Jesse Kiser

The Race Of Gentlemen

The classic race event on a New Jersey beachfront brings out some of the best vintage hot rods and motorcycles you’ll see anywhere

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.

mini parade of bikes and cars

After every run there was a mini parade of bikes and cars returning up the beach to the pits.

Jesse Kiser

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.

Aaron Kaufman riding motorcycle

It was easy to miss some famous faces hidden among the riders and drivers. Aaron Kaufman, of Arclight Fab and Shifting Gears TV show, was there riding and driving.

Jesse Kiser

beach rider at the race of gentleman

Foot clutch and worn leather gloves on the beach.

Jesse Kiser

Spectators at race of gentleman

The large turnout caused the pits to be closed to the public on Sunday.

Jesse Kiser

wrecking crew member

Almost all the racers rode their machines onto the beach, and there were barely any trailers to be seen.

Jesse Kiser

motorcycle racer on the beach

This was an ultra-clean flathead, but the owner wasn’t scared to race it on the beach.

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motorcycle kicking up sand

With lots of soft, loose sand on the beach piling up at the entrance and exit to the pits, things got pretty interesting for many riders.

Jesse Kiser

motorcycle racing on the beach

Simple tips for gaining traction on the beach: Lower the rear tire’s air pressure, lean wayyyy back, and hold on.

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blurred speed at the race of gentleman

We really dug this vintage hill climb bike with chrome sheet metal.

Jesse Kiser

race of gentleman participants

This rider left his tools in the pits, but somehow managed to make it in the morning.

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race of gentleman parade

The morning parade was a glorious sight to behold.

Jesse Kiser

yellow flag on the beach

Hosted by the Oiler’s Club, TROG has run since 2012.

Jesse Kiser