&J Racing Frames and a 485cc two-stroke inline twin-cylinder engine with Wiseco custom forged aluminum pistons. It has a “Champion” style fuel tank and rear fender/seat along with 19” BST carbon fiber flat track wheels. The classic Yamaha yellow and black paint job screams TZ750, and the sum of its parts earned Buch a cool $500 as the winner of the Custom Street Class.

Custom Street Runner-Up - Mike T. Harley-Davidson Rocker 

Mike T. of Dirtbags California received runner-up Custom Street accolades for his custom Harley-Davidson Rocker. Mike T. injected a bit of nastiness into a subdued stock Rocker by slamming it to the ground, adding an open-belt primary, and a wicked Legends exhaust to the Screamin’ Eagle 110 engine. A bottle of nitrous mounted on the left-side was the icing on the cake of its newfound ill disposition.

The final big winner of the Long Beach show was Krystal Hess and Motorcycle Missions who won the People’s Choice award for their 1972 Honda CL350. Motorcycle Missions is a non-profit organization that helps veterans and first responders with PTSD “find hope and healing through motorcycle therapy.” That therapy includes building custom motorcycles. The 1972 Honda CL350 was assembled by the first all-female crew of US veterans.

People's Choice Winner Long Beach - Motorcycle Missions 1972 Honda CL350

The next J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show fires up this weekend in New York at the second Progressive International Motorcycle Show inside the Javits Center.