The Monterey Peninsula is home to the finest events in automotive sports and culture. The biggest attractions, the Quail Motorsports Gathering, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Historic Racing at Laguna Seca during Classic Car Week in August, are world renowned.
We motorcyclists have a history and cultural heritage on par with the cars and, now, a correspondingly classy event to celebrate them. The Quail Motorcycle Gathering at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, now in its fourth year, is to riders what Car Week is to drivers. And it’s happening soon – Saturday, May 5.
The vision of motorsports-event guru Gordon McCall, the Quail Motorcycle Gathering has a flavor all its own, even as it draws on the experience of the older and more famous Quail Motorsports Gathering in August. Yes, the manicured grass, white picket fences and medieval tents are there to frame the classic and modern motorcycles on the clubhouse lawn under the giant Rolex clock. Cycle World, a supporter of the Quail since its inception, will step up again this year as editors Mark Hoyer and Kevin Cameron present the Cycle World Trophy for Elegance in Action. It’s all part of the uniqueness of the the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, where the atmosphere promotes the simple enjoyment of, and a shared appreciation for motorcycles, old and new.
This year’s featured marque in the Evolution-of-the Motorcycle theme is the Indian, which arrived 100 years ago and still re-emerges in retro form from time to time – truly an evolutionary phenomenon. Are you an aficionado of Italian motorcycles or an admirer of Italian design? Either way, Michigan collector Gary Kohs’ 32 (thirty-two!) classic MV Agustas on the lawn are bound to please. Mr. Giovanni Magni, former director of MV Agusta Racing in the ’70s, will represent in person his line of custom-built Magni motorcycles, most of which seem invariably destined to become classics. Ducati corporate will be there, too, with their newest models on display. If your taste runs more to British icons, the 1948 Vincent “Blue Bike” that set world speed records at Bonneville in the ’50s will be there, along with the man who rode it, Marty Dickerson.
Innovation is a key ingredient in evolution, and will be showcased by an unusual concept that approaches a recumbent motorcycle. Called the Alligator by its designer, Dan Gurney, it attracted considerable interest in the previous decade and enjoyed a limited-production run of 36, all now collector’s items with several to be on display.
A new class has been added this year – Superbikes – showing that the Quail is all about the ‘motorcycle’ writ large, from the vintage to the classic, the off-beat to the current. As Gordon McCall put it recently, “Motorcycling is variety, a mix in people and in machines with camaraderie as the glue that bonds it together.”
Saturday’s Gathering will be preceded by Friday’s Quail Ride – 100 miles through the Monterey countryside. It’s an all-day event, including an amazing lunch and parade laps at Mazda Raceway. Limited to 75 riders, there are still a few spots open.
The Quail Motorcycle Gathering begins at 10 am. The traditional gourmet lunch on the green is included along with live music and a chance to talk with some of the great personalities in motorcycling – legendary racers, technical innovators, custom builders and bike lovers like yourself, from all over.
There’s one difference that sets the Quail’s Motorcycle Gathering apart from the events of Car Week, where the price of tickets and the cost of a room are in the clouds. It’s still only $65 for admission ($15 for kids) with lunch and convenient on-the-grass parking included. That’s class, too.