The Quail Motorcycle Gathering: A Virgin Voyage

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

The concours on the green

I first heard of the Quail Motorcycle Gathering five or more years ago and always had an interest in checking out the concourse of rare motorcycles staged on a golf green near Carmel, CA. The event is known to bring out some of the rarest and most interesting motorcycles ever created for one day of appreciation at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, just a short ride inland from Monterey, CA, a place I had visited many times before during motorcycle races at Laguna Seca.

The moment we arrived on the grounds, as we snaked our way back to the green, it was sensory overload. The sights, the smells, and the atmosphere. Motorcycles being pushed and ridden into the event under the early morning overcast sky was enough to make even the uninformed motorcyclist drool. Machines spanning more than a century and manufactured from all corners of the world were on hand for our viewing pleasure. Between the motorcycles on display, interesting owners, and industry folks, it was hard to make it but a few feet without taking pictures or having a conversation.

At one point, I realized I was taking pictures of almost every motorcycle that I came across as I made my way slowly into the smorgasbord of unique machines.

The Quail also hosted a fair amount of vendors whose booths lined the perimeter of the show. Ducati was on site celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Monster with a themed booth highlighting the model’s variations through the past quarter century. Moto Guzzi was also on display with the new range of its V7 motorcycles as well as a showcase of custom-built V7s.

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, now in its tenth year, has experienced ups and downs in terms of attendance and entrants since its inception in 2008. According to the event’s PR company, there were more than 3,000 spectators and over 350 entrants to the show this year. Per’s previous year’s coverage, the show’s Event Director, Gordon McCall is just fine with the scale of the event and was quoted saying “We don’t need more bikes,” he says. “I want people to feel like they’re able to see everything.”

The 2018 Quail Motorcycle Gathering had 13 different classes in which motorcycles were judged and awarded as well as a handful of overall awards to highlight specific criteria. Below we’ve included photos of the top award winners, as well as a selection of interesting pics we were able to capture from the event.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to find the time to attend the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. I love the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding area, I love the various routes you can take to get there, and I love seeing unique or old motorcycles that remind us of how far motorcycling has come. Spending the day gawking at motorcycles such as the Best of Show-winning 1913 Flying Merkel made getting back on the 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 XCA that I had ridden up from Long Beach, CA an even more interesting experience. As I adjusted the suspension by toggling through the TFT display and made sure my heated grips and seat were turned off, it made me consider, will this bike be on a golf green 100 years from now, and what will the attendees be walking out to in the parking lot to ride home?

Best of Show
1913 Flying Merkel Twin
Douglas & Marian McKenzie – California
Antique Class

Spirit of the Quail Award
1920 Indian Streamliner
Clyde Crouch – Texas
Competition On Road Class

25th Anniversary of the Ducati Monster Award
2010 Ducati Monster
Isaac Villanueva – California

Café Racers Award
1961 BSA DBD-34 Gold Star
Craig Steggall – Washington

Electric Motorcycles Award
1974 Corbin Bonneville Partial Streamliner Salt Racer
Mike Corbin – California

Industry Award
1960 Harley-Davidson Super 10
Jackson Burrows – Canada
Custom/Modified Class

Innovation Award
2020 Curtiss Zeus
Curtiss Motorcycles – Alabama

Design and Style Award
1968 Ducati 250 Narrow Case
Analog Motorcycles – Illinois
Custom/Modified Class

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award
1971 Honda CT-70
Steve Mast – California
Japanese Class

HVA Preservation Award
1920 Indian Streamliner
Clyde Crouch – Texas
Competition On Road Class

Significance in Racing Award
1981 Freddie Spencer’s Factory Honda Racing NS-750 Flat Tracker
Anthony Giammanco – California
Competition Off Road Class

Why We Ride Award
1970 Indian Little Indian
Clive Belvoir – California
American Class 1936-1979

Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Award
1969 Lambretta Vega
Siobhan Ellis – California
Extraordinary Bicycles & Scooters Class

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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2 of 11 comments
  • Old MOron Old MOron on May 10, 2018

    Bwa-haha, is that John Burns on the left?
    Beard's a little thin, but the pants are about right:

  • TheMarvelous1310 TheMarvelous1310 on May 14, 2018

    Holy crap, Confederate died for that... Thing? That little box is what Curtiss came with, after killing the most innovative, provocative motorcycle maker of all time? Big thumbs down. Congratulations on the award though, I'm sure it's all very innovative.