Saturday, November 3, 2012

David Aldana Checks In With More Checkered Flags


I heard your interviews on line from the picnic.......Keep your day job...HA  HA. Here are some shots enjoying the good life with wife of 33 years. Still enjoy motorcycles....vintage bikes with vintage riders.

David says he’s going to try to make it to the Re-Union in September (keep those classmate name, address and email updates coming.) It’s great to hear from David again, and see him resplendent in his signature skeleton leathers, dressed in the spirit of the Halloween/Dia de los Muertos season.

The first time I saw David race he crashed in his preliminary and his crew had to bring him to with smelling salts. About a half hour later he managed to climb back on his bike and won the last prelim. As I recall he placed third in the main event, not too bad, especially when you consider that he still didn’t really seem to know where he was when he climbed back on his bike.

David had a reputation of going for broke, during his pro career he tended to either lay out his bike in a sliding crash or place in the top tier, or both. Here’s what the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame said about his style:

Aldana earned quite a reputation as a crasher in his early years on the professional circuit. He seemed to operate under a theory he laid out in a magazine interview. "If you don’t fall off now and then, you don’t know how fast you can go." At the same time he earned a nickname of the "Rubber Ball," since he always seemed to easily bounce up after spectacular crashes.

In 1970 David had one of the most memorable rookie years in the history of the American Motorcycle Association Grand National Circuit. He challenged for the National title, until he crashed in Sacramento. He ended up #3, and was featured in Bruce Brown’s 1971 documentary On Any Sunday. (He let Don Daniel and me tag along to the wrap party/luau on the beach at San Clemente.)

In the eighties David was sponsored by Kawasaki and Honda on enduro circuits. One of the biggest wins of his career was in the Suzuka Eight Hour race in Japan in 1981. In the 80’s he raced competitively in Europe, Asia and the U.S. In 1985 he retired from full time professional racing. Don later put together a documentary about David’s career. Today David lives outside Atlanta with his pretty wife, Sue Ellen.

What baffles me is that David still races, in vintage and senior races. He’s our age, when many of us have aches and pains that keep us from sports and exercise. I once watched Evel Knievel spend a couple of minutes using his canes just to get out of his car. Yet David is still putting on his skeleton suit and going for broke.

Go speed racer go. We hope you can make it to the Re-Union. You are an inspiration to all of us who believe that the phrase “age appropriate”, is usually inappropriate.

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