2019 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. Photo: Angelica Rubalcaba.

All the Bests: 2019 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Winners

As I mentioned in my story about showing an inappropes bike at the Quail, neither Fish nor I won anything this year (or in years prior and likely future), although Fish’s SnoMoChop was rightfully given high marks by some judges (the cool ones) and fascinated showgoers all day.

Here are the actual winners, starting with the three featured classes for 2019: the 50th Anniversary of the Honda CB750, Off Road Wonders Through the 90s, and the 100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior. Clickety-click to see bigger photos.

Best in Show & 50 Years of the Honda CB750 Award: 1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast

I had a suspicion that something was up as I watched Sam Roberts ride his ’69 CB750 Sandcast off the stage and then loop back behind it after picking up his 50 Years of the CB750 award, so I wasn’t surprised when he rolled back on stage to win Best in Show. There was some grumbling, both on the green and on Instagram—where the smartest folks engage in the most well-informed debate—about his win. I get it—after all, wasn’t I just yakkin’ about Excessive Classic British Bike Boredom? Lots of sweet, classic Hondas everywhere these days.

But word from the judges was that Sam’s sandcast was one of the best examples they’d ever seen, and it was goddamn gorgeous. Sam also gets extra points from CityBike for riding his bike on to the stage, the way God intended.

Off Road Wonders Through the 90s Award: 1969 Cheney/Triumph 750cc Scrambler

Former CityBike cover model Scott Dunlavey won the Off-Road Wonders Award with this Cheney Triumph from the days before “scrambler” and “desert sled” were just hollow marketing jibber-jabber.

100th Anniversary of the Brough Superior Award: 1925 Brough Superior SS100

One of two Broughs that graced the stage this was Larry Bowman’s immaculate ’25 SS100.

HVA Preservation Award: 1929 Brough Superior 680 OHV

The Historical Vehicle Association’s Preservation Award was one of the top moments of the award presentation for me, not because I’m particularly interested in ancient, exorbitantly-valued motorcycles, but because owner Bryan L. Bossier, Sr. of Loozee-anna was entertaining and genuine on the mic, a much-needed respite from the forced “humor” employed by the presenters throughout the ceremony. Bossier, who owns many of the Broughs on display, described the 680, a custom-ordered machine, as—I’m paraphrasing from memory—looking like “the north end of a southbound goat.” Or maybe it was a sheep, maybe even headed a different direction. You get it.

Spirit of The Quail Award: Castle Family Private Collection

I had a good chuckle while checking out the Castles’ congregation of combat cycles, and there was some corny joking on stage as the Spirit of the Quail Award was bestowed upon the private collection—something about how the guns had nothing to do with the win. This joke was at least funnier than the hackneyed, oft-repeated cracks about tolerant wives.

The motorcycle/trailer combo that represented the collection for the award ceremonies was a Cushman paratrooper bike, apparently dropped in behind enemy lines on one chute with the trailer on another.

The Quail Ride Award: 1986 Bimota DB1R

The Quail Qrew hosts a 100-mile ride the day before the event each year, and joining that ride gets you in the running for the Quail Ride award. This DB1R, an amalgamation of owner Adam Cecchini’s “favorite parts” from various DB1s, is a hard choice to argue with. As with the Best in Show winner, Cecchini gets top honors from CityBike for firing up his bike and riding it on to the stage.

Significance in Racing Award: 1967 Honda 450 Daytona Racer

Ron Mousouris’s 1967 Honda 450 Daytona Racer was a real beaut, one of several exceptional racebikes on display. Later, I watched from afar in what felt like a voyeuristic intrusion on a private moment as the bike’s fairings and tank were removed during load-out, presumably for safe transport.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award: 1970 Jawa 652

American Motorcyclist Association President and CEO Rob Dingman presented this year’s Hall of Fame Heritage Award to mid-Seventies International Six Day Trials rider Chris Carter (who won Competition Off Road 1st Place last year with his BSA BB34R flat tracker) for his cool “banana frame” Jawa.

Dingman was at this year’s Quail to present the AMA’s previously announced Dud Perkins Lifetime Achievement Award to legend Malcolm Smith, who was the sole reason Red Boots An made the trek from The Sac for this year’s Quail.

While he was in the neighborhood, Dingman presented Liza Miller of Santa Cruz-based Motorcycles & Misfits podcast and Re-Cycle Garage with her also-previously announced Friend of the AMA Award. Yep, that’s AMA Hall of Famer Craig Vetter on her right.

Incidentally, we interviewed Dingman as the bikes were being rolled off the green—stay tuned for that article soon.

Custom/Modified 1st Place & Design and Style Award: 1981 Honda XL500

Niki Smart’s XL500-based build was refreshingly inspired, displaying creativity and craftsmanship. It was so popular it was hard to get photos of—even before the show officially opened, it was constantly mobbed.

