Motorcycle.com

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 6 included more than 350 drool-worthy vintage and custom motorcycles, from Italian tiddlers to full-on race bikes, arrayed on the green grasses of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California. All this eye candy was fawned over by around 3,000 people – record attendance for the nine-year-old event. It was enough to warm the heart of any gearhead.

This year’s Quail centered around one of the most influential bikes in history: the Norton Commando of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Almost every model and color was there, causing a near state of weepiness on the part of riders of a certain generation.

Norton unveiled the Commando at the lavish ’67 Earls Court Show in London. It was an immediate hit thanks to its “Isolastic” frame system that softened the paint-shaker tendencies characteristic of old parallel-Twins. Over the next decade more than 50,000 were sold. And for many, the Norton Girls ad campaign was even more memorable than the bikes, with scantily clad models draped across the bikes.

The event also honored two-time AMA Grand National Champion and three-time World 500cc Grand Prix Champion Kenny Roberts as this year’s Legend of the Sport.

“Getting Kenny here was a personal coup,” says event director Gordon McCall, who also runs the Motorworks Revival and is a class judge at the Pebble Beach Concours. “He doesn’t really go for the grand master thing, so it’s cool that he accepted.

The Quail weekend began with the Quail Ride on Friday, including a stop at a local winery and a visit to the nearby Moto Talbott vintage motorcycle museum.

Sneak Peek: Robb Talbott’s Moto Museum

Saturday included a ride around the surrounding area as well as the lovely display of amazing motorcycles at the Quail Lodge. Some may carp about the $95 cost of entry for the show, but it does include a lot: a full lunch, live music, kids area, and parking. By the end of the day, you actually feel like you get a fair amount for your money.

Will this event – now considered one of the premier vintage shows in the country – continue to grow? Maybe not, but that’s by design. McCall says he’s happy with the size of the Quail just as it is. (The number of bikes on display actually went down, from 400 to 350.)

“We don’t need more bikes,” he says. “I want people to feel like they’re able to see everything.”

We tried. And we had fun doing it. Here are the category winners.


Best of Show, First Place Competition On-Road
1957 Mondial 250 Grand Prix Double Overhead Cam
John Goldman – California


Antiques
1918 BSA Model H
Bud Schwab – California


American
1937 Indian Chief
Kalle Hoffman – California


British
1939 Brough Superior SS100
William E. “Chip” Connor – Hong Kong


Italian
1959 Moto Parilla 99 Olimpia
Vincent Schardt – California


Japanese
1976 Yamaha XT500C
Owen Bishop – California


Other European
1976 Hercules W2000 Wankel
Stephan Haddad – California


Competition Off Road
1975 Husqvarna 360 Flat Tracker
Clyde Williams – California


Custom/Modified
1958 Triumph Tiger
Bryan Thompson – California


Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter
1971 NYPD Lambretta LI150 Special
Siobhan Ellis – California


AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award
1983 Honda Factory RS 750 Flat Tracker
Anthony Giammanco – California


Significance in Racing Award
1995 Britten V1000 #10
Virgil Elings – California


The Cycle World Tour Award
1980 Suzuki GS1000S
Trevor Franklin – British Columbia


Historic Vehicle Association Preservation Award
1942 Indian Pre-War Big Base Scout
Gary Landeen – South Dakota


Design and Style Award
1975 Moto Guzzi 850T
Untitled Motorcycles – California


Innovation Award
1991 BMW Alpha
Mark Atkinson – Utah


Industry Award
2015 Prototype Fuller Moto Motus Naked
John Bennet – California

Fuller Custom Motus Dyno Run


50th Anniversary of the Norton Commando
1968 Norton Fastback
Jeff McCoy – California


Spirit of The Quail Award
1948 Triumph T100 Tiger
Jonnie Green – California


Morning prep; placing a Moto Guzzi custom into its proper place.

Polishing a beautiful Vincent.

Where should I put my Honda CBX custom?

Quail founder Gordon McCall with Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan.

Many of the featured Nortons were highly polished gems.

A well-worn Norton Commando.

The infamous Yamaha TZ750 flat tracker ridden by Legend of the Sport Kenny Roberts, with original owner, Ray Abrams of A&A Racing.

Mert Lawwill, Grand National Champion and star of the film, “On Any Sunday,” builds prosthetic limbs designed for motorcycling.

The monstrous powerplant of the Yamaha TZ750 flat tracker, which prompted King Kenny Roberts to say, “They don’t pay me enough to ride this thing,” after winning the Indy Mile.

A pair of the original Honda Africa Twins, designed to win the grueling Dakar endurance race.

A Yamaha XS650-based flat tracker, complete with psychedelic 1970s paintwork.

Replica of multi-time Grand National Champion Ricky Graham’s Honda RS750.

Fire up your race bike and draw an instant crowd.

Innovation Award winner: somewhere in this exotic machine is a BMW K75 powertrain.

Robb Talbott, founder of the world famous MotoTalbott museum in nearby Carmel Valley, on his MV Agusta 750S.

A covey of Quail judges scrutinizing an Indian Chief.

1936 Vincent HRD Comet.

The bike that Kenny built. The Proton was Roberts’ foray into being a MotoGP team owner and bike builder. This one was set up for his son Kurtis.

We have seen the future of motorcycle lighting, and it is LEDs.

Twin twins: a BSA dual-engine drag bike.

Classic BMWs always attract a strong following.

Macro photography of a Honda Benly badge.

Indian in blue.

Always cool… scrambler pipes.

Cooler still… Ariel fishtails.

Vintage drivetrain with exposed everything.

Beauties and a beast.

Kawasaki H2 750 triple, running a tad rich on two-stroke oil. No more worries about mosquitoes in the area.

This exquisite example of a CZ twin-pipe is owned by former MX World Champion Brad Lackey.

Honda CX500-based flat tracker: This engine always offered intake routing challenges. Here’s a somewhat bizarre solution.

With the judges tag in place on the front forks, this owner is on his way to the podium.

A spectacular set of titanium pipes on a custom Honda CBX.