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Fifth Annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering


A pair of Ducatis lounge on the green at the fifth annual The Quail Motorcycle Gathering held May 4, 2013. 

Photo By Margie Siegal 

Quail Motorcycle Gathering

This is a motorcycle event? I’m sitting at a white tablecloth-covered table, eating lunch prepared by three-star chefs and served on heavy china plates with actual silverware as well-trained wait staff hover from a polite distance, waiting to take plates the moment they are emptied. Sharing the table are two executives from nearby Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “This is so different from the car show they have here,” one says. “The car show people come to see and be seen,” he further observes. “The people here are enthusiasts.”

This was the fifth annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering at Quail Lodge, a resort and golf course just a few miles inland from Monterey, Calif. Echoing its tony location, it’s a first class event for first class motorcycles. Two thousand enthusiasts turned up to admire 180 vintage and custom motorcycles arrayed on the putting green and meet up with fellow vintage bike nuts from around the world. The day before, 100 show bikes participated in a 100-mile scenic loop of the Monterey area, with parade laps of Laguna Seca. The ride adds points in the concours competition, and entrants interested in taking home one of the very special trophies (including Tudor Swiss watches) made a point to show up with riding gear.

The ever-present California coast fog burned off early, and a gentle sun shone on bikes as diverse as a 125cc Harley 2-stroke, a Brough Superior sidecar outfit and a hand-built custom from Japan that looked like liquid mercury. Tents ringed the putting green, showcasing organizations including the BSA Owners Club, the Yerba Buena chapter of the AMCA and new motorcycle manufacturer AVA Velocity Works, who debuted their Adrian Van Anz-designed 250 Swift.

Private museums and well-known collectors, including the Petersen Automotive Museum and Japanese bike collector Zeki Abed, had displays of bikes with their own viewing areas. A special display of flat track bikes new and old took center stage, with the Camel Pro trailer that used to turn up at flat track events as its backdrop. “The Vintagent” Paul d’Orleans interviewed Mert Lawwill, Wayne Rainey and Kenny Roberts, and Rainey’s 1991 Yamaha YZR 500 V4 500cc, a gift given to him by Yamaha, took home the top honor of “Best of Show.” MC 

 Quail Motorcycle Gathering 

Randall Grubb's "Decoson" hides a 1984 Harley-Davidson Sportster. 

Photo By Tod Rafferty