Wes Cooley (motorcyclist)

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Wes Cooley
Born Wesley Steven Cooley
(1956-06-28) June 28, 1956 (age 62)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Motorcycle racer

Wester Steven Cooley, (born June 28, 1956 in Los Angeles, California), better known as Wes, was an American 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]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Reg Pridmore
AMA Superbike Champion
1979–1980
Succeeded by
Eddie Lawson