More Cowboy Hat-Wearing American Racers Abroad

Thad must have borrowed his hat from King Kenny

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Thad Wolff gives the Italians fans a big smile when he sported a cowboy hat on the podium alongside fellow AMA Superbike rider Roberto Pietri at Imola in 1982. The Imola 200 weekend was likely the largest crowd Wolff and Pietri ever raced in front of. If you take a close look at the reflection on the trophy Wolff is holding, you’ll notice massive grandstands full of fans.


We recently posted a photo of Kenny Roberts playing up to the European media hype of him being a cowboy by coming to one race with a full beard and sporting a big ‘ol cowboy hat.
AMA Superbike racer Thad Wolff must have picked up on the theme, as he sported very similar headwear on the podium at Imola in 1982. Wolff scored the podium in the Imola Superbike race, a support event for the ’82 Imola 200. The race was won by another AMA Superbike standout, Roberto Pietri (standing in front of Wolff).

Wolff was a leading AMA Superbike racer of the early 1980s and had a last name tailor made for headline writers. He scored a slew of top-10 race finishes in 1981 and ’82, including a podium at Loudon in ’82. He had equally strong results in the old AMA Formula 1 class.

During his racing career Wolff began working as a photoshoot model for magazine and manufacturer shoots. Photoshoot riding is a talent in itself, with the ability not only to have a stylish look on the bike, but to be able to hold a constant line through turns, often on challenging road conditions, giving photographers the maximum opportunity to nail that perfect shot. It’s not as critical these days in the digital “spray and pray” shooting style, but in the film days having a great photoshoot rider was nearly as critical as having a great photographer.

Today Wolff’s favorite hobby is restoring and sometimes racing vintage bikes.

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