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NOLA Motorsports Park Blog

Clint Austin Brings Vintage Racing to NOLA

Posted by NOLA Motorsports on Mar 14, 2016 4:37:54 PM

The NOLA Vintage Grand Prix kicks off this weekend (March 18-20th)

The 3 days of vintage motorcycle racing, music, swap meets, and much more probably wouldn't have come together without the work of passionate people like Clint Austin. 

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The Navy diver turned oil & gas industry vessel Captain had been only a casual motorcycle rider until a visit to NOLA Motorsports Park exposed him to the madness of real racers on a closed course going impossibly fast, dragging their knees in curves, and making it all look incredibly fun.

From that day, he was hooked. 

Clint now races competitively and has started a business called NOLA Riding Academy that teaches riders proper technique and rents out small displacement race bikes for people to hit the track on. His love of all things two-wheeled has now gotten him involved with AHRMA and the NOLA Vintage Grand Prix. We talked to Clint about how he got involved with AHRMA, what kinds of bikes he now rides, and what he's looking forward to seeing at the Grand Prix this weekend. 

 
 
What is your connection to AHRMA?
I started racing 3 years ago in a class called the open 2-stroke, but I switched over to the Thruxton Class where they race the Triumph 900s. So I'll be racing out there this weekend as well as setting up my tent with info on NOLA Riding Academy.
 
I was visiting [NOLA Motorsports Park] and saw some motorcycles racing around and thought I'd like to give it a try. I started doing track days and saw that it was a lot more fun and safer than being on the streets. You can't push a motorcycle to its limits on the street, but you can on the track. And that translates over to a better rider on the street. 
 
That's why I'm getting into the rental stuff. It's sad and you get tired of reading about people getting hurt and killed on the highway. A lot of times it's not their fault at all, but  more skilled rider might have been able to avoid it.
 
What kind of motorcycles do you ride?
I race two R6s. I'm a little better on the larger bikes, so I also have two BMW S1000RRs.
 
What are you most looking forward to seeing out there this weekend?
I like the older bikes and two-stroke classes. Watching that and the Sound of Thunder class will be cool. I'm also really excited about the dirt track. They're also doing a hooligan class where you can pretty much just run whatever you ride in on. 
 
There's just going to be so much going on out there. There's burlesque, scooter racing, 
 
You're having the first flat track races out at NOLA Motorsport Park, will there be a group out there racing with no brakes?
I'm not sure what bikes they're going to have. There is a guy coming up from South Florida who races some 1930s Harleys and some Indians, and I believe he does not have brakes on those.
 
I've never had the opportunity to try a flat track, so it's all pretty new to me. 
 
 
 
 
What should someone who has never seen one of these vintage races watch for this weekend?
One of the older classes, there's a couple of old 1918/1920 Harley's with the suicide clutch where the clutch is operated with your foot instead of being on the handlebar. The bikes have a gearshift like a car would have. 
 
They're also going to have some vintage sidecar races which are really exciting for people who have never seen that. You get to see the person they call "the monkey" which is the passenger that jumps around trying to distribute the weight. It's cool. 
 
 
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What is it about vintage racing that keeps people coming back?
Love and passion for motorcycles and what you grew up with. There are some bikes out here that are older than any of the men and women riding them. The passion that goes into keeping these pieces of old equipment going. You'll see people beating tanks, making their own tanks – there are some really skilled craftsmen out here basically carrying around a little machine shop on a trailer. 
 
For me, I wanted an older two-stroke. I liked the sound, I liked how the power came on. 
 
And the AHRMA crowd, you will never meet a better group of people. Everyone there would give you the shirt off you back to get you back out on the track. 
 
 

Come see it for yourself.

Whether you've been a fan of vintage bikes for years or are just curious to see what a "monkey" does – the NOLA Vintage Grand Prix has something for everyone. And with tickets starting at just $10, the whole family can come. 
 
 
Get Tickets
 

 See you at the track!

Topics: events, racing, AHRMA