The Race of Gentlemen, or TROG, as it’s also known, catapults enthusiasts back to an era that’s been almost forgotten. Forget the old tropes of replacing fuel injection for carburetors and cellphones for lace-up riding boots, but instead, imagine going back to a stage of innovation. Man and machine furiously competing to develop the fastest flathead or multi-carb design. You get modern-day racers on vintage rigs, trying to outrun the present on beachfront land. TROG is a racing-heritage time machine.
The most recent edition was held June 9–10, 2018, on the beaches of Wildwood, New Jersey, where the event engulfed the tiny town with the sounds of side valves and open pipes.
“[It’s] a multi-day celebration that pays tribute to the early days of racing,” according to TROG. “Purpose-built pre- and post-war vehicles flood the beaches and battle the tide during this mechanical commemoration.”
It’s not a free-for-all, however; the rules of competition are strict. All motorcycles must be pre-1947 and be preapproved to match the era-correct style. Cars must be pre-1934 with engines only as new as ’53. Even carburetors are strictly enforced—you won’t find a Munki hidden under a re-pop air cleaner.
Admittance is strict, but the racing is loose, with some exhibition races throughout the weekend scattered in between bracket classes including Four-Cylinder Auto Class, Flathead V-8 Class, and Drag/Rail Class. There are prizes for winners, but that appears to be an afterthought for many competitors.
Instead, the event highlights a family aspect of those close to the event. It’s been held since 2012, and many have been there since the beginning. After the roar of that weekend, the beachfront is quiet, murmuring with only the sounds of arcade games and roller coasters. Until next year.