Santa Barbara | California
660 Feet Of Thrills!
The Race of Gentlemen is a 1/8 mile drag established in Wildwood, New Jersey in 2012 and transplanted in whole to the streets of Santa Barbara for two days in March, featuring the fastest & fiercest pre-WWII bangers, flatheads and motorcycles from around the US and abroad. Conceived as a beach race but staged here on a straight with links to Southern California street racing history, it was another event for the books, with thousands in attendance, endorsements from the city (who entered their own police cars) and sponsorship from Harley Davidson, Warsteiner Beer, Marvel Oil Co. and the American Hot Rod Foundation.
The sum of T.R.O.G.’s footprint was the 1/4-mile beach drag and the adjacent Hilton hotel, which became a troglodyte haunt for one long weekend, with a curated handful of prime vintage show cars mixed in with more informal car shows and swap meets around the property, and a constant procession of Southern California’s finest cars and bikes to its side. The event kicked off with an opening night party in the hotel lobby, with dozens of car and motorcycle clubs representing as well as hundreds of spectators and enthusiasts, and a few celebrities and racing figures.
The second day was quarter-mile drags from early morning to sundown, with a steady stream of domestic builds in various states of finish backed up behind the start line and into the Hilton parking lot, aka. The Pit, where drivers tuned their machines and caught up between rounds.
Aside from the occasional drone and high-tech camera at the starting line everything about the race felt period, from the venue and the crowd down to the signage gracing the dividers and barrier fences designed by House Industries, one of a few shops qualified to brand an event of this vintage pedigree. And with blue skies, palm trees and the Pacific as a backdrop, it couldn’t have been a better day at the races.