Californian from Los Angeles, two-time AMA Sbk champion, he has become a Suzuki icon with whom he also won the Suzuka 8 Hours twice. After leaving the races he had studied medicine. He had long suffered from diabetes
Wes Cooley, two-time Ama Superbike champion and American motorcycling icon, passed away on Saturday 16 October at the age of 65 due to complications from diabetes, which he was ill with. Wester Steven Cooley was among the first riders to race in the Ama Superbike category. The formula, born in the USA in the early 70s and up to the present day, was as simple as it was spectacular: bikes derived from the series, with a limited series of modifications so as not to upset the starting vehicle.
the history of the ama sbk
Already since 1976, the Ama Superbike championship at its official debut, becomes the battleground of the Japanese maxi motorcycles: although this first edition is won by a Bmw R 90S driven by the English Reg Pridmore, from the following year the championship will become a private affair between Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha, led by riders such as Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer and Wayne Rainey, who will soon become famous also in Europe for their victories in the 500 class.
Wes Cooley made his debut in the championship in 1977, on a Kawasaki Z1 prepared by Pop Yoshimura, but it will be with the Suzuki GS 1000 that he will collect his most important successes and when the following year the union between Suzuki and Yoshimura will be born, Wes Cooley with his race number 34, he will become an icon in the Ama Superbike category, winning the 1979 and 1980 championships and also going on to win two editions of the 8 Hours of Suzuka paired with Mike Baldwin and Graeme Crosby. Flag of the house of Hamamatsu, Wes Cooley will also race in the National Endurance Series category, until in 1985 he is the victim of a serious racing accident at the Sears Point circuit. Already undermined in the body by diabetes, the Californian rider will decide to embark on a new career by graduating in nursing medicine, while remaining in the world of motorcycling as head instructor for the Team Hammer Advanced Riding School.
cooley among the greats
Inducted into the Ama Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004, Cooley will forever remain in the imagination of fans as the long-haired Californian who tamed his big red and black Japanese four-cylinder. Californian, born in Los Angeles in June of ’56, he leaves Melody Rose, his long-time partner, along with his son Wes jr and daughter Alexis.
October 24 – 11:48 am
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