The Quail Motorcycle Gathering 2018

Reader Contribution by Richard Backus
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Best of Show winner, Douglas and Marian McKenzie’s 1913 Flying Merkel Twin.

Douglas and Marian McKenzie’s 1913 Flying Merkel Twin — which the McKenzies owned previously before buying it back a few years ago — took Best of Show at this year’s The Quail Motorcycle Gathering at The Quail Lodge in Monterey, California, on Saturday, May 5. Wearing the famous orange livery for which Merkels are known, the 1913 twin was a standout among the 350 spectacular machines gracing The Quail Lodge’s manicured lawn for the 10th anniversary of what’s become the most prestigious vintage motorcycle event in the U.S.

As we’ve come to expect, The Quail showcases some of the most beautiful and historically important motorcycles ever to roll on two wheels, including models from Vincent, Honda, Harley-Davidson, MV Agusta and more. And it’s not just about vintage bikes, either. This year’s four featured classes included bikes from the private collection of famed builder Arlen Ness, electric motorcycles, vintage and contemporary café racers, and a special nod to the Ducati Monster, now celebrating its 25th year of production.

Spectacular Harley-Davidson custom from famed builder Arlen Ness.

The selection of machines on display was truly eclectic, including a selection of rotary-powered bikes from Hercules, Norton (including an F1 and a Classic) and Suzuki, with two perfectly preserved RE5s on hand. The selection of Japanese machines was strong, as were, predictably, machines from England, with at least a half dozen Vincents lined up on the British section of the lawn. This year’s Innovation Award went to Curtiss, formerly Confederate Cycles, which displayed its planned electric-powered 2020 Curtiss Zeus. Looking like something out of Tron, the Curtiss Zeus is an interesting take on the possible future for limited production, high-performance electric motorcycles.

The annual Design and Style Award went to Tony Prust and Analog Motorcycles for Tony’s spectacular 1968 Ducati 250 custom, while Jackson Burrows nabbed the Industry Award for his incredible 1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10, its pedestrian 2-stroke HD roots barely discernible after having been transformed into a piece of two-wheeled art.

Lee Hoffseth took second in the Italian category for his perfectly running 1974 MV Agusta 750S, which he’s owned since new.

Clyde Crouch won both the Spirit of the Quail Award and HVA Preservation Award for his 1920 ex-Burt Munro streamliner, made famous in the 2005 movie The World’s Fastest Indian, and Siobhan Ellis — dressed in a period Star Trek-inspired outfit — took the Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award for a 1969 Lambretta Vega. A futuristically styled scooter that flopped on the market, only a few hundred Vegas were made and even fewer survive. And Honda’s little CT70, beloved by young aspiring riders across the U.S. back in the day, got its just due, Steve Mast’s perfect 1971 model taking the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award.

An estimated 3,000-plus enthusiasts made the trek for the annual event, which also included a special Friday ride to Laguna Seca for a lap of the track for those lucky enough to sign up in time. Amazing motorcycles and a beautiful location, it really doesn’t get much better than this. The 2019 event is scheduled for May 4, 2019. More info at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering events page. — Richard Backus

Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles won the Design and Style Award for his 1968 Ducati 250 custom.

Siobhan Ellis nabbed the Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award for this 1969 Lambretta Vega. Nice Star Trek getup.

Jackson Burrows and his heavily customized 1960 HD Super 10, which took this year’s Industry Award.

Dunstall Norton Commando 810.

Fantastic 1958 Ariel Square Four.

Contrast; a restored and a barn-find MV Agusta single.

Two Hercules rotaries front a Norton F1 and Classic rotary and a pair of Suzuki RE5 rotaries.

Buell enthusiast Brian Schindler brought a pair of Buells, including this 1995 S-2 with 79,000 miles on the clock.

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