2016 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering was small and intimate, just how it should be.

Quail Motorcycle Gathering

The Best In Show award went to a 1925 BMW R37, owned by Robert Talbott of California.

Photo by Dain Gingerelli

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Don’t believe what you hear — size doesn’t matter. The 8th Annual The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, held May 14, 2016, took in about 3,000 spectators who viewed approximately 400 motorcycles and bicycles (yep, bicycles), and nobody was disappointed with what they saw.

For comparison, the Barber Vintage Festival draws nearly 70,000 people. Yet the 3,000 attendees who paraded the green at The Quail enjoyed something special and intimate, at the end of the day watching Robert Talbott’s clean and precise 1925 BMW R37 roll away with Best of Show honors. Virgil Elings’ sexy 1964 MV August triple took Spirit of The Quail Award, and a bevy of other class awards were presented, too.

But even if there wasn’t a single award handed out at The Quail, everybody would go home happy because events like this showcase what we all hold dear to our hearts: classic motorcycles boasting a level of provenance not seen every day. The Quail is something special in another way, too — it’s become a happening of sorts for the motorcycle industry as a whole, as many of the movers and shakers within America’s motorcycle community are located within the Golden State, making it convenient for those heavy hitters to attend the one-day event. Think of it as a brief interlude for them to reaffirm their roots.

The roots run deep, and this year The Quail reminded everybody that our heritage includes 40 years of Superbike racing. Celebrating that fact was the sport’s first Superbike champ, Reg Pridmore, who won the first three Superbike championships (1976-1978) before retiring in 1979.

Cycle World magazine fans have extra motivation to put next year’s gathering on their calendar. My guess is that our friends and colleagues at Cycle World will have something special as part of their annual Cycle World Tour to The Quail each year. The magazine was first published by Joe Parkhurst in 1962, and if my math is correct, 2017 is their landmark 55th anniversary. Hey, they might even dust off a guy named Peter Egan and possibly a few other notable CW alumni for the occasion. There’s got to be some interesting war stories among them just waiting to be shared, and what better place than an event such as The Quail. See ya there. MC