Words by Scott Hopkin | Photography by Ian Davidson
The dust has settled for another year on the third Machine Show based in Braidwood, NSW, Australia. The show features a Bike Build competition every year, where dedicated motorcycle builders build unique pre-1989 bikes specifically for the show. This year they had 36 entries of all different styles and marques – from choppers to café racers and everything in between. One of the stand-out builds was this Supercharged SR400 tracker by Keeley Pritchard. As soon as we saw the 1986 SR400, we knew a lot of blood, sweat and tears had gone into the bike, but didn’t realise how young the builder was. Keeley is a 22-year-old motorbike mechanic from Sydney’s Northern Beaches who works for a garage called Surfside Motorcycles. In the lead up to the show, when everyone had gone home and his boss had turned off the lights, he turned them back on and worked well into the night bringing his creation to life.
“Art” is a word thrown around in the presence of many a creative human endeavour. Which is all good and well if your area of interest is music, painting and the like. And that’s because those particular means of expression require you to start with nothing before you have something. But when it comes to custom motorcycles, this is all flipped on its head. Why, you ask? It’s because 99% of all custom bike builds start with a factory-finished product that is subtracted from and tweaked until what’s left is deemed “finished.” But not this bike. This bike has been hewn from raw materials the way an alchemist might create precious metals from base elements. This is the latest bike from Los Angeles’ Hazan Motorworks. This is art.
Isolation does strange things to people. Think about Jack Nicholson in The Shining or the UNAbomber. Leave a man all alone with nothing else but his thoughts and the wilderness and you’re bound to end up with your own little Apocalypse Now of one kind or another. But what if you could channel all that craziness and obsession into something constructive? Like, say… a motorbike. What do you think a man could achieve then? Whatever it would be, you can bet it’d be original, fast, and just a little bit crazy. My fellow Pipeburnians, meet Finnlandian Janne Leiman and his Jawa 500 from Mänttä, which roughly translates to “Twin Peaks” in English. No, really.
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