We continue with the second part of the series of videos about the best Bike Show with which Lord Drake Kustoms has won awards at the most prestigious Bike Shows around the world. If you missed the first video, you can watch it here.
Fran Manen tells us how his life changed when he won the legendary Daytona Bike Week and the Rat’s Hole, as well as his many world championships in Europe until he became the world’s runner-up.
Daytona Bike Show
There was a moment when even my wife said to me: “You have to see, with what you like motorcycles, what you had before in Spain that you had to sell it to make your dream come true and now, that you are all day making motorcycles here… and you really don’t have a bike of your own“. And I said, “Well, it’s true.” So I decided to built a bike in Miami to bring it to Spain and have it for my holidays.
And as the bike was taking shape, the customers that were coming started to tell me, “Hey Ali, why don’t you take the bike to the Daytona Bike Show at Daytona Bike Week?“ And I was like, “Don’t tell me that because… I’m gonna make a fool of myself there…” But such was the insistence that I ended up agreeing to take the bike I was working on for myself.
The day of the Bike Show in Daytona arrived, I took my bike and I registered it in the Cafe Racer category. It was a Harley Davidson Dyna, which I turned into Cafe Racer. Maybe it was the first Cafe Racer Dyna ever made in the world. I introduced it and I spent the rest of the show riding around, taking pictures and hallucinating with the works that were there. I had always dreamed of visiting the Daytona Bike Show, even as a tourist.
And a while later, my friends and my wife began to call me… “Hey Ali, come here, a journalist wants to talk about this bike”.
So the afternoon arrived and the awards ceremony and my surprise is that when they are going to give the winner of the Cafe Racer category, they announce that the winner is Lord Drake Kustoms and Francisco Alí Manén with the Cafe Racer that he had presented.
Probably… it’s one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.
Winning that prize meant, not the implicit economic remuneration, but the great promotion that it meant… I won the lottery and it changed my life.
Because, for example, two hours after the award ceremony, I was surrounded by journalists, taking photos and recording my bike. But I was press from the biggest elite of the world… from Japan, from the USA… To the point that after that show, journalists from Germany, from Australia, from Japan came to see me in Miami… to report on that bike.
What did I get out of it? My name, which was already working quite well in Miami, was launched to the rest of the world. It changed everything and I realized from that day that that bike, without waiting, was a winning bike.
I automatically put that bike in a trailer and, from that same event, they didn’t stop inviting me to other Bike Shows that were held in Florida and other places. I practically spent two months traveling around the USA, presenting the bike and winning prizes in the biggest motorcycle rallies and bike shows in the USA.
Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show
Two months later, another edition of Rat’s Hole, the famous American Discovery Channel Rat’s Bike Show, came to Leesburg.
And I was back with the Red Baron and a Triumph Bonneville. I presented myself to the Cafe Racer category and in that prestigious Bike Show I was again, this time not champion, but I was champion and runner-up in the same category. That is, both my bikes did a double.
The European tour
Some time later, due to the success I already had in the USA, people asked me for motorcycles, they asked me for motorcycles from almost all over the world.
It was then that I decided to open my workshop in Malaga, in Velez Malaga, my hometown. And once I worked again in Spain, I started to participate in Bike Shows at a European level.
And that same year I travelled to Saint Tropez (France), to the Harley Davidson Eurofestival, where I came second in Europe.
And so, from 2014 to 2019 and until 2020 I have achieved, among many other awards, to be four times European champion, customizing Harley Davidson and four times runner-up in Europe, also customizing Harley Davidson.
In 2016, I participated for the first time in the World Championship, which this time was held in Germany. I finished fifth in the world. And in 2019, I went back to this same World Championship and became a runner-up.
In Japan, for example, I was named one of the top ten Harley Davidson-based scrambler manufacturers in the world in 2015-2016. That included me in the Top Ten with my big TV idols in this kind of customization. And well, and as a result, I can tell you that I have more than twenty international awards and recognitions.
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