“With caffeine levels topped up for the five hour journey to south wales, I was finally going to experience the buzz that surrounds the VHRA Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races.Stepping back in time doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s one of those events that people can’t stop talking about, and they assure others that haven’t been that they need to make the pilgrimage. Everyone congregates on the hill waiting for the tide to go out before the racing can begin– and when it did the two hundred strong fleet of rods seemed endless making their way to the pits on the historic beach.
With the sun bursting through the few clouds in the sky, it was as if our brothers across the pond at the east coast The Race Of Gentleman in Wildwood NJ, had sent some sunshine to the U.K. as rods and customs were kicking up sand on both sides of the Atlantic.
Sara Francello — To say she’s the TROG flag-girl is like saying Michael Jordan was a Chicago Bulls’ guard. I don’t know where the hell Sara gets the energy to jump and do what she does out there time and time again with such oomph and enthusiasm. When the racers line-up there’s no question who is in charge, and who has everyone’s attention. You may not remember all the hot rods and bikes at TROG– but you will remember Sara and how she gave it all out there on the sand for 2 days straight. Photo © Sean Madden
“Sushi” Atsushi Yasui of Freewheelers & Co. The Race of Gentlemen 2016, Wildwood NJ– Photo © Sean Madden
Sean Madden came into the TSY shop last summer emitting an abundance smiles and good vibes. I liked this guy right away. We chatted about his passion for motorcycles and photography, and reconnected a few times since. Well, he decided to bite the bullet and come down to Wildwood, NJ and shoot The Race of Gentlemen 2016– which can be quite daunting as many of the best photographers in the business now religiously make the trek to TROG. When I got a look at some of his shots I was impressed enough to ask if TSY could share them with all of you. I especially dig his shots like the one above of Sushi racing. Sean’s shots where he’s intentionally cropping the images of the riders & machine flying out of frame emit a sense of speed and movement that I dig. Definitely very different from a lot of the standard TROG imagery you see these days. Hope y’all enjoy.
The Race of Gentlemen, 2016, Wildwood NJ– Photo © Sean Madden
Love this shot of Chris Price of Archive Moto on his Indian that traces back to Bill Brownell, married striptease legend Patti “Waggin'” Brownell– Photo © Sean Madden
The Race of Gentlemen 2015 shined bright in terms of excitement and attendance– even in the shadow of a hurricane threat, and sharing the same weekend with the widely attended Barber Vintage Days motorcycle show. Mel Stultz, Bobby Green, and the team were admittedly short-handed due to the last minute need to push back a week into the off-season, but everything seemingly came-off without a hitch due to the passion, positivity, and perseverance of all involved in putting on what many call The Greatest Race on Earth. Thank you!
Allan Glanfield (one half of The GodSpeed Company and founder of Blackburn and Foster & City Dog Living) generously captured the weekend for The Selvedge Yard — The sea of jaw-dropping hot rods and bikes, and the colorful cast of characters that convened in Wildwood, NJ for the races and to get shit-faced. In that order. Both with gusto. With all the photographers on-hand, the challenge was to balance the must-have shots right in front of your face with pulling away from the pack to find the gems that occur off to the side, caught with a candid eye. Allan more than succeeded, and we are excited to share his captures of TROG weekend.
All photography in this post: the work and property of Allan Glanfield @blackburnandfoster
Photographer Bastian Glaessner shot these incredibly cool pics of vintage hot rod racing at the legendary Pendine Sands. His eye and unique style has created a strong signature that feels rich and nostalgic. The images are so stunning, I could stare at these all day…
“I was super chuffed when Neil Fretwell of the VHRA recently invited me up to the rugged Welsh headland that holds the infamous ‘Pendine Sands’ for a weekend of vintage racing. Since the early 1920s cars have pelted down this 7-mile stretch of fine golden grains to chase automotive speed records. On this early July weekend a mad crowd of hot rod racers from all over Europe had assembled their beasts at this historic spot. By the time I got there Friday after dark, the field around the Museum of Speed was brimming with glorious pre-1949 rods, glistening in the moonlight, begging to be let loose on the endless stretch of tidal sands below.” ~Bastian Glaessner
“Come Saturday morning and first the Welsh weather gods got their own. Heavy winds and some blistering downpours overnight meant racers had to be patient a little while longer whilst the team of helping hands were busy getting the course up and running. Once the fences were up, the 110 yard timing section established and the mile long track cleared of stranded giant jellyfish, the show got underway. As if on cue the sun popped out from behind the clouds, crowds gathered on the beach and with a mighty “ROOOAR…” our cars rolled out onto the sands to line up in the pits. What an exciting display of vintage sheet metal that was!” ~Bastian Glaessner
Friend, Todd Blubaugh, is behind the camera chasing Steve Huff (former top fuel Harley-Davidson racer, land speed record holder, and custom bike builder) from the garage to the world’s fastest race tracks on his quest to claim more land speed records. Speed Freak highlights Huff’s massive racing brains and balls. His technical prowess and unnerving passion are equally matched– the perfect chemistry for creating timeless stories that speak to the indomitable human spirit and our hunger for adventure. I’d definitely be stoked to see this on-air as a television series as I just don’t see anything of this caliber out there.
