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NOLA Motorsports Park Blog

A Legend Comes to NOLA

Posted by NOLA Motorsports on Mar 14, 2016 5:37:54 PM

David Aldana is one fast man. 

Dirt track, road racing, AMA Grand National Championships, Trans-AMA motocross series, spreedway racing – David has done it all and has the medals to prove it. His racing style – known as being an all-or-nothing racer – made him a focal point of the Academy Award-nominated film On Any Sunday and got hin inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. And come this weekend, he will be the Grand Marshall of the NOLA Vintage Grand Prix as well as a praticipant in a few races. 

We caught up with David to talk about the event and his famous skeleton suit. 



How has racing changed since you started out in the AMA Grand National Series?

The main thing is the equipment. From the 60s to now, it's so different. A lot of what you'll see out there this weekend will be the same type and style of bike I raced on, but the tire compund is better, the rubber is better. You have better oil, better metallurgy, crank shafts, engine cases, better parts, and more reliable machines. 


NMSP: Do you have any advice for today's riders?

Aldana: Go to a track day. 

A lot of these guys probably own a road bike and want to go faster, but with traffic and whatnot the conditions just aren't condusive to getting better. 
Its so much safer to learn on a track. You have people who will let you know if there's oil on the track and riding with a bunch of riders who are all focused, turning the same way. 
It's a better way to learn. 
NMSP: Have you been to any AHRMA events in the past?
Aldana: Yes, I compete currently in AHRMA dirt track events. I go to about 10-50 per year where I'm able to compete against old guys on old bikes. I'm also competing in some dirt track events Friday and Saturday night – some short track stuff, quarter mile races. I'll be competing on a1974 XL 350 Honda. 
NMSP: What are you looking forward to seeing out there this weekend?
Aldana: Usually I end up seeing people I hvent seen in 30 or 40 years. It's kinda like a high school reunion, but it's a bike reunion. You usually end up talking about the old days. I told myself I'd never end up being one of these old guys sitting around in a chair talking about how things used to be, but 45 years later I'm doin' it.  
But, for a few moments, and only a short moment on a Sunday afternoon, you can go back and relive it all. 
NMSP: That draw is probably pretty universal with guys that come out to these events?
Aldana: Oh it is. I see people out there racing, I'll notice someone going fast out there that's my age and I'll ask them 'where were you in 78 when we were out there racing these things?' And they always say, they got married and had kids. Now that their kids are out of the house they can get back out there and race the bikes they always wanted to. 
NMSP: What motorcycles do you own?
Aldana: Actually, I bought that first bike, the Suzuki, and everything else was given to me so I just gave them away or gave them back to the manufacturer. The only bikes I own now are the Hondas that I bought to ride in these vintage races. I can't even remember how many manufacturers I rode for – 8, 10. I kinda wish I had saved some now that I've seen how much those bikes are going for. I rode them and blew them up, I didn't give a damn who fixed them or where they went – my job was just to ride them. 
NMSP: Looking like there will be nice weather but it might be too hot for your famous black skeleton suit, do you have linen version yet?
Aldana: No, I'm on about the 5th or 6th generation of that suit. It's not too bad in that thing once you get moving. 
For all the world championship races, national champioship races, and state races – people remember that suit more than anything I won. I feel a little ridiculous sometimes putting them on as a grown man wearing a damn halloween costume, but people like it. 
I got it from the Little Rascals. They were racing for money and they all dressed up in primitive black suits and they just had white paint on their suits. 

The NOLA Vintage Grand Prix

David does it for the fans, the guys who lived it and anyone who loves it like he did and does. He'll be more than happy to sign stuff at the dirt track events or wherever they have him set up as Grand Marshall and hopes to see a lot of people out there. 
The NOLA Vintage Grand Prix kicks off this Friday the 18th and will bring 3 days of vintage motorcycle excitement to the track. Racing, bike shows, swap meets, music, burlesque – there's a lot to see. And with tickets starting at just $10 – it's an event for the old track guys and novices alike. 
Get Tickets
Get the full list of activites here and check out what flat track-builder Rob Mclendon had to say about the big weekend. 
See you at the track!

Topics: events, racing, motorcycles, AHRMA