Judges & Fan Vote Names NASA Engineer, OSHA Safety Inspector, and a Mining Equipment Engineer as Three Finalists who Will Put Their Skills to the Test in Amateur Build Off Competition
MINNEAPOLIS (April 24, 2018) – Indian Motorcycle today announced the three finalists for The Wrench: Scout Bobber Build Off, a custom motorcycle competition that spotlights amateurs who build bikes purely for the love of turning a wrench. A judging panel of professional builders and experts, including Roland Sands, Satya Kraus, Jason Paul Michaels and Hot Bike Editor-in-Chief, Jordan Mastagni along with an online fan vote, selected Alfredo Juarez, PJ Grakauskas and Christian Newman as the top three entrants. The three selected finalists will face off in a custom-build battle for a grand prize of $10,000 and a feature spread in Hot Bike Magazine.
From March 15-30, hopefuls from across the nation entered for the chance to win a new 2018 Indian Scout Bobber and a budget of $10,000 to design and customize the stock bike. From over 100 submissions, 12 top designs were showcased online and available for fan voting until April 19. Juarez, Grakauskas, and Newman, who received the three highest vote counts, each come from distinctly unique backgrounds and offer concepts that are as equally diverse.
Christian Newman – Age 36 | Buffalo, NY
Newman, a mechanical engineer of mining equipment from upstate New York, is an incredibly creative amateur builder who shook up the chopper scene with his recent build of a 1940 V-twin fabricated almost entirely out of stainless steel. Newman will be building a swingarm-chopper-style Scout Bobber with old-school custom components, including a Crazy Frank fender and raw metal fabrication. Newman uses many old-world techniques which are more painstaking than most modern methods but require a more intensive attention to detail and higher level of craftsmanship.
“I’m excited to take a modern Indian motorcycle and infuse it with an 80’s chopper aesthetic,” said Newman. “I love that Indian is doing a 180 with this contest and shining a light on the guys that build for nothing more than the love of creating something totally personal and totally unique.”
The devil is often in the details when you look at a bike Christian has built, and it’s all details. Spending his days engineering mining equipment, he has access to a huge variety of tools and the expertise to use them. While a couple of the bikes he’s built in the past have seen some media attention, he fits the spirit of this competition to the T. He wants to utilize the Scout Bobber’s dynamic chassis with some old-school custom components and raw metal fabrication.
PJ Grakauskas – Age 39 | Avon, OH
Grakauskas is a family man from Ohio working as a safety inspector for OSHA, but it’s inside the shed in his backyard where his real passions are fed. With several polished and refined café racers under his belt, the Scout Bobber will be a totally unique platform for Grakauskas, but one he has been dreaming of building for quite a while. Inspired by his love for road racing, Grakauskas is building a full-fairing café racer with race-inspired brakes and suspension, as well as taking additional measures to increase the stock engine’s output. Grakauskas’ drawing looked good, but he promises it’ll be nothing compared to the finished product.
“I’m looking forward to creating a bike that expresses my passion and love of all things moto and paying homage to those who paved the way for what custom motorcycle culture is today,” said Grakauskas. “I couldn’t be more grateful or humbled to be chosen to build for a company with as much history as Indian.”
As a family man from Ohio, PJ splits his time between work, his kids, and his 10×12 shed in the backyard. While all of his neighbors know he’s the guy to go to with your internal combustion problems, he’s been dreaming of the opportunity for a personal project like this for ages. For his build, PJ wants to build a race-inspired full-fairing Scout Bobber—making almost every component by hand, in-house.
Alfredo Juarez – Age 34 | Las Cruces, NM
Juarez is a NASA engineer based in Las Cruces, N.M. He started wrenching at the age of 12, but his fabrication journey began in college, building bikes and hot rods for his friends, and making all of the tools and tables he needed to do the job right. Spending his work days building things like flammability testing chambers makes the complex designs and ideas he submitted seem simple to him. When developing his concept for the competition, he visited an Indian Motorcycle dealership with an engineer’s scale and was able to glean all the necessary measurements to design his draft perfectly to scale—including his proposed rake, trail wheelbase and seat height within his entry. While his design concept is incredibly ambitious within the short timeline, Juarez has built frames in a matter of weeks and is confident he’ll can produce an incredible rigid Scout Bobber on deadline.
“I’m very blessed to have this opportunity put before me, and I’d like to express my appreciation and gratitude to Indian Motorcycle for including me in such a unique competition,” said Juarez. “After all the hours I’ve spent working on bikes over the years, it’s amazing to be recognized with something like this contest.”
The three custom Scout Bobbers will be unveiled on August 5th at the Buffalo Chip during the historic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The public unveil will trigger a second fan voting process, which will determine the grand prize winner. The winner will be announced two weeks later and will receive a $10,000 grand prize along with a feature spread in Hot Bike magazine.
Alfredo has had a passion for motorcycles and their inner workings his entire life. Always tinkering and welding, he bought a MIG welder in college and started building his own tools and experimenting with metal fabrication. Now as a Mechanical Engineer for NASA, he continues to build custom motorcycles and tinker on his projects as a pastime and form of expression. Alfredo’s expertise is used on some of the most advanced projects in the world, and he wants to try his hand at a Scout Bobber.
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