Grand Marshal Wes Cooley
American AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Wes Cooley hasn’t competed in any form of racing for the past 30 years. But during the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 8-10. fans will be able to rub elbows with one of greats.
Cooley will be Grand Marshal at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days – and rightfully so. He won two consecutive AMA Superbike Championship titles in 1979 and 1980, only to be outdone the next year by fellow racing legend, Eddie Lawson.
“I’m really excited to get back to the track and meet a lot of friends and fans from those exciting Superbike days,” Cooley said. “Those were some crazy years, for sure — for me and for Superbike racing in general. And since 2016 is the 40th Anniversary of Superbike racing, I really can’t think of a better reunion than to go back to Mid-Ohio as AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Grand Marshal and celebrate how exciting and popular Superbikes have been all these years.”
AMA members who purchase tickets directly from the AMA before June 6 are eligible for an exclusive discount. Any AMA members wishing to participate are encouraged to call (800) 262-5646. Weekend passes are available for $45 dollars. One day passes for Friday and Saturday are $25 dollars while Sunday has been reduced down to $20. No service charges apply when AMA members purchase their passes directly.
A two-time AMA Superbike Champion, Wes Cooley will circle the Mid-Ohio race course on the same Suzuki GS1000 Superbike he rode to his championship in 1980. The GS1000’s current owner is Superbike collector Brian O’Shea.
It’s a rare occasion to see stalwarts revisiting their stomping grounds, aboard their old bikes no less. Cooley, the two-time AMA Superbike Champion will make his way around the Mid-Ohio race course on the Suzuki GS1000 that helped him enter the history books in 1980. Brian O’Shea, the GS1000’s owner, has allowed him to do a ceremonial lap.
“I also can’t wait to ride one of my Superbikes at the event,” Cooley said. “I’m itching to climb back aboard the thing at Mid-Ohio.”
O’Shea, an avid collector, will also be bringing along many historically relevant bikes from his personal collection to the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days for all to enjoy.
“I’ve been building and collecting championship-winning Superbikes for a number of years,” O’Shea said. “Aside from the Cooley racer, I’m planning to bring Freddie Spencer’s 1985 Honda VF750F Daytona 200 winner, Reg Pridmore’s 1978 championship-winning KZ1000 and a Bubba Shobert VFR750F. With the Cooley GS, we’ll have an amazing range of classic, pedigreed, championship-winning Superbikes on display at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days this summer.”
AMA Superbike racing fans will be in for a treat this year, as it marks the 40th anniversary of the AMA Superbike Championship. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a rare opportunity that allows fans to interact with the machines that they saw rounding the courses long ago. Cooley, who is more than a familiar name to this generation of rider, will be singing autographs, participating in Q&A sessions and putting down a few laps aboard the GS1000 each day.
Its more than just checking out old bikes and schmoozing with heroes of your youth at the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days; racing is happening as well. The AMA had recently announced the competition schedule that includes motocross, trials, hare scrambles and vintage road racing. Held at the nearby Ashland County Fairgrounds, a half-mile dirt track event is set to take place. In the upper paddock, mini road racing will be going down which is always entertaining to watch. Put on by the AMA-chartered Ohio Mini Roadracing League, the program includes practices on Friday and racing throughout the weekend. For more information, please visit www.amavintagemotorcycledays.com
If you’re in the area and still not sold on it, here are some other events that are should win you over. The AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days hosts North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet. If you’re a vintage fanatic and builder, this is a must. The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Show, the Wall of Death, a classic field meet, demo rides from the latest and greatest the industry has to offer, seminars and more await.
In addition to all of that, the infield will be quite a happening place. Live music, Builder’s Row, two raffle bikes, a beer garden; the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Adventure Bike Challenge; a pit bike TT race and displays by some of the AMA’s most active classic clubs.