Beaulieu’s popular Custom event, now in its fifth year, was held in the grounds of the National Motor Museum last weekend. Now with a new look and a new name, Custom and Hot Rod Festival, the event has expanded to include a custom motorcycle element as well as custom cars.  Despite some bad weather conditions in the run-up to the event, the weekend was fine and dry, Sunday being particularly warm.

Beaulieu Events Manager Judith Maddox said: “Weather conditions for the event set-up were very challenging, so we were delighted that the weather for the event itself was fine. The new style Custom Festival has been very well-received and it is a format we will be repeating for next year.”

The Custom Motorcycle Show, which was held for the first time in Bournemouth last year, moved to Beaulieu to join this year’s Festival weekend. Hundreds of world class custom motorcycles were on show including over 70 bikes entering the American Motorcycle Dealer (AMD) World Championship of Custom Bike Building. The show at Beaulieu is one of some 30 World Championship of Custom Bike Building official affiliate events held around the world.

The winner of the Best in Show at Beaulieu, Abnormalcycles from Italy, received expenses contributed by the show organisers, Ocean Events, to compete in the FreeStyle Class of the World Finals at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the US later this year with their bike Speed-Demon. Boccin Custom Cycles from Italy, winners of the Modified Harley-Davidson Class, also received expenses, sponsored by Harley-Davidson UK Ltd, to get them to the World Finals.

A number of trade stands including custom bike dealers, custom accessories and hard parts, plus the Vendors and Merchandise Village were open for business over the weekend, giving bikers the opportunity to snap up some great bargains.

Robin Bradley from the World Championship of Custom Bike Building said: “The standard of custom bikes seen at Beaulieu is the highest seen at any show in the UK for several years, suggesting that Beaulieu is a viable and popular venue for such an event.”

On Saturday a mixture of custom and hot rod bikes and vehicles took part in a Cruise-Out through the picturesque New Forest to Buckler’s Hard, on the banks of the Beaulieu River. Participants were given a unique opportunity to display their vehicles in the main street of the 18th century shipbuilding village and enjoyed music from country music band The Monuments, before cruising back to Beaulieu through more of the beautiful New Forest.

The Sunday Drive-In saw a colourful array of custom and hot rod vehicles motoring in to the attraction to create a stunning display on the Beaulieu Arena and surrounding parkland. It was a perfect setting for families celebrating Father’s Day with plenty for all the family to enjoy.  The event saw an increase in visitor numbers for the fourth year running with a total of 6,725 attending.

Adding to the festival atmosphere, 60s surf style tribute band Beach Boys Smile, and rock and rollers, Carmen Ghia & the Hot Rods, played live music sets throughout the day, with strolling players, Mariachi El Mexicano, providing lively musical entertainment as they moved around the attraction. Visitors also enjoyed free dodgem rides as well as an opportunity to see all Beaulieu’s other attractions, including the museum’s latest exhibition, BOND IN MOTION.

An awards ceremony took place on the Beaulieu Arena, with Lord Montagu presenting a Beaulieu Trophy to the winner of each category. Stephen Broadrib from Brighton received the Best Visitor Chopper award for his 1970’s Triumph Chopper which he originally bought in 1975 for just £350. The Best Hot Rod went to Russell Cook from Boston, Lincolnshire and his 1930 Ford Model A with a 1958 Chrysler Hemi, and Chris Burroughs from Hayling won Best Custom with his black 1952 Ford Victoria. The winner of the People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Willy Dog Trailers and chosen by visitors attending the Sunday event, was a Cadillac Camper Conversion with eye-catching Dinoco graphics, owned by Sam Hard from Fareham, who had only acquired the vehicle three weeks before. The final award, the overall Best in Show, was awarded to Teri Smith and his son Mark from Christchurch, who brought along a cream 1950 Mercury lead-sled for its first show appearance.

The new-style Festival, with the new Custom Motorcycle element, will be returning next year. The 2013 Custom and Hot Rod Festival is set to take place on 15th & 16th June.

Custom Car Magazine supported the 2012 Custom and Hot Rod Festival