Every year for the past 8 years, this carnival of vintage speed machines, friendly competition and throwback styling known as The Race of Gentlemen (TROG), has been staged on the beaches of New Jersey. This year’s events will be held in Wildwood, NJ, October 3-6. On Thursday and Friday there is a swap meet, followed by a party Friday night called the “Night of the Troglodytes.” Saturday and Sunday are race days, and on Saturday night there’s a Bonfire Beach Party. There is also a custom car show both days as well as live music, a kids’ area and food and beer vendors. The marquis event is two days of drag racing in somewhat steampunk, antediluvian looking vehicles on the beach, just like the good old days. TROG is fashioned around the idea of history coming alive briefly, if perhaps somewhat nostalgically or whimsically. The rules for race entrants are straightforward. For car entries, car bodies must be “1934 or older, American-made only.” The engines can be “American-made 4 cylinders and V8 Flatheads up to 1953.” The running gear must be from “1953 and older. No modern transmissions, disc brakes or alternators, etc.” Motorcycle entries must be “1947 and older American-made motorcycles.” Some exceptions are made however. As the website proclaims, “TROG goes to great lengths to bring spectators back in time to those early days of racing. We expect our racers to have the time of their lives and to showboat their machines to the fullest. Cars and bikes must be hopped up and look authentic to racings golden era.”
Dressing appropriately in vintage race attire is fundamental, certainly, by the participants. These photos, provided by photographer Sumner Dilworth, capture the hugely compelling artistry of the event—vintage machines which not only look the part but compete as well, and racers draped in leather, goggles and helmets just like days gone by. Sumner Dilworth’s work betrays the simple engineering genius of that bygone era together with the classic old time look and feel, which melds sublimely with the roar of engines and the whirl of sand and sea spray from each run down the shoreline. It is a timeless quality and a powerful message expressed in the images. Perhaps, as stated on the TROG website, the message is this:
For more on The Race of Gentlemen, visit theraceofgentlemen.com.
Photos by Sumner Dilworth
For more of Sumner’s remarkable imagery go to: sumnerdilworth.com and check out his Instagram page @sumnerdilworth