The Quail Motorcycle Gathering is among the country’s best motorcycle concours events, yet it’s not just about hobnobbing on a field of pristine vintage and exotic bikes. Two organized rides before and one after raise money for charities and offer enthusiasts a way to extend this motorcycle weekend beyond the single concours day on Saturday.
This year Quail Gatherers also had the opportunity to rub elbows with some legends of roadracing at the 7th annual True American Heroes dinner and auction on Saturday evening at the Quail Lodge, and on the 14th Annual Cpl. Michael D. Anderson, Jr. May Day Memorial Ride the next morning, which ended with lunch at the Moto Talbott museum in Carmel Valley.
Both events benefitted the Welcome Home Heroes Foundation, a grass-roots 501(c)3 that works directly with staff at local VA facilities and the U.S. military to assist veterans.
Hosted by three-time Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion Kenny Roberts–who used to hold it at his ranch in Hickman, which he recently sold–also in attendance were GP World Champ Kenny Roberts Jr., four-time GP World Champ Eddie Lawson, AMA National Champ Bubba Shobert, 2013 (and now 2018) Pikes Peak Champ Carlin Dunne, AMA Superbike standout Thad Wolfe and roadracer and Cover Girl Shelina Moreda.
The military veteran speakers arranged for Saturday night’s gourmet dinner were inspiring, and while I didn’t stay for the live auction that followed, I understand that it got fairly raucous and raised a goodly amount of money, greatly helped by the sale of a KR-customized XSR700 donated by Yamaha.
The next morning Bubba led the two Roberts, Lawson (who rode his Gurney Alligator!), Wolfe, me and about 100 others who paid $50 to join us on a nice loop through the Salinas and Carmel valleys. Sharing a ride (and getting lost! but just once) with these legendary but easy-going roadracing heroes was a gratifying and enjoyable experience, one I hope to repeat with even more riders next year….