Chino, CA (April 9, 2018) – Two-time AMA Superbike Champion and Motorcycle Hall of Famer Wes Cooley will be a special guest at the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta, the opening round of the 2018 MotoAmerica Championship this weekend, April 13-15, at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia.
In addition to fans being able to meet Cooley himself, they’ll also get to see his historic 1979 Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 Superbike, the machine he rode to the 1979 AMA Superbike Championship. It was the first Suzuki to win the AMA Superbike title.
Cooley’s visit to Road Atlanta is part of the 40th Anniversary celebration of the formation of Yoshimura Suzuki, the winningest team in MotoAmerica/AMA Superbike history.
“We’re excited to have Wes as our special guest for the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta,” said Suzuki Race Support Manager, Pat Alexander. “Wes gave Suzuki its very first AMA Superbike Championship and he’s always had a special connection with racing fans.”
In the late 1970s Cooley was a young, hard-charging rider who helped usher in the modern era of AMA Superbike racing. Followers of the era remember Cooley racing with rear tire smoking, front wheel in the air, forcing his will upon bikes that weren’t originally made for the racetrack. He changed the face of the then new Superbike class.
Cooley won AMA Superbike Championships in 1979 and 1980.
“I had the privilege of working with Wes during the 1980 and ’81 seasons,” said Don Sakakura, President of Yoshimura Racing. “We didn’t have many mechanics on the team in those days and I’d just started with the company. When I think about it today, I have to say I learned a lot about racing through Wes. We had a great relationship and I’m happy we’ll be reunited this weekend.”
Cooley has great memories of Road Atlanta. He won there late in the 1980 season en route to winning his second AMA Superbike title.
Toni Elias and Roger Hayden finished first and second in last year’s Road Atlanta Superbike Race Two on their Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000 racing machines. Elias went on the win the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship. The popular Spaniard begins his title defense this weekend at Road Atlanta.
Five classes will compete in the Suzuki Championship at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia: Superbike (Saturday and Sunday), Supersport (Saturday and Sunday), Junior Cup (Saturday and Sunday), Twins Cup (Saturday) and Stock 1000 (Sunday). Practice and qualifying will be held on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, WERA will race its 1000 Superbike class on Sunday.