Friday, October 16, 2015

The Race of Gentlemen 2015 - On the Street #TROG

So, as much fun as the actual race is, there's a lot of time off the beach at The Race of Genglemen.  Here's some photos from the street and the lot at the host location, accross the street from the Starlux Hotel.  A ton of good times to be had.

I raced this killer car on Sunday, but unfortunately it broke mid-run and it had to be towed back to the pits.

Bobby Green's little Whippet Speedster.  This thing is so neat.

The Barris and Donato '31 Roadster along with our '24 T in front of the Starlux

Yeah, whatever, Claydo.  Just act natural.

Clayton havin' a morning chat with Mr. Brian Bass, who happened to bring a car that our buddy Flip once owned, and it spent some of that time at Clay's house.

The Race of Gentlemen 2015 - At the Track #TROG

Ah, The Race of Gentlemen.  I've wanted to go since I first saw event coverage a few years ago.  And it didn't disappoint.  So much cool stuff to look at and a lot of like-minded folks to hang out with.  What a load of fun.  This is one of those things where if you have any sort of interest in these kinds of things, and if you have a chance to go, you really should.  It's a good time guaranteed. Here's some photos from the beach, mostly Saturday.

These are some of the original Oilers from way back.

Bobby Green and his neat little Whippet Speedster.

Mel Stultz directs traffic during the Oilers' kick-off, break-the-track-in romp on Saturday Morning.

Mel Stultz

The Race of Gentlemen 2015 - Our Trip: Clayton's Hot Rods #TROG

Sooo... yes.  The Clayton did finish the car up enough to get it on the trailer and on the way to The Race of Gentlemen.  It was a rush to get it done on top of his regular workload, but he and Casey got it done and even got a little bit of a shakedown in.  To say I was excited to see it show up is an understatement.  When it got to Wildwood, New Jersey at about 2pm, Clay, Lars Mapstead, (whose car, the Barris and Donato Bronze Flame '31 Roadster) found Ben, the shipper, in front of our Hotel.  Once unloaded, we took it for a little spin around town, then power-parked at the event HQ across from the StarLux Hotel. 

While parked at the event, someone pointed out something we hadn't noticed: between the time it left Clayton's and when we parked it there, the welds at the corners of the front cross-member had cracked.  Luckily, though, there were some well-prepared gentlemen whose trailer was parked directly in front of our hotel.  Mr. Jim Laughlin had thought ahead and brought a little welder, and was happy to loan it to us along with some material to make a couple doubler plates to strengthen up those two spots.

Jim, if'n you ever read this, we are, (as I said probably too many times before) eternally in your debt.  And hopefully, winning the bracket races on Sunday was just deserts for being such a nice and well prepared guy.  Thanks again, Jim.

Well, anyway, Clayton got it buttoned up better than new, and disaster averted, we went back to the party.

The next day, up early, we went to get in line for the beach.

In the pits, I was stoked to see how many cars were there, even with the 1-week postponement. Lots of great stuff to look at.

Eventually, it was time to gear up and go.

'Course, everyone else thought so, too, so there was some waiting to be done.

Eventually, Clay and Lars got to the front of the line...

...and away they went!

Lars won round one, but that may have been due to a bad idea I had for keeping sand outta the carbs.  My bad.  The next race was better.

Clay had another run at Lars, and this one was much closer.  After lunch, I got in line to take a run, but the spectator intermission and the rising tide ran the race out of time.  It was okay, though.  Chatting with the spectators, who were pretty excited about the whole deal, was kinda fun.  I got interviewed a couple of times... I dunno.  Rock star I ain't.

On Sunday, I grabbed the car and went down to the beach myself.  I made a few runs with mixed success.  I had a great race with Lars where he won by just a couple of inches, and I won a couple of other races, one by default, the other outright.  Had I lost them all, it still would have been a great time, though, for sure.

Around mid-afternoon, we ran into our friends Steve and Rebecca who had made the trip to TROG all the way from England.  As Steve was probably the most gentlemanly person we'd met on this trip, we thought he should take a run or two in the '24. 

Clay took the Bronze Flame '31 and gave Steve a pretty good race. 

I mean, look at this guy!  If ever there were a more gentlemanly specimen, I ain't never seen 'im.

Steve wanted to have another run, so we set him up against Ben, our shipper, in Lars' car.

Steve won that one, and boy was he stoked.  It was really cool to share the experience with someone who'd come so far to check it out.  You should've seen the smile on his face!

So, what a weekend.  Tons of fun, lots of great cars, and a bunch of new friends.  On top of it all, the '24 will be shipped from NJ to my house, which will be the first time it's been under my roof.  It's been a bunch of years in the making, and it feels a little funny that I'm not gonna have to go all the way to California to poke at it.

And it's all 'cause of Clay.  7 years ago, he said to me, "I know you probably won't have the opportunity to do this on your own, so why don't you come down and we'll start putting this thing together for you."  Well, we did, and what I got was so much more than just a hot rod.  There are pieces of so many of my best friends in that car, and every time I drive it, I get to bring them with me.  Smiles for miles.

Now, how the hell do you pay someone back for something like that?