2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Report

May 19, 2015
Bryan Harley
By Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.
In the short span of seven years the Quail Motorcycle Gathering has established itself as one of the premiere concourses for motorcycle collectors and enthusiasts alike. Each May it serves as a showcase for the evolution of motorcycles, to see the craftsmanship of yesteryear and witness its influence on the motorcycles of today. Where else can you see a splendid 1912 Pope H in near original state then wander over and inspect Richard Hatfield’s Lightning LS-218 electric superbike? The creativity is ceaseless, from TPJ Customs’ raked-out neo-chopper outfitted with a Ducati 900SS engine to Gene Worth’s chopped 1972 Bultaco Alpina, the first Bultaco chopper we’ve encountered. With more than 350 motorcycles spread about the grounds of the Quail Lodge, it was a challenge to see and admire them all in just one afternoon.With such a diversity of motorcycles on hand, Somer Hooker, the Vintagent’s Paul D’Orleans and the judging panel had the unenviable task of singling out just one for “Best of Show” honors. But John Goldman’s 1951 Mondial 125 Bialbero Gran Prix bike – jewel-like in its original, unrestored state – deservedly earned “Best of Show” honors at the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. His Mondial also earned first place in the Competition On Road class.

“I’m showing this 1951 Mondial 125 double overhead cam Grand Prix bike,” said Goldman. “It was a world championship bike in the 125 Grand Prix class in 1951 ridden by Carlo Ubbiali, the official factory team rider. It was Carlo Ubialli’s first world championship win. This motorcycle is totally unrestored. It has 1952 tires, 1952 paint, 1952 decals, everything from 1952 because it was last raced in ’52.”

Ubbiali was a nine-time World Champion in the 125cc – 250cc class from 1949 to 1960. A dominating figure in the small displacement GP classes, the Italian racer’s championship aboard the 1951 Mondial was his first and only world title with the brand, with the rest by way of MV Agusta.

“I bought it from some guys in Italy who, in 1977, actually bought up all the remaining Grand Prix bikes in the Mondial factory. Mondial was closing. After ’77 they didn’t really do any more business. So three guys pooled their resources and bought all the GP bikes. Later, in 2001, they decided to sell these GP bikes and I ended up with four of them. This is the best first series early Mondial Grand Prix bike in the world. It is the only fully correct, fully running one that is left from 1951,” added Goldman.

The only person who spent more time onstage than Goldman was Yamaha’s in-house custom builder and designer Jeff Palhegyi. His first trip up saw him collecting first place in the Italian category for a motorcycle out of his personal collection, a 1947 Gilera Saturno San Remo. Palhegyi then accepted the Formula 750 Group award for a fierce 1976 Yamaha TZ750, and topped off the afternoon with the Significance in Racing Award for another fire-breathing two-stroker, a 1979 Yamaha TZ750.

The duo behind Why We Ride, producer James Walker and producer/director Bryan Carroll also had their hands full over the weekend. First they rumbled up the Pacific Coast from LA for two days with a slew of big-name sponsors on a charitable ride for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF). Friday night they hosted the Why We Ride Rider’s Dinner to further their fund-raising efforts for PBTF. Saturday they handed Paul Sampognaro the Why We Ride award for his 1971 Honda SL-70 Street motorcycle. The award is unique for the fact that it is voted on solely by youngsters attending the event. Walker and Carroll were also busy spreading the word about the crowd-funding campaign for their next movie, I Am Sturgis, which they hope to film at this year’s 75th anniversary Sturgis Rally.

The 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering also served as the springboard for Indian Motorcycle Company to publicly unveil the 2015 USO Scout customized by Klock Werks Kustom Cycles for the first time. Indian Motorcycle asked the Klock Werks team to build a military tribute motorcycle that represents Indian’s recent partnership with the USO. Nicknamed “Pathfinder,” Brian Klock said even though styling cues are throwback, it’s fully functional. The saddlebags and windshield are factory options while the handlebar, “Klassic” front fender, rear taillights, and rack are Klock Werks creations. The USO Scout features rapid prototype covers on the shocks and rapid prototype front fork pieces that helped out when Brad Smith applied the matte green paint. The Scout also has a custom gun scabbard mount that houses a de-commissioned Thompson sub machine gun with a custom gunstock by Boyds Gunstocks of Mitchell, South Dakota, Klock Werks’ hometown. The USO Scout fit right in with the vast collection of military machines in the special display at the 2015 Quail.

