Bangkok, Thailand - The Bangkok Motorbike Festival has just returned for its 12th edition and once again CentralWorld, the mega mall located smack in the heart of Bangkok’s city centre, was chosen as the venue for this ‘bike show’ that aims to bring two wheels to the people.
This “Festival” is unique in that it’s laid out around a mall – both inside and out – meaning it makes a great connection not just with the local population, but also the many tourists passing through. And it’s not any old mall in a city that has dozens of them, CentralWorld is one of the biggest and flashiest of Bangkok’s shopping experiences with a huge footfall coming through its many big glass doors every day.
The Festival’s main hub of activities though is 8,000 square metre sprawling deck, “Central World Square”, which chases up the side of the mall, with a thriving mix of stages, booths, shows and bike focused activities that run non-stop through the five-day duration of the event.
Meanwhile, inside the mall itself, official booths from many leading bike manufacturers, this year including Kawasaki, Triumph, Yamaha, Harley Davidson, MV Agusta, Ducati, Royal Enfield and BMW, are sandwiched in between the mall’s vast portfolio of designer name shops. In total there are 500 stores in this complex. There’s also a swathe of booths shifting accessories including helmets, leathers and other motorcycle apparel.
Probably the biggest draw though is the custom bike show which features several dozen ornate and spectacular bikes which are uniquely customised, each one individual to the next and each one well worth admiring. It means the custom show sees big crowds that peruse the booths, one after another, drawing on their phones to snap the bikes one by one, as no two are even somewhat similar.
This year the organisers’ invited a dozen famous names from the world of custom biking, creating an esteemed panel to judge the competition. Two thirds of them were from the vibrant Japanese scene, namely Kengo Kimura, Masao Inoue, Daisuke Mukasa, Munehito “Ume” Tokunaga, Satoru Ise, Masaru Sawada, James Sekijima and Masaya “Zensui” Narita, while there was also Winston Yeh from Taiwan, Asep Ahmad, the founder of “Art of Speed” in Malaysia, Marlon Slack from Australia and finally David Chang from the United States.
The trade show village includes PTT Lubricants, Brembo, Nexzter, Big Boy, Aspira, Continental, Y.S.S., Repsol, EBC Brakes and Ohlins. In an extra bonus, vendors report that being right on Bangkok’s well beaten tourist trail means they grab extras sales from visitors taking their purchases back overseas.
There’s also plenty bike parking on the deck too, which allows visiting bikers to literally ride straight into the show and feel the inclusivity of this concept as the bike park is also a draw with the fans.
Following the conclusion of the late Wednesday afternoon “Opening Ceremony”, a busy first day was capped off by the annual R2M Gala. This glittering evening event handed out trophies to the winners from last year’s “R2M Thailand SuperBikes Championship” which is based at the 2.5-km, three-decade-old Thailand Circuit in Nakhon Chaisri district 50km to the west of Bangkok.
The evergreen R2M championship is a traditional breeding ground for the two-wheel stars of the future and the latest talents of the next generation, together with the experienced amateurs and professionals that underpin this series, mix it up together.
The awards night was introduced by Mr. Thongchai Wongsawan, President of the Federation of the Motor Sports Clubs of Thailand, and Mr. Kraitos Wongsawan, while the trophies were dished out to the deserved winners by a pair of Thai motorcycle racing legends, Suhathai Chaemsap and Sumate Lertweeratnontarat.