Story by Mitch “Magoo” Bodine
Photos by Mitch “Magoo” Bodine and Mad Stork
Originally Published In The February 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
This year’s third installment of The Race of Gentlemen, or TROG as it has become known, started off on a beautiful Friday. The event was once again put on by Meldon Van Stultz III and his new partner Bobby Green, with support from The Oilers CC/MC. We pulled into Wildwood, NJ around lunch time and went right to the Airstream Lot, which is race headquarters for the weekend. All of the racers check in here with their rides. A ton of very cool hot rods and motorcycles showed up to race. Story by Mitch “Magoo” Bodine Photos by Mitch “Magoo” Bodine and Mad Stork There were so many that even walking around the streets was a show in and of itself. As the day went on the area became a sea of vintage rides and it became apparent that everyone had brought their A game. The evening’s festivities were titled “Night of the Troglodytes Chopper Show” and was held at the Surf Comber Motel. This chopper show was the brain storm of Mel and he enlisted help from Tradition Cycle Mfg’s, Harley Carrara. We brought down The Pusher by French Kiss Kustoms for the show and parked it right out front.
When night fell it was a full on epic chopper show. The Oilers voted for their best of show winner; Mikael Motorcycle with a terrific Flathead. Harley chose Buddy Miller with his ‘51 Panhead as Tradition Cycle Mfg’s best of show winner. I have to say we had a great time all night. The spirits were flowing well into the wee hours. After a fantastic evening we wandered off to our room to get a little sleep because Mother Nature had scheduled an 8 a.m. race start. Mel hasn’t figured out how to control the oceans tides yet. I know that I for one moved in slow motion Saturday morning. It was an overcast and rainy day but that didn’t stop the show from going on.
The ocean decided to wash one of The Oilers scoring towers out to sea a little bit and that became a back drop for most everyone’s photos including mine. Despite the nasty weather, racing went off on schedule and a huge crowd showed up. Hollywood Jeff Baer on his trusty ‘46 Knucklehead was first on the track for some hot laps. The emcee on the mic was Nick Foster who definitely kept the crowd entertained and informed all day. Here comes a shameless plug for some of my buddies that were racing! Josh Kohn from Immortal Ink was there in full force with his 42 Harley Flathead and his 31 Ford Model A. For this year Josh did a full rebuild on both racers. The Flathead was hot-rodded up at USA Cycle in Middlesex, NJ by owner Rob VanCleef. For the Ford he went to legendary hot rodder Mark Conforth. He chopped the top and built the hopped up Model B four banger motor. Rick Petko was racing again this year with basically the same ‘47 Harley Flathead as last year but with some little mods and gearing changes. He also brought his new ‘47 Knucklehead but unfortunately due to some magneto issues wasn’t able to see much track time.
Mark Stevens from Rollin Bones Motor Company was at TROG last year as a spectator with the Panhead that you saw in the pages of Cycle Source Magazine in a previous issue. During the interview for that story he told me he was going to have to build a racer, and that he did! He brought a beautiful 1945 Harley Knucklehead that he built specifically for racing. You will be able to read a full feature on it soon. Mark was a little nervous at first but as he got more track time he got more comfortable on his new ride. The big ass grin he had made him easy to spot. Sunday’s race weather was beautiful and there was a packed house of spectators.
The track on Sunday ended up getting a little rough on the top end side and had riders on the pegs. Racing was close and fast all day and had more runs getting done because the weather cooperated. The crowd was treated to a vintage motorcycle display by Harley Davidson Motor Co. and a sweet vintage surfboard collection from Pat Cronin. The collection came complete with a hut and old Woody’s you could check out while you got food from the (various) vendors. Next year’s show is sure to be bigger and better. Mel is up to his old tricks. As I write this he’s working on an old Daytona style beach/road race for next year. Keep posted about the 2015 event by visiting www.theraceofgentlemen.com.