If you enjoy moto meetups and admiring all sorts of bikes, then The Quail Motorcycle Gathering is something I recommend you experience at least once. The venue is beautiful, as are the weather and the attendees. The large grass forecourt of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, Calif., has the vibe one might find in the nicest automobile concours d’élégance, but this day you will see a cornucopia of many of the world’s most desirable motorcycles.
Compared to my last visit in 2016, attendance was up, and the crowd at this 12th running of the Gathering seemed to love what they were seeing.
The 2022 Quail Motorcycle Gathering featured a broad range of competitive classes, including Harley-Davidson XR750, BMW /5 Series, Two-Stroke, and Mini Bike. There were also hot rods and classic cars on display.
The motorcycles on display are likely the most diverse assortment of two-wheelers anywhere. For instance, Steve McQueen’s Excelsior Super X factory racer was displayed in a plexiglass case. Not far away was a mostly carbon fiber 800 horsepower Hayabusa-powered dragster that can’t be ridden until the builder sources a traction control system to, presumably, keep the pilot alive. McQueen’s Von Dutch-painted mini bike was nearby, along with an assortment of oddities you’ll not see anywhere but on the grass at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering.
One section contained collections of bikes from owners who brought their fleets to show off. Racers and rusters shared the venue, with a smattering of one-offs and customs that might make you dizzy in the rarefied air.
There was your obligatory retinue of early British iron with Vincents, Triumphs, Nortons—a dime a dozen. Moving on, I found just about every drool-worthy Ducati along with Moto Guzzi, Laverda, Lambretta, MV Agusta, and Bimota.
The American brands were on full display— Harley-Davidsons, Indians, and a smattering of Hendersons—with some spectacular restoration not far from wonderfully rusted relics.
BMWs were seen everywhere, with R11s leading the way, and an assortment of Honda motorcycles—mostly six-cylinder CBXes.
Forgive me if I missed a few in this crazy and eclectic mix of moto dreams. Oh, let’s not forget the Tuk Tuk that just had to make the scene. Also, Roland Sands held court as he was bestowed with the title of 2022 Legend of the Sport.
A 1951 Vincent Rapide was named Best of Show this year.
Racers, choppers, customs, and cruisers were in attendance for everyone to feast their eyes upon. Do yourself a favor and add The Quail Motorcycle Gathering to your bucket list. You can thank me later.
Photography by Steve Burton, Kevin-James Gonzales, Franco Gutierrez, Jonathan Handler, and Kahn Media
2022 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Top Honors
Best of Show: 1951 Vincent Rapide; Max Hazan, California
Spirit of The Quail Award: 1984 Honda RS750; Chris Carter, California
Harley-Davidson XR750: 1972 Harley-Davidson XR750; Terry Kaluza, California
BMW/ 5 Series: 1971 BMW R75/5; Scott Wilmot, California
Two-Stroke “Braaaps”: 1986 Suzuki RG500 Gamma; Matt Torrens, California
mini bikes | BIG FUN: 1971 Montesa Cota 25; David Bookout, California
Design and Style Award Presented by ARCH Motorcycle: 1951 Vincent Rapide; Max Hazan, California
Why We Ride Award Presented by Why We Ride: 1987 Yamaha YSR50; Kristen Skvorak, California
Hagerty HVA Preservation Award: 1929 Excelsior-Henderson Super X 45ci OHV Factory Alcohol Burner; Jeffrey Thomas, Washington
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award Presented by AMA: 2006 Ducati Fuse; Revival Cycles, Texas