The Race of Gentlemen is all about old cars and motorcycles in motion. Images by the Hemmings staff except as noted.
The Race of Gentlemen is a dynamic event. Not only is it all about hopped-up cars and motorcycles in near-constant motion, the event itself is always changing. Sometimes those changes are due to external forces and sometimes they are internal.
This year, the race will benefit from one big external event—the phase of the moon, which means racing will get the best moon-and-tide forecast it has ever had. The moon and its effect on the tides are critical to TROG because the race track on the beach at Wildwood, New Jersey, is only usable at low tide. Thanks to a fixed date, that means some years there can be more racing than others—this is one such year.
We recently sat down with TROG ringmaster Mel Stultz to get the scoop on what else to expect from the East Coast’s favorite retro event. Many details are still unfolding, but Mel tells us that the way people attend TROG is really beginning to affect the way TROG works. Many people are arriving a day or two early, before the official events begin on Friday evening. To cater to those folks, new, earlier official events are in the works.
Hanging out at the corner of Rio Grande and Atlantic Avenues by the StarLux hotel on Thursday and Friday is the traditional way of opening TROG festivities–this year, more pre-race activities are coming.
Mel is working with local businesses in the area to create new, action-packed happenings earlier in the week—he cites the atmosphere surrounding the Paso Robles show in California during its halcyon days of the 1990s and early 2000s as inspiration, but wants to keep cars and people in motion instead of letting things be static.
Mel is also planning to address increased interest in TROG from families with children, with some very cool kid-centric happenings planned.
The Race of Gentlemen now has a YouTube channel.
The racers, of course, are the stars of the show at TROG, and Mel wants to put the spotlight on those men and women in the months leading up to the event. A new YouTube channel is in the works to provide behind-the-scenes content on racers and their builds. Those with materials to submit can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You also may have heard the exciting news that legendary customizer Gene Winfield will be attending at TROG. Winfield, at 90, has an equally long history in hot-rodding as customizing, having raced his The Thing Model T coupes at land-speed events for many years. Now, at TROG 2018, Winfield will be piloting an Ardun roadster he built in 1958 that currently belongs to Rob Ida. Winfield’s birthday also happens to be in mid-June, meaning that you can expect appropriate 91st birthday shenanigans to follow the conclusion of Sunday’s racing.
Legendary customizer Gene Winfield will be racing this 1932 Ford roadster, which he built in 1958, at The Race of Gentlemen. The plan is to strip fenders, windshield, et cetera, in the pits, just like was done in the old days. Photo by Trent Sherrill.
Best of all, that’s not it. “Dynamic” is also the byword when talking about Mel himself. He’s still working with the folks at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association to promote Bonneville attendance and he’s got an ongoing relationship with TROG’s various sponsors that are expected to bear more fun, fun fruit in the near future. Stay tuned as we bring you details on things as they develop!