Quail Motorcycle Gathering Photo Gallery

A first-timer explores the everyman Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast
The Best of Show was a 1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast, owned by Californian Sam Roberts.Jeff Allen

The dream, I suppose, would have been to thunder up the Coast Highway and arrive at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering on some glorious beast such as a Brough Superior or a Black Shadow.

Alas, we were not astride one of those legendary bikes because, well, that would have taken a lot of money and careful planning. Instead, Barb and I rode a BMW R 1250 RT.

I wasn’t sure if a civilized high-tech bolide like the Beemer would be quite in the spirit of the event, but when we finally pulled into the Quail Lodge parking lot it looked as if the world’s most exquisite collection of vintage motorcycles had been infiltrated by a BMW GS owner’s club. There were lots of modern sportbikes as well. We parked next to a Ducati 950 Multistrada and checked in.

A rare and unusual Hercules rotary with Bing carb shines in the sun.Jeff Allen
The featured class “Off-Road Wonders through the 1990s” brought out rally bikes, two-strokes, four-strokes, enduros and this lovely BSA B50 MX.Jeff Allen
Historic Vehicle Association Preservation Award
Awards for motorcycle classes are complemented by accolades such as the Historic Vehicle Association/Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens Preservation Award.Jeff Allen
Quail Gathering
A few thousand people—some relaxing on the grass—showed up for the Quail to cruise through the 400 or so bikes. One of the Gathering’s strengths is its diversity of motorcycle types.Jeff Allen

After breakfast Friday, we took off on the 110-mile Quail Ride with about 100 bikes of every description—including a Lambretta scooter. One of the key features of the Quail gathering has always been its unsnooty, ecumenical approach, where everything is welcome. One of the founders and the key organizer of this event, Gordon McCall, told me, “We try to make this everybody’s show.”

1981 Honda XL500
How diverse? Try Custom/Modified winner Niki Smart’s 1981 Honda XL500, which also won the Design and Style award.Jeff Allen
Chief judge Somer Hooker
Chief judge Somer Hooker and Quail emcee Paul d’Orleans provide dimension, history, and context for winning bikes, like Bryan Bossier’s 1929 Brough Superior 680 OHV that won the HVA/FIVA Preservation Award.Jeff Allen
1982 Kawasaki KZ1000-S1
An Eddie Lawson-numbered 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000-S1 superbike ably represents the air-cooled era.Jeff Allen
1935 Vincent HRD Comet
A 1935 Vincent HRD Comet 500cc single is shown in the Antique class.Jeff Allen
1955 Condor MO-05
Bicycles? Yes! This fully decked out 1955 Condor MO-05 Swiss army bike looks like a fine traveler.Jeff Allen
Smiths 150 mph speedometer
Few motorcycles deserve a “big” Smiths 150 mph speedometer, but The Vincent is one of them.Jeff Allen

As I rode back south after the show, all I could think was, “Next year I’ll bring…”