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Quail 2019 features Honda CB750, numerous vintage bikes

Friday, July 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Will Guyan #56198

Photos by Stephen Burns #111334

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering, a prominent west coast event near Monterey, California, is an annual assemblage of some of the most incredible motorcycles in the world. The bikes are parked on a perfect golfing green, and access for fans and photographers is unparalleled. Think Barber Museum, outside and on the green grass of May.

This year’s event celebrated 50 years of the iconic Honda CB750, the 100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior, and “Off-Road Wonders Through the 1990s.” Of course, BMW machines were very well represented, including an incredible Rennsport RS 54 machine with fuel injection! There are maybe three on the planet.

This year’s event showcased more than 300 historic and classic motorcycles as well as selected, interesting vendors around the green, including Keanu Reeves’ built to order, ARCH motorcycles. Additionally, event entry always includes a gourmet luncheon feast, along with myriad activities for casual observers and die-hard motorcycle fans.

Important anniversaries in motorcycling honored in 2019 included 50 years of the first production motorcycle to be called a "Superbike," the 1969 Honda CB750, and 100 years of the legendary English Brough Superior. The Quail celebrated these anniversaries with exhibitions on the field, alongside many rare and beautiful historic off-road machines of interest to many of us who began our riding careers on "Off Road Wonders" from Japan and Europe.

Each class highlighted exemplary motorcycles, including six world-class examples of the ground-breaking Honda CB750 manufactured between 1969 and 1977, as well as a wide variety of historic off-road motorcycles, including the iconic 1972 Husqvarna 400 CR, the 1989 Honda XRV650 Africa Twin Marathon, several showroom perfect Bultacos, and many more.

Malcolm Smith, multiple International Six Days Trials gold medal winner and On Any Sunday star, along with motorcycle racing legend Mert Lawwill, were featured guests, as was Cycle World’s beloved tale-spinner Peter Egan, whose stories have entertained our generation for decades. The close proximity to museum quality machinery and seldom seen rarities the Quail Motorcycle Gathering offers is unparalleled, and the event includes an opportunity for a day ride along some superb roads, like California’s Highway One through Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

Many fine examples of European bikes on display included several R 69Ses featured in Dover white, pale blue and green, red, and the usual lustrous black. BMW restorers Tim Stafford and Scottie Sharpe brought some of the finest Bavarian examples ever seen on this side of the pond and Captain Jack Wells, well known to many of us as a BMW single-cylinder expert, brought his beautiful Brough Superior sidecar rig from Lake City, Florida. Seeing this many Broughs together on the green was itself epic. These machines are valued well beyond anything Lawrence of Arabia may have considered. He, of course, met his Waterloo on his Brough Superior, number 7, and was a firm believer in the marque.

If you love historic bikes and enjoy superb, natural surroundings, consider placing The Quail on your bucket list. And don’t forget John Steinbeck’s Depression era haunt at Cannery Row nearby and the always entertaining wild sea otters playing on the water right below your al fresco dinner table. Save the date, May 16, 2020. Maybe I’ll see you there.

For more information, visit See more of Stephen's photos by visiting the MOA's Flickr site.

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