The 17th edition of European Bike Week® ended the European H-D® event season in spectacular style
Harley-Davidson®'s traditional end-of-year party once again provided a week of awesome entertainment and great riding in the beautiful Carinthian countryside. Alongside the regular spectacles that bikers from far and wide have come to know and love, there were some exciting additions to this year's programme.
Despite a somewhat changeable weather forecast, by Wednesday morning the worst of the weather had passed, allowing nearly 100,000 revellers to celebrate in time-honoured fashion.
From Tuesday to Saturday, the Main Stage and Choppers Bar hosted an array of fantastic musical acts, ranging from established favourites such as The Bogus Brothers, Katy Shotter and Jim Stapley, to exciting newcomers such as The Temperance Movement, who are currently touring with The Rolling Stones, and former World Superbike champion James Toseland, who has swapped his racing leathers for a microphone to pursue his primary passion: rock music. James also took the opportunity to test-ride a Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide® at the Demo Rides area, which was extremely busy all week. He said: "This is actually the first time I've ridden a bike since I was forced into retirement three years ago! I'd heard European Bike Week was cool, so I decided to come out early, and I've been absolutely blown away by it!"
As well as a selection of outstanding cover bands playing the hits of rock legends such as Queen, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, U2 and Aerosmith, there was plenty to entertain the masses after the Main Stage had concluded; as well as the late-night shows in Choppers Bar, there were nightly DJ sets in the Harley Bar by Frank & Fast from the Fun Lovin' Criminals. A very popular addition this year was Area 412, which replaced the Hot Dot Cafe, and offered food, drink and live music throughout the week.
All the while, an extended Dealer Mile and ever-popular Customiser Area offered shoppers a range of merchandise, and the bars and restaurants were packed with H-D enthusiasts old and new catching up with old friends and making new acquaintances. Further around the lake, the party atmosphere stretched for many miles through the campsite and trader area at Arneitz to the hotels and restaurants in Drobollach, as the whole area joined in Harley-Davidson's signature European end-of-season sign-off.
The Alpe Adria Chapter once again hosted a range of guided tours, with experienced road captains providing their expert knowledge to offer extensive ride-outs around the region's most spectacular motorcycling roads.
The H-D Central area in the hub of the Harley Village was a hive of activity all week; there was a wide selection of the latest H-D models for visitors to admire and sit astride, including the new Road Glide® Special and Street Glide® Special, as well as the new Street™ 750. Also in the Expo tent were experts from Harley-Davidson Authorized Tours, Rentals and Financial Services, the H.O.G. Customer Care Centre team, and an interactive display showcasing the power of the new H-D Daymaker headlamps.
On Friday, the Harley Village witnessed the triumphant return of the 'Discover More' motorcycle. After four and a half months on the road, travelling 20,000km through 32 countries, the Project RUSHMORE bike finished its epic journey at 1pm, rolling into the Harley Village to a rapturous reception.
H.O.G. member Claude Abry from Jordan rode the first leg of the tour in May, and travelled to Austria to ride the final leg said: “Everybody was waving, everybody was happy to see this bike. I would say this is a bike of legend. I am very proud of everyone involved.”
The focus then shifted to the Custom Bike Show. The usual venue in the Customiser Area had been flooded and was consequently unviable, but a swift change of venue allowed the show to go on in the car park of the adjacent Strandhotel. More than 70 custom creations were entered across 10 categories, and the Sportster® and Radical categories in particular attracted an incredible standard of entries. Two entries in the Radical category attracted a huge amount of attention, both coming all the way from Kuwait. Nedal Ameen's remarkable hubless machine was voted People's Choice, while Fawaz Alsalem was the judges' choice as Best In Show with an extreme stretch bagger forged from naked steel, with a rear hydraulic lift. Its 32" front wheel is the biggest seen to date, and it certainly turned some heads in Faak!
On Saturday morning, thousands of people wake up around Lake Faak with one thing on their mind: the Parade. With motorcycles lining up from 10am, by the time the Parade rolled off at midday, the line of bikes stretched back several kilometres. With the Discover More Jeep support vehicle being flanked by police outriders to guide the way, the line wound its way around the Carinthian countryside, and then through the town centre of Villach where thousands of locals came out in force to witness the unique sights and sounds of a Harley-Davidson Parade. Then it was off on the scenic route back to Faaker See, taking in picturesque scenery and terrific riding roads.
After the Parade, the final day of the festival offered the opportunity for one last night of partying, where lucky H.O.G. member Francesco Daveiro from Italy won a Harley-Davidson Street Bob® Special Edition in the bike prize draw. Huge crowds then gathered to party with the truly unique and inimitable Les Truttes as the curtain came down on another stellar year of H-D events in Europe.