Custom/Modified 2nd Place: 1966 Honda S-90

OK, so Dustin Kott’s ’66 S-90 was purty pretty too.

Antique 1st Place: 1928 Douglas 4 ¼

Who’s got the 4 1/4? Bill Wheeler! (Only Black Flag fans will get that… maybe.)

Antique 2nd Place: 1918 BSA Model H

Budd Schwab brought a helper on stage to collect his award.

There were almost as many dogs on the dais during the awards ceremony as women. International Female Ride Day indeed!

American 1st Place: 1953 Indian Chief

Matt Blake’s ’53 Indian was a handsome example of why people still pine for these bikes over half a century later.

American 2nd Place: 1970 Indian Little Indian

Clive Belvoir’s Indian was displayed on a tiny tabletop last year and scored the “children’s choice” Why We Ride award. This year, it took home American 2nd Place.

British 1st Place: 1964 BSA Lightning Rocket

Beauty, thy name is Beezer. Owner, thy name is Robert Ives.

British 2nd Place: 1952 Triumph T6 Thunderbird

Check out those shapely sidecases. The TSW Collection’s T-bird has appeared on the green before, which makes me wonder if simply bringing my Rosso Mandello back a few years in a row will get me on the stage.

Italian 1st Place: 1972 Ducati 750 GT

Though modern Ducatis—and Ducatisti—are all about the L-Twin, it wasn’t always that way. Stewart and Renee Garrison’s 750 GT is a second-year example of the first Ducati with a 90° V-Twin, which Ducati has insisted on calling an L-Twin for the last 15-20 years, I guess so everyone knows it’s special.

Italian 2nd Place: 1961 Ducati Bronco 125

The fact that Kenneth Davis’s Bronco, a single-cylindered Ducati considered by many to be nearly disposable, was able to fire up and motor on stage reinforces my position that if a bike can’t rumble up the ramp under a rider and its own power, it shouldn’t be eligible to win.

Other European 1st Place: 1976 BMW R90/S

Mark Francois rode his ravishing R90S up the ramp to receive his Tiffany plate.

Other European 2nd Place: 1968 BMW R60/2

Kenneth Morris did the same—is anyone surprised that both the winning Beemers ran?

Japanese 1st Place: 1974 Kawasaki H1E

Both of the Japanese winners were ridden on stage too! Here’s Owen Bishop on his widowmaker.

Japanese 2nd Place: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R

Trace St. Germain, who I assume based on the sound of his name is a former porn star, perhaps in the “bearded blue collar fetish” genre, fired up his beautiful blue Z1 to collect his award.

Competition On Road Award: 1979 Kawasaki AMSA Superbike

Kevin McKee’s AMSA Superbike was one of my favorites, both from the winners’ circle and the show at large. Very cool racebike and even cool story behind it, which I can’t remember well enough to tell right. Perhaps someone can enlighten me in the comments?

Kevin also won Competition On Road 1st Place last year with a 1980 CB750.

Extraordinary Bicycles & Scooters Award: 1957 Lambretta LD150 MK3

I would’ve loved to see the Honda Kick ‘n’ Go take this award, but Eric Lussier’s ’57 LD150 was really, really nice and hard to deny.

Innovation Award: 1989 Norton F1 Pre-Production Prototype

Stephen Haddad’s rotary-powered, pre-production F1 scored the Innovation Award, presented by Alpinestars.

Why We Ride Award: 1962 Mustang Stallion

The kids are all right—they chose Jim Taylor’s miniscule Mustang for the Why We Ride Award.

Industry Award: 2019 BMW Prototype BMW Boxer

The Industry class wasn’t sponsored by BMW, at least there’s no evidence of such sponsorship that I’m aware of, but much like all the buzz surrounding this apparently non-functional “motorcycle” commissioned by BMW, the presence of Revival Cycles’ expensive engine stand on the stage felt an awful lot like a promotional placement. Yes, it’s an interesting exercise, but non-functional art pieces should win awards at the “Vaguely Motorcycle-esque Sculpture and Pop Art Show,” not motorcycle shows.

Spirit of the Scrambler Award: 2016 Ducati Scrambler (Surprise!)

I almost didn’t include this one, because brand placement masquerading as a class that rewards use of the word “build” to describe bolt-on “mods” isn’t that interesting. Tom Zipprian’s Scrambler was all right, but Quail stage-worthy?

Maybe we’ll dip into our reserves to sponsor a “Those Jerks at CityBike” class next year so one of us can ride on to the stage.

Can’t All Be Winners

I’d be remiss in my duty as a serious moto-journalist if I didn’t include a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of the real Quail, so here’s a photo of Robert Horn’s RoHorn racer, shortly after it ended up on its left side.

And here’s what it looks like upright, without a bunch of people “helping” pick it up.