Today was the last day of the 2nd Annual Race of Gentlemen, a 4 day event that celebrates gear heads and beach racing in a way that you just have to experience in order to appreciate. There were flat head Ford V8s, four bangers and some wild antique cars being raced on the beach. What I mean by "on the beach" is at the edge of the beach, where you walk out another 10 feet and you've got waves crashing at your feet.
I drove down about two and a half hours to meet my girlfriends family Saturday evening, paid a ridiculous entrance fee to walk down a hot sandy beach in order to stand there for 3 hours and take pictures of motorcycles and old cars race down the beach. Then, after it was all said and done, I took a nap, and drove another two and half hours home. All in, the weekend cost me a lot more money than I would have liked. Gassing up the car both ways was about $70, entrance fee to the event was $40 for me and my girlfriend, and then eating out Saturday night was $20. If you're like me, you took someone else's car with an EZPass, otherwise factor in another $15 in quarters for the tolls (it's more than you need, but it'll get you there and back). I'll tell you something though, next year I'll do it again. And I'll probably take time off work when it comes around to make it easier. And I'll brown bag it because food is expensive. And I'll probably look to get a press pass instead of paying so much to get in. That'll cut the expenses about half. But you don't drive all over hell to go to these events to bitch about the cost.
The cars were amazing. They're cobbled together, they look like the most unsafe things on wheels, and they're being driven basically flat out on a completely unsafe surface. It sounded incredible, it was worth the sunburn, and the people there are great to talk to. It was so much fun that I was joking with my girlfriend that we would get a rat rod and enter some year, just for the hell of it. It's got nothing to do with winning these events, there were guys who drove their cars slowly down the "track" just to do it, and that's the spirit of these events. It wasn't necessarily a "family friendly" event, given the language used by the MC as well as what the drivers were doing, but that's what makes it better.
Having spent a summer going to cruise nights 2-3 and sometimes 4 nights a week and then going to car shows on the side, this event was incredibly fun. It was something that I heard about Wednesday night, and then just dropped everything to make sure I went down Saturday afternoon just so I could see a single day of it. More events like this need to happen because it's something that really goes deep into car culture (and in this case motorcycle culture as well). The whole town of Wildwood was out of control for the weekend. Guys in old cars wreaking havoc burning rubber and making more noise than is necessary (but not enough to be too much fun yet) and bikers riding around to enjoy it. That said, some of the packs of bikers were not the most pleasant bunch, and some of the drivers were crabby, but for the most part, it was a welcomed event, and it ended up being more than I expected it to be.
One of the motorcycles that was being ridden at the event was found completely submerged in water, and had been completely restored back to running condition. It was an old old Indian Motorcycle that looked the part, rode well, and had been given a second chance at life. Something so many other cars and bikes don't get. So I can only hope that other people make it a point to attend these events, and like Cars and Coffee hit it big and stretched across the world even, little events like this can hit it big and keep car culture alive.