Sunday, May 13, 2012


Best in Show winner 1974 MV Agusta 750S of Simon Graham; a show-winner, ridden regularly.  This is the second time a 'ridden not hidden' bike has won Best in Show at the Quail.
In its fourth year on the grass of Quail Lodge's golf course, the Quail M/C Gathering felt qualitatively different this year, as if it had been holding its breath, watching and waiting, and this year decided to exhale.  The mood was relaxed and friendly, everyone was happy to be there, the day was perfect as usual, enthusiasts and collectors traveled long distances to participate, and the quality of machinery was simply excellent, with an increasingly broad selection of ogle-able bikes. 
A few MV production racers at the Gary Kohs MV-only display
The big features - an Indian display, Gary Koh's 32-MV collection, the débuts of the new Crocker and Magni-Triumph, Marty Dickerson with his 'Blue Bike' - were impressive, and worth a bit of hype.  When Michael Schacht revved up his 84hp/80cu" Crocker, everyone noticed, and appreciated the deep throaty rasp of this hand-built machine.  Giovanni Magni was a quiet presence, visiting the US for the first time (with his daughter) to see the unveiling of the first-ever British-engined Magni, with a pumped up BSA triple racing engine powering the typically Italianate rosso chassis.
Unveiling the Magni-BSA special, with TripleTec 930cc racing engine
Interviewing Marty Dickerson as part of my emcee duties was the highlight of my day; I've been reading about his exploits aboard Vincents since I started riding at 15; sitting beside his 'Blue Bike', now owned by Herb Harris, it took little prodding to hear his reminiscences about this legendary machine, which really helped establish the HRD-Vincent name in the US.  Dickerson was employed by the American importer of Vincents to ride his perfectly standard 1947 Series B Rapide around the small towns of the US, to give riders a chance to see the bikes up close.
Marty Dickerson
The legend of the Vincent preceded him, and in most towns, the fastest local bike would challenge him to a race, which he won every time but one, in around 50 illegal street speed contests; he related 'the first time I rode into Arizona, in some tiny town, all the local riders begged me to race a guy with a hotrodded Ford, who had beaten them all.  I was Shanghai'd into the contest, which had already been set up for 10pm that night on a pitch black rural road - if everyone had left, I would have been completely lost!  The riders lined both sides of the road, and at the end of the distance had headlight beams crossing the road.  The car guy said 'rolling start from 50mph', so we rode out a ways, and paralleled each other.  That was the ride I learned the 'Poor Man's Tuneup'; when I shifted into 3rd gear at around 90mph, I wasn't getting enough power, and he was pulling ahead, so I dropped into 2nd gear, which cleared the plug, the engine surged, and I beat him by a wheel'.  
Marty Dickerson's legendary 'Blue Bike'
Pulling double duty as emcee and a judge of the Concours meant less time to take photos and closely examine the entries, but the numbers tell their own tale; more entries, more bikes on the field, more spectators than the previous year.  The Quail is growing, gaining international attention, and is bound to attract an even wider range of machines in the coming years.  The Quail Lodge has been closed for the duration of this event, meaning participants need to find lodging elsewhere in the Carmel/Monterey area, but it looks like the hotel may re-open by next May, which means a lot more 'parking lot' encounters and casual chat time as trucks roll up on Thursday afternoon...the stuff which strengthens connections between collectors, builders, riders, and fans.  Fingers crossed.
East Side Moto Babes Ana and Stacie
Barn find BMW R69S for sale in the Corral...
The outrageous twin-engined BUB streamliner belonging to Dennis Manning; the bike was allowed to skip the podium ramp-ride when it won a prize in the Competition category...
She stood all day by Robbie Cadwallader's 1966 Rickman-Bultaco, and it won a prize in the Off-Road category.  Coincidence? 
Rainbow bungees on a big Indian Chief
The ones who make it happen...the Quail staff is incredible, and always friendly
At the end of the day, trying out the new Crocker...a full road test will follow this summer
Beautiful '48 Indian Chief with sidecar; behind is my Production Manager, Debbie Macdonald (formerly of Thunder Press), with husband Niel on the left, and moto-photo-journalist Clem Salvadori
The post-Quail-Ride banquet; video clips of Mert Lawill in action in 'On Any Sunday', during a tribute to the man himself.
Ducati, recently sold to Audi for $1.1Billion, could afford to bring girls as well as bikes...
Gene Brown's 1960 BSA DBD34 Gold Star, which has 4 miles from new!
Mark Hoyer awards Shinya Kimura the Cycle World 'Elegance in Action' trophy, for an exceptional bike which gets used a lot; Shinya's MV Agusta qualifies!
Original-condition Feilbach Limited of 1911
Falcon's Ian Barry and tuner/builder Paul Zell examine the AFT 'Sento', AMD world champion custom bike
Looking not a little NASCAR; the HD-engined Gurney Alligator
I spy a perfectly-sized rider for the mini-Indian
The MV 175cc racer with Earles forks and extended fuel/oil tanks...poetry
Twin gear-driven camshafts, elegantly housed in magnesium, aged to perfection.
Giovanni Magni, carrying on with his father's legendary chassis-building workshop in Italy, here débuting the BSA-Magni special.  Molto gentile!
American racing legend, and 'On Any Sunday' star, Mert Lawill, here with his daughter.  Hilarious conversational tidbit; 'do you think it would be ok if I asked Mert's daughter on a date, or will Mert kick my ass?'
The Gary Kohs MV-only parking lot...
Never put your MV in the laundry...
Interviewing Michael Schacht with his all-new Crocker motorcycle, the result of 11 years of struggle.  I wrote a brief piece for Cycle World after the interview, which you can read here.  A longer article will appear later...
Rare beast; a Royal Enfield Fury flat-track racer from the Ray Abrams collection.  Apparently this bike did very well in the 1960s
Lovely Royal Enfield 700cc Interceptor Mk2, built thus for the American market; one heavy desert sled!
At the Sale Corral; a trio of Vespas
How it looks from the podium at prize-giving time...
Chief Judge of the Quail Concours d'Elegance, Somer Hooker, here with John Stein's '72 Ducati 750SS
Woz!  Mike Wozniak, who looks like victory to me.
Honda CB160 racing is not a new phenomenon; current CB-class racer Stacie B. London tries on a time-warp barn-find CB160, as last raced.

