Wes Cooley (motorcyclist)

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Wes Cooley
Born June 28, 1956
Los Angeles, CA
Occupation Motorcycle racer

Wester Steven Cooley, (b. June 28, 1956 in Los Angeles, California), better known as Wes, was a motorcycle road racer in the AMA Superbike class. He won the 1979 and 1980 AMA Superbike Championships on a Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000s.[1]

Cooley got his start on the Southern California club racing scene where his father ran a club racing organization. He honed his skills in the smaller classes before being hired by Pops Yoshimura to race a Kawasaki KZ1000 in the newly formed AMA production class. He won his first AMA superbike race in 1977.[1] For the 1978 season, Yoshimura switched to better handling Suzuki bikes and Cooley began winning regularly. He teamed up with Mike Baldwin to win the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hours race in Japan.[2] In 1980, he teamed up with Graeme Crosby to win at Suzuka a second time.[3] Cooley went on to win his first superbike national championship in 1979.[1] He successfully defended his crown in 1980 by fighting off future Hall of Famers Eddie Lawson on a Kawasaki and Freddie Spencer on a Honda.[1]

In 1985 Cooley suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash at Sears Point Raceway.[1] He eventually recovered to race again but he was never able to recapture his form. After his retirement from racing, he worked as an instructor at a riding school (WCRA) before taking up a career in the medical profession. Cooley was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004.[1]


Preceded by
Reg Pridmore
AMA Superbike Champion
Succeeded by
Eddie Lawson