“We all know the USO is about entertaining troops and just giving them the compliments and the throwback and support due for what they do. And so for us, it’s just a huge honor to be here, huge honor to have done this bike and thank you (USO) for all you do for all the troops out there, it’s awesome,” said Klock.

Honda also brought out a special collection of its venerable Gold Wing motorcycles in celebration of the model’s 40th anniversary, from a 1975 GL1000 to its most current top-shelf luxury-touring motorcycle. Jon Seidel from American Honda said “Today we’re displaying 40 years of Gold Wing. The one you see first is from 1975 and on the end is 2015. Hundreds of thousands of owners over the years have loved the Gold Wing. It’s one of our most iconic motorcycles and we’re really thrilled to be here at The Quail.”

The squad at British Customs used the 2015 Gathering to advocate for its Legend Series. BC’s James Panther said the company pays homage to motorcycles and riders from Triumph’s past, hoping to educate current riders on their role in the marque’s history while encouraging the next generation of riders at the same time. Next to “Triumphant,” a 1969 C&J Frame Triumph from the Randy Zimmerman/Eddie Mulder Collection, sat British Customs’ modern interpretation of the Triumph dirt tracker. The original is one of only two single-shock C&J Triumph frames around and features a 750cc engine built by Jack Hately and Karl Krohn. “Triumphant” earned its racing stripes at events like Pikes Peak and the Sacramento Mile.

And while historic motorcycles form the crux of the 2015 Quail, the new guard of custom bike building was also well represented. Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles brought his Indian Continental Scout to the show, a 1960–1970 styled replica racer based on a 1949 Scout. Featuring a Trackmaster frame by Frame Crafters, every inch of the motorcycle has been tended to with a watchmaker’s level of detail, from the clear tubing of the fuel lines feeding the Amal carb to the struts on the front TZ750 hubs. Prust’s work earned first place in the Custom/Modified category.

The fellas from Revival Cycles were also well-represented. Fresh off hosting their own Handbuilt Motorcycle Show, Revival traveled west from Austin to display its Ducati Revival Full Custom “J63.” The immaculate machine features a 90-degree V-Twin engine from a Ducati 900ss outfitted with twin Dellorto PH36 carbs. They built their own frame for it, a first for Revival, based the geometry off a GP250 bike from the ‘90s and boosted its stability with fully-adjustable Ohlins cartridge shocks and an USD telescopic fork from a Ducati Sport Classic. Its hand-formed aluminum tank is a thing of beauty. The motorcycle passed the ultimate test, a shakedown by former GP World Champion Kevin Schwantz at Circuit of the Americas. While Schwantz’s approval of their work was validation enough, Revival garnered the Industry Award at the 2015 Quail for their efforts as well.

While admiring a 1973 KTM Penton Hare Scrambler, we got a chance to meet the restorer, Blair Beck. Beck said the yellow and black KTM with a potent Single and wide-set cooling fins was the first hare scrambler KTM produced. The company introduced the 175 Jackpiner in 1972, and the ’73 Hare Scrambler had the same basic lower end but received an all-new frame and running gear. The motorcycle has been lovingly restored to showroom quality. After Beck walked off, we learned from his sister Cynthia that Blair is legally blind, making the level of his work all the more impressive. We also enjoyed hearing the history behind William Buckingham’s 1936 Harley chopper. Buckingham actually rode his bike from Daytona Beach, Florida to Tacoma, Washington, while competing in the Cannonball Run, no small feat considering it has a rigid rear and no front brake. His groovy ride rode away with the Design and Style Award.

And these tidbits are all part of the beauty of the Quail. The bike’s owners are historians of their prized rides, and stories abound around virtually every corner, if only you take time to stop and listen.

      2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

This 1951 Mondial 125 Bialbero Gran Prix bike has a racing pedigree and is a jewel in its original  unrestored state  reasons it won Best of Show at the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. Dr. J. Craig Venter gets ready to ride his 1936 Harley EL onstage after winning first place in the 2015 Quail Gathering. ARCH Motorcycle Co. owners Gard Hollinger and Keanu Reeves had their bevy of KRGT-1 motorcycles on display at the 2015 Quail Gathering.
Why We Rides Bryan Carroll is a big advocate for encouraging the next generation of riders  including his own son. The Eric Lussier Collection had a splendid assortment of vintage Lambretta scooters. William Buckingham rode his 1936 Harley chopper across the country in the Cannonball Run  then polished it up and won the Style   Design Award at the 2015 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.