It seems like it was just yesterday we were ankle deep in the warming sands of Wildwood, NJ. While we're not frequent visitors of this beach, we've made it a point to make the trip each year for what has become known as 'The Greatest Race on Earth'. Now in it's sixth year, The Race of Gentlemen has quickly drawn international fame appearing in a slew magazines and online pubs that highlight the machines as well as the fashion. With the event drawing massive attention as well as crowds, event organizers have begun to cracked down how the race is captured. In past years the starting line was where you got 'the shot'. Now off-limits to photographers, this meant we had to get creative. We'll let you decide if we succeeded. GSCo. Co-Founders Allan Glanfield & Mike Higgins head back to the beach and in time to bring you TROG 2017. - GSCo.
IN THE SHADOW OF GIANTS
Words: Mike Higgins Images: Allan Glanfield & Mike Higgins
The long shapes cast by the setting sun mark the finish of another inspired outing for The Race Of Gentlemen. The dark shadows reach back toward the Wildwood, New Jersey shoreline, and manage to stretch back to another era.
Nostalgia is a powerful emotion. And T.R.O.G., now in its sixth year, plays on that theme like very few events can. It has grown from a few guys with a passion for pre-war hotrods and an idea, into a spectacle that now draws thousands to a 1/8 mile strip of sand butted up against this beach town boardwalk.
We’re here to witness the self-proclaimed automotive carnival – the blur of the lines between grace and grit, theatrics and mechanics, distant past and blissful present. We’re here to the watch the heroes of the day pay powerful homage to the giants of yesterday.
Those giants loom heavy. The Harleys, and Davidsons, the Indians and Excelciors. The Fords, Chevrolets and Dodge Brothers. The ghosts of Carlsbad that led the way and Daytona Beach that followed. But where the giants of the past give the event gravitas, the heroes of the present infuse plenty of levity. None more so than the gentleman with the method behind all this madness – Meldon Van Riper Stultz III.
Mel is the unmistakable maestro, conducting this orchestra of wonderfully tuned sights and sounds from astride his Harley, shoeless and smiling through his thick, white beard. We owe so much of this to him, along with his hand-selected band of misfits and unusual suspects.
All involved take on their role with eager enthusiasm and each part is integral to the aesthetic and experience of it all. The Emcee, the race official, the announcer, the racers and their crew, the photographers and vendors, even the spectators – each adding an important element to the greater good.
If Mel rules the day, though, it’s Sara that rules the starting line. For as much as we’re here to see the kicking up of the sand and the streaking roar of the race, it’s the dancing drop of the flag that we’ll remember. Sara perfectly exemplifies the dedication to detail and incredible work all this takes to pull off – race after race, and now year after year.
In many ways the great accomplishment of T.R.O.G. is staying meticulously true to its original intent. There’s nothing new to see here. And that’s the point, and precisely why it’s well worth a look.
Follow all the latest from the wild kids of Wildwood at the t.r.o.g. official.