Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1970's

Cycle News 1979 08 08

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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i .~ Race goers' guide ~ out by buying Wes a TD2. That's just sort of the way it's gone ever since. "I didn't originally plan to become a motorcycle racer. It was just a pastime. I was going to school - I have three years of pre-med - at VCI. Actually, I was going to become an orthopedic surgeon so I could put all my friend's broken bones back together. But, it got to the point where I was trying to work, go to school and race, all at the same time. First I cut out the working, put all my efforts into school and just did the race thing on occasion. But then it got to the point where they were both suffering. There was a lot of competition at school too, and I wasn't doing either one of them exactly like I thought I should be_ doing it. Like 100 percent.. I had to make a decision. I saw fun things to do with the road racing. A chance to travel, make a little monex ... I was enjoying it and I think that's one of the main goals on a job; to enjoy what you're doing, whether you're making a lot of money at it or not." t 00 e ~~When , started riding for Yoshimura I started finishing a 'itt'e bit better a" the time." By Bobi McGann It ~as 1971, the middle of August at Willow Springs Raceway in the heart of California's Mojave Desert, and the heat was stifling: 120 degrees -. plus - in the shade. Only a couple of dozen hardy road racers were making a half-hearted attempt at circling the searing pavement. . Fifteen-year-old Wester Cooley, 16 Jr. was sitting in the pits, roasting to a well done turn while watching everybody el~ do their thing, thinking this was really the pits! when out of the clear blue desert sky came a voice, asking, "hey, you want ┬Ěto try it?" The voice, regardless of what he might have been thinking, belonged to a friend of the Cooley family, Dick Pierce, who had brought his 350 Su,uki out to the track. And although .Wes had never really thought about trying road racing. he mused. "sure, why not?" Wes pulled on his friend's leathers, which didn't quite fit. climbed on the Suzuki, and took it out for a spin. He'd never ridden a bike that big on his own, but still, his best time around the course was 2:20. Darned good for a first time beginner. As luck would have it, Did Pierce ended up sponsoring Wes during his first year efforts at road racing on a 200cc Greeves Silverstone and that 350cc Suzuki. He performed pretty well that first year and his father, Wester Cooley, Sr., de<:ided to help Were you making any money it racing? No, not really. Just some occasional prize money. My first.. Novice year, I won two races and finished rather weD at a couple of other events_ And there I was, 16 years old, with some bucks in the -bank, sailing along, doing