R.I.P.: Superbike Champion Wes Cooley (Updated)

R.I.P.: Superbike Champion Wes Cooley (Updated)

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By John Ulrich.

Copyright 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

By John Ulrich

Two-time AMA Pro Superbike Champion Wester “Wes” Steven Cooley died Saturday, October 16 at his home in Twin Falls, Idaho, from complications of diabetes. He was 65 years old.

Cooley won the 1979 and 1980 AMA Superbike Championships while riding Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000s. He also co-rode to victories in the Suzuka 8-Hour races in 1978, sharing a Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 with Mike Baldwin, and in 1980, sharing another Yoshimura Suzuki with Graeme Crosby.

After retiring from AMA Pro racing, Cooley raced in the WERA National Endurance Series with Team Suzuki Endurance/Team Hammer and worked as the lead instructor for the Team Hammer Advanced Riding School.

Cooley went on to become a nurse.

Cooley was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004 and served as the Grand Marshal for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days in 2016.

Cooley is survived by his partner of 25 years, Melody Rose, sister Lisa (Cooley) Cohen, son Wester “Wes Jr.” Cooley, and daughters Alexis (Cooley) Halpert and Nikita Cooley.

“I just talked to him two weeks ago and he sounded great,” Lisa (Cooley) Cohen told Roadracingworld.com. “So, this has kind of hit me like a two-by-four.”

Lisa (Cooley) Cohen, who is married to Micky Cohen, owner of performance shop Mickey Cohen Motorsports, said there are currently no plans for a memorial service but that could change. If it does, Roadracingworld.com will post the details. Godspeed, Wes Cooley.



Wes Cooley and Gary Fisher talk in the pits, circa 1976. Photo by John Ulrich, copyright 2008.
Wes Cooley and Gary Fisher talk in the pits, circa 1976. Photo by John Ulrich, copyright 2008.

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