Cool temperatures fail to lower motorcycle fever at the Quail and keep Jim Palam from delivering this photo report.

Low temperatures, brisk winds and overcast skies did nothing to dampen the spirits of over 3,000 visitors to the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 6 at the beautiful Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, CA.

Gordon McCall, motorsports director for the Quail Lodge, was once again the perfect ringleader for this 9th Annual gathering. It featured over 300 rare and historic bikes, as well as a generous sampling of custom and modified rides from some of the rising stars in the motorcycle enthusiast’s expanding universe. GEICO Motorcycles presented the event.

Jim Palam, our man (and Triumph rider) on the West Coast was up and out early to capture the action. The show was so good that he forgot to eat his complimentary gourmet lunch – but he did take a big bite of The Gathering’s tasty essence – yours now to enjoy.

Taking the Design and Style Award was Simon Waterfall’s super-clean and serious ‘75 Moto Guzzi 850T, Top, rebadged as Supernaturale. Designed and built by Hugo Eccler of Untitled Motorcycles of San Francisco (pictured) the bike features a custom aluminum tank, advanced electronics and fingertip controls. Its overall brushed satin finish will intentionally age gracefully, developing an individualized patina from the way the rider handles the bike.

What do you do if you have a beautiful old Triumph race tank? If you’re Californian Bryan Thompson you build the quintessential ‘58 Triumph Tiger from ground up, around the tank. So good is this build that this Black Beauty has been racking up a bounty of awards – including First Place in the Quail’s Custom/Modified category. Well-done Bryan!

Chris Carter has become almost as famous as the spectacular motorcycles in his amazing All Things Two Wheels collection. So thanks Chris for bringing your gorgeous ‘14 Jefferson Board Track Racer to The Gathering. It took 2nd Place in the American category.

Considered one of the most innovative motorcycles ever created, only 10 hand-crafted Britten V1000 superbikes were ever built. This Britten, #10, resides in the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, just a few blocks from my home. It belongs to the museum’s owner Virgil Elings and he proudly displayed it at The Gathering. Virgil’s son Jeff rode it up onto the winner’s ramp to accept the Significance in Racing Award.

I met Richard Mitchell as he was rolling this meticulously customized BSA A65 Thunderbolt up to the Entrant’s Window late Friday afternoon. When Richard is not designing for Tesla, his passion is motorcycles. His beautiful creation went on to win 2nd Place in the Custom/Modified category.

Ole #38 didn’t look like much when from a distance when I spotted owner Gary Landeen trying to kick-start her for a bevy of patient judges. On what was surely his last kick she fired up – and like the menacing roar of a Coliseum lion she fired up the crowd as well! This bike is the legendary Ed “Iron Man” Kretz’s Pre-War Big Base Indian Scout FDB 381 that competed successfully on a national level from 1941 through 1967. What a thrill to see and hear #38 roar at The Gathering!

Two For The Road! If you’re a Motorhead you find beauty in design, function and performance. So forgive me if my heart beats a little faster when I take in the sexy symmetry of John Stein’s ‘70 Twin Motor BSA drag bike – bared for all to see in the Competition On Road Class.

The 750 Sport was essentially a racier version of Ducati’s first big V-Twin, the 750GT. Its Goldenrod Yellow and black paint scheme and lean, aggressive styling made this Italian beauty really stand out from the crowd. Robert Jordon owns this stunning and pristine example.

Wake Me Up Before You Goggo! The Hans Glas GMBH Company of Germany produced the Goggo Motorscooter in the 1950s. They were dependable and offered better performance than their Italian counterparts. They were however a bit pricier and few ever made it to the States. Harley and Deb Welch brought this nifty ‘55 Goggo 150 to The Gathering.

And now for something different: The ‘76 Hercules W2000. Powered by an air-cooled, single-rotor Sachs-designed Wankel engine, it was manufactured in Germany. Innovative for sure, but criticized for its high cost, insufficient ground clearance and low performance. And of course, now, in high-demand by collectors! Congratulations to Stephan Haddad for the bike’s 2nd Place win in the Other European category.

Words & photos by Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/


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Rossi: My best moment was South Africa 2004, worst Valencia 2006

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31st March 1996, 20 years ago, a fresh faced Italian claimed sixth position in his first 125cc race in Malaysia. 20 years later Valentino Rossi has become one of the greatest motorcycle riders to have ever race on two wheels.

Rossi has enjoyed a stories career, winning 112 races on his way to nine Grand Prix World Championships the Italian has a whole host of different memories and experiences to look back on through the years.

