It struck me as we weaved through the sea of families and groups of teenagers stuffing their faces with fried foods or waiting in lines on the boardwalk that I had no idea what I’d signed up for when I’d agreed to make the trip to Wildwood for The Race Of Gentlemen.
“A bunch of guys bring their cars and bikes (the cars have to be pre ‘53 and bikes pre ‘47) and drag race them on the beach. There’s a custom car show and a bonfire, it’s a great time” was about all Mike Smith, founder of Get Lowered Cycles, said when he asked me to come join them. My schedule was open and I love new experiences, so I booked a ticket and then, as happens, I got busy and didn’t think much about it until we were in the car on the way to the beach.
Wildwood, New Jersey, the home of the race, is on the southern tip of the barrier islands first made famous by the lights of Atlantic City and later by Paulie D and Snookie. Unlike those places, Wildwood has a much more PG-13 feel. The clubs and bars have been exchanged for carnival rides, fried food stands, and kitschy t-shirt shops. The drunk young twenty-somethings for gluttonous 13-year-olds high on sugar.