A 1913 Flying Merkel Twin won Best of Show at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, held May 5 at The Quail Lodge in Monterey, California. Wearing the famous orange livery for which Merkels are known, the 1913 twin belonging to Douglas and Marian McKenzie was a standout among the 350 spectacular machines on display for the 10th anniversary of what’s become the most prestigious vintage motorcycle event in the U.S.
The Quail showcases some of the most beautiful and historically important motorcycles ever to roll on two wheels, but it’s not just about vintage bikes. 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. The selection of machines on display was truly eclectic, including rotary-powered bikes from Hercules, Norton and Suzuki, with two perfectly preserved RE5s on hand. The Japanese presence was strong, as was, predictably, the English, with at least a half dozen Vincents lined up on the British section of the lawn.
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 H-D roots barely discernible after having been transformed into a piece of two-wheeled art.
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. 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. MC
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