What American dirt-track racing was all about from the late 1920s thru the early 1950s; an Indian Scout racer
The genuine 'They don't pay me enough to ride this thing' Kenny Roberts TZ750 Yamaha dirt-tracker.  Madness.


Roger said...

The "Hipster," you so noted actually built a bike that you failed to highlight from the show;

The Vintagent said...

@ Anon: a word search of The Vintagent shows I've used 'hipster' only twice in 6 years, and not recently. Which hipster are we talking about? Your link shows a nice, old-school Triumph custom; does the lovely lady pictured ride it in that yellow bikini?

drsprocket said...

Paul, I can't believe your giving that Crocker shyster so much ink. He's a con man par excellence. The boys from Australia will have the real thing up and running before this guy sucks the last victim dry of his or her monies.

Roger said...

You labeled the photo, "hipster." It is the couple in the above post. Bryan on the left built the bike in the aforementioned link. It was lettered by David Bond. Thanks, Roger

WhitelinePsycho said...

Destite the above comments, great post and coverage of what was clearly a brilliant gathering . . . I reckon Mert's delightful progeny is worth a crack at least . . . nice to see Shinya getting due kudos for what is a superbly sympathetic cuctom interpretation of a classic.

GuitarSlinger said...

So ...... who's that cool dude ' Hipster ' parked on top of Marty's ' Blue Bike ' ? ;-)

Sorry Paul ! Couldn't resist a ' cheap' shot across the bow

Great photos . Nice duds as well !

