nick303

56 months ago

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Racing pre-war American motorcycles on the beach - TROG Recap 2019

Wildwood, New Jersey, United States

The Race Of Gentlemen, otherwise known as "TROG", happens every year in a boardwalk town called Wildwood by the ocean in New Jersey. On a warm weekend in October, motor-heads pack up their pre-war motorcycles (and cars) - mostly hand-built with era-specific parts - to drag race on the sand along a stretch of beautiful beach. There's no lavish podium celebration at the end, it's not about who wins.

I had seen some of the photos from previous years, but when Paul @teramuto invited me to join him and the ESR crew in Wildwood for this year's TROG I didn't know exactly what to expect. Paul built a bitchin' Harley-Davidson Servi-Car trike (see it here) and as I learned about his build and he explained how carefully curated the machines are that you see racing down the beach, the real scope of the event started to come into focus.

It's not just a facade of vintage nostalgia, it's all the real deal right down to period-correct fasteners. From the organizers: "Modify your bike for racing. No “straight off the street” bikes. No headlights, No full fenders, etc. Bikes must be “Bobbed” and stripped down for racing. The idea is to recreate the look and feel of bikes that would be racing in the late ’40s. Bikes must be 1947 or older American made with Knucklehead, Flathead, or other American Overhead motors (no aftermarket motors, S&S, etc.), with period carbs, ignition, hand-shift/foot clutch, forks, wheels, fasteners, etc. TROG is about taking people back in time, to a golden era of the early days of racing in America.

Early Saturday morning all of the cars and bikes entered the beach through the tunnel under the boardwalk, it was a sight to behold and a delight to any gearhead's senses -- a procession of vintage machines you're just not likely to see anywhere else -- with all the sounds and smells you would expect. The pit area filled up quickly as the rising sun peeked out from the clouds just above the ocean. Racers were casually chatting with each other and doing whatever was necessary to keep their motor running for the day. The broken-down machines, being fixed on-the-spot, is part of the charm of the event too (and what else would you expect from 70+-year-old race-tuned machinery) and a welcome contrast to the electronic laden motorcycles of modern racing.

The long lines of crowds filed in through the gates and filled the stands. It's a casual atmosphere, with a great vibe. Watching vintage motorcycles and hotrods race down the beach while hanging with your friends isn't the worst way to spend a weekend! Eventually, the tide rolls in and the racing is shut down for the day. Everyone disperses through the streets of Wildwood, with its countless old Doo-Wop era motels that add even more authenticity to the spectacle of the TROG weekend.

It was a great weekend, spent with great friends and an unforgettable backdrop. Yes, I left with a bit of an itch for an old Harley with a well-earned patina or perhaps a souped-up Model A.

Photos by Nick Dunlop @nick303

#57 It's sandy, it's dirty, it's hard - TROG 2019

#57 It's sandy, it's dirty, it's hard - TROG 2019

#53 Waiting to race TROG 2019

#53 Waiting to race TROG 2019

Riders line up early on Saturday morning to ride into the pits - TROG 2019

Riders line up early on Saturday morning to ride into the pits - TROG 2019

At the end - TROG 2019

At the end - TROG 2019

#56 You don't have to be male to be a Gentlemen Racer - TROG 2019

#56 You don't have to be male to be a Gentlemen Racer - TROG 2019

What started with a few people riding pre-war motorcycles has turned into a huge event - TROG 2019

What started with a few people riding pre-war motorcycles has turned into a huge event - TROG 2019

Large crowds arrive to watch the races on Saturday and Sunday - TROG

Large crowds arrive to watch the races on Saturday and Sunday - TROG

#55 #56 The comradery among riders is why many do it - TROG 2019

#55 #56 The comradery among riders is why many do it - TROG 2019

#313 People come from all over the US, Europe and Asia to race - TROG 2019

#313 People come from all over the US, Europe and Asia to race - TROG 2019

The race takes place in heats along a straight at the water's edge - TROG 2019

The race takes place in heats along a straight at the water's edge - TROG 2019

The famous Flag Girl is actually a few generations of Flag Girls - TROG 2019

The famous Flag Girl is actually a few generations of Flag Girls - TROG 2019

#57 Once at the end of the track, riders wait to have the all clear to ride back - TROG 2019

#57 Once at the end of the track, riders wait to have the all clear to ride back - TROG 2019

#57 and #126 Racers team up in heats of 2 - TROG 2019

#57 and #126 Racers team up in heats of 2 - TROG 2019

#65 Both cars and pre-war bikes enter to race - TROG

#65 Both cars and pre-war bikes enter to race - TROG

#87 The Flag Girl - TROG 2019

#87 The Flag Girl - TROG 2019

The Flag Girl - TROG 2019

The Flag Girl - TROG 2019

Waiting to race - TROG 2019

Waiting to race - TROG 2019

Riders line up two by two to race, that doesn't necessarily mean the bike will start - TROG 2019

Riders line up two by two to race, that doesn't necessarily mean the bike will start - TROG 2019

#53 and #79 Waiting to race - TROG 2019

#53 and #79 Waiting to race - TROG 2019

At the starting line two by two - TROG 2019

At the starting line two by two - TROG 2019

#53 - TROG 2019

#53 - TROG 2019

#55 - TROG 2019

#55 - TROG 2019

#824 Teramuto on the servi-car - TROG 2019

#824 Teramuto on the servi-car - TROG 2019

The thrill of the race - TROG 2019

The thrill of the race - TROG 2019

Wind and waves at your back - TROG 2019

Wind and waves at your back - TROG 2019

TROG 2019

TROG 2019

#47 TROG 2019

#47 TROG 2019

#50 TROG 2019

#50 TROG 2019

#88 TROG 2019

#88 TROG 2019

#420 TROG 2019

#420 TROG 2019

# 1188 Until next year - TROG 2019

# 1188 Until next year - TROG 2019

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