During Thursday’s pre-race press conference, Rossi was asked what the best moment of his career was, to date.

“It’s difficult to say. I want to say the best one was maybe my first victory with the Yamaha in South Africa. That was a great race,” explained the 37-year-old.

The race which Rossi is referring to is the 2004 season opener at Welkom. Rossi had won the 2003 MotoGP World Championship with Honda before parting ways with Yamaha, a bike deemed fair inferior to the Honda RC211V he was leaving behind. In spite of this, Rossi defied the common logic and converted his pole position to a first win with Yamaha.

Despite some serious highs in his 20-year career, there have also been some earth shattering lows for the Doctor to deal with in his career. When asked his worst moment in MotoGP, Rossi didn’t say his disastrous two-year spell with Ducati, nor the end of the 2015 MotoGP season.

“I think the worst one was when I lost the championship in 2006 in Valencia. I think these two.”

It may seem strange that Rossi chose losing the 2006 title as the worst moment of his career and not the 2015 title. Rossi took the events of last season much harder than what happened in 2006, but he also doesn’t consider what happened last year as in his control.


Marquez hoping to build on Qatar breakthrough

Marquez Argentina

Marc Marquez is hoping to build on his podium finish in Qatar as he heads to the question mark of Argentina for round two of this seasons MotoGP World Championship.

Marquez put an underwhelming pre-season behind him as he claimed an impressive third position during the season opener last time out in Qatar, despite his RC213V Honda still looking less than a easy bike to ride.

The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina will present new challenges to the riders and teams, with a lot of the teams going in “blind” with no testing from the factory riders – although Ducati’s test rider and Pramac Ducati stand in Michele Pirro did test the Michelin tyres in Argentina last year – meaning track time will be crucial to help find the perfect set-up and correct tyre choice.

Last season’s Argentine Grand Prix saw a tyre battle and the different compound Bridgestone rubber react to the new surface in different ways. It also saw the first clash between Valentino Rossi and Marquez, something Rossi later attributed to Marquez’ “actions” in Philip Island.

Despite the drama of 2015, Marquez said he enjoys the Argentine track and is hoping that the base set-up he and his Repsol Honda team found in Qatar will transfer over to South America. 

“We come to Argentina in a positive mood after achieving a third-place finish in Qatar, a result that wasn’t really predictable before the start of the season,” said the Spaniard.

“We worked very hard and very well with Honda and with the team over the weekend, and on race day I was able to push as hard as is currently possible.

“Of course we haven’t had a winter test here to count on and we’ll have to see if the set-up we found in Qatar will also work here. That would be a good step forward for us, generally speaking, and we could even aim for a little bit better result on Sunday,” he said.

“Of course it will be a question mark until Friday but all in all, Argentina is a circuit that I like. We’ve always been fast here, so I feel positive for the weekend.”

Photos via Repsol Honda

The post Marquez hoping to build on Qatar breakthrough appeared first on GPxtra.

Viñales: I have offers from nearly all the teams


Maverick Viñales has revealed that he has received offers from “nearly all the manufactures” as the 2016 silly season heats up.

2016 will see all factory MotoGP riders have contracts up for renewal and moves have already started to take place as teams look to shape up for 2017. Qatar saw Valentino Rossi get a new two-year contract extension with the Movistar Yamaha team, whilst his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has said he will wait two to three weeks before making a decision on his future

The future of Lorenzo could be significant in deciding the future of Viñales, with the 2015 MotoGP Rookie of the Year deemed by many as a natural replacement should the reigning MotoGP World Champion seek pastures new with Ducati – should Ducati make an official offer to him, for that matter.

Blistering testing pace and an impressive season opener saw Viñales’ stock rise at an astronomical rate, making his signature the most desirable one on the MotoGP grid. The Spaniard’s current contract situation allows him to part company with the factory Suzuki team after his second year of his provisional three-year contract, should he please. 

Back in October we revealed that Honda had begun making enquiries with Aki Ajo and members of the Viñales management team, in a bid to pair Viñales with two-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez. Although with Marquez widely expected to resign with the Honda factory team – despite the fact he is still waiting for a contract offer – HRC are thought to be slightly cooling on the idea of bringing in Viñales to partner Marquez.

“I have offers from nearly all the manufactures,” said the 21-year-old speaking in Qatar where he matched his career best sixth place finish in MotoGP. 

“But at the moment I’m only thinking about Suzuki. I want to wait and see how we do in the first three or four races. They have trusted me and I would like it to be them who offer me a bike to which I can fight to be World Champion. That is my goal.”