And .... in light of the earlier comment , whats your take on the Crocker thing ? Methinks a second ' short ' article may be needed .... sooner than later

Grandpa Jimbo said...

"..4 miles since new", heck, I could fix that real quick!

Jim A., Tucson, AZ

p.s. great photos, you're really getting good at this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Not to take any attention away from the smoldering Crocker row apparently taking place but why is Falcon so silent these days? No word from them or about them anywhere. Even their blog hasn't been updated for more than half a year. All one hears about is how their Vincent doesn't run. Are they still in business?

Rory M.

Anonymous said...

Doctor sprocket, having bein at the Quilt Motorcycle event, and having seen the new Crocket start and ride I find your comments strange. its public knowledge that these people own the Crocker trademark in America and many other countries and have been at this project for many years. Your comments make no sense. why would anyone want a Crocker from australia anyway?

The Vintagent said...

I can't comment on any Crocker controversy, as I don't know the facts. I do know that Michael Schacht is the legal owner of the Crocker name in the US, and hasn't been accused of fraud or theft in anything other than the rumor mill, which is a place journalists visit, but can't ethically repeat in print. Schacht, as you might expect, has plenty to say about his detractors as well. I'm not interested in the mudslinging, unless there is verifiable news, just as I don't publish private sale figures, preferring auctions, as the info is in the public record.

The Vintagent said...

Regarding Falcon; as noted in the Quail coverage, Ian Barry was a judge at Quail, and we spoke a bit about what's happening for them. Falcon have decided not to enter their bikes in competitive shows any longer, and will début their White Falcon (with a Velocette Thruxton engine) when they open their new retail space in LA, this August.
Regarding the Black Falcon; Herb Harris (who was also a judge at Quail, and whom I also spoke with) has rebuilt the Vincent engine completely, and Falcon are excited to have it running properly for the first time. Me too; I have permission from the owner for a test ride!

GuitarSlinger said...

Regarding Falcon ;

Thats good to hear ! It'd be a waste if the Black wasn't made a ' runner ' Its too damn nice to just sit in a collection and I hope the owner feels the same .

Glad to hear Falcon hasn't gone the way of the Dodo bird as well . Haven't personally heard from Amaryllis for quite some time and was just about to shot them an email ..

Sorry though that Falcon's chosen not to attend the shows as thats the only chance most will ever have to see their bikes first hand ,

As far as Crocker I've not even heard a single rumor which is why the comment above caught me so off guard ... so I'll guess thats all they are ..... silly and/or vindictive rumors

GuitarSlinger said...

So .... Paul

Any chance of you putting up your Marty Dickerson interview here ? I know I'd sure love to read it ... along with a multitude of VOC folks .

( sorry , I meant to place this in the last post .... so please excuse my frequency on this page )

Anonymous said...

For better or worse, the comments about the new Crocker company have been circulating for several years. If you ask around the circle, you'll find that a lot of people have a lot to say about it. It doesn't have anything to do with the sales of the new bikes, more about the issues concerning the R&D and the financing.

Aggroton said...

Anychance you got more photos of the MV scooters? They are so gorgeous. Would love to see them through your keen eye.

Nadrich Motorcycle Accident Law said...

This looked like a fun event!!! Wish we had meets like this in California where it's family oriented!

In The Know said...

More nonsense from an “anonymous” writer who likely produces nothing more then methane himself. Again, not a true statement regarding Crocker Motorcycle Co. For those close enough to the Company or Michael who witnessed the development of the Crocker, your comment would be laughable. Crocker has worked with some of the best engineers, mold and pattern makers, aerospace CNC contractors and foundries Southern California has to offer. With 3 years of R&D behind them, they are currently in their final stages of testing with amazing results thus far. Performance and handling, although legendary from back in the day was surprising even by today’s standards. Make no mistake! It is incredibly well built using the finest of materials, very fast and as beautiful as it gets. You must be friends with Dr Sprocket.