“Racing is beautiful but it destroys men. Trying to capture the passion of land speed racing is like trying to catch a tornado. The men and women who make the year round sacrifice to race on the salt yield at NOTHING to beat their last record. But even under the pressure of the setting sun, I watched these people remain encouraging and thoughtful to one another no matter their status or reputation. There is a spirit of communion at this church of salt because everyone knows that the gods of speed lift some men up, but destroy others.
There is nothing like this on the planet and I consider myself blessed to have witnessed these people giving themselves to the pursuit of something that they find meaningful. The passion and tenacity of these men and women have forever changed my understanding of hard work and excellence and we hope this show will do the same for others.”
Jade, Hot Rod Night, Ace Cafe London, 2013 — Image by © Horst A. Friedrichs
I’m a big fan of Horst A. Friedrichs. (I have literally worn the cover off of my copy of Or Glory, 21st Century Rockers.) His style is about as far away as you can get from the balls-out vibe in a lot of today’s lifestyle photography (which I also obviously love). In Horst, there’s a strong sense of controlled curation in every stunning portrait. No minute detail escapes his critical eye. Every subject is perfectly directed (dressed, coiffed, posed) to evoke the desired mood. Horst is much more than a great photographer– he’s an artist imposing his masterful will upon the subject and setting to create lasting images that move you through their overall flawless composition. In Horst’s latest book Drive Style he dives into Britain’s rich & eclectic car culture, capturing amazing rare, historical, and custom automobiles alone or with their owners, drivers, and spectators. Keep reading to find out how you can win a free copy signed by Horst A. Friedrichs.
Scott Toepfer, a guy I’m humbled to call my friend, came to the Jersey Shore to shoot the second annual The Race of the Gentlemen organized by Mel Stultz (OCC) and put on by the legendary Oiler’s Car Club. It’s an event that can only be adequately described by someone who was actually there in the thick of it– and Toepfer was kind enough to share his personal thoughts with TSY on the sights, sounds, and experiences had by a California boy in Wildwood, Jersey. Great stuff, Scott!
“Niki Lauda had raised concerns about the safety of the track at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, but couldn’t convince other drivers to join him in protest. Due to a reported rear suspension failure, coupled with a wet track, his car swerved off course, hit an embankment, and burst into flames. Trapped inside the car, Lauda inhaled toxic gases and suffered severe burns to his entire head, including his scalp and eyelids. Lauda lapsed into a coma and nearly died. Yet just six weeks later, he was back on the track—and on James Hunt’s tail.” via
This past week, Lee Raskin (motorsports historian, author, and vintage racer) wrote and said he’d recently gotten some racing friends together for a Rush viewing night in Baltimore. He shared his educated theory on a deeply intriguing scene that seems to nod to an old school racing superstition. So with all due respect, esteemed Director Ron Howard, there’s a question that begs to be asked here…
So there’s this little festival called Chopped put on each year in Country Victoria – Australia. The guys were kind enough to send TSY a note as they thought we would appreciate the madness that they create down under… Enjoy!
Drag racing where it started– in the dirt!
A throwback in time to a 1950s – ’60s Hop Up Carnival! Hundreds of cars and bikes rattled by the sounds of 25+ bands belting the roots of rock music to thousands of Rockers, Petrol Heads, Hipsters & Greasers! This is Chopped the only festival of its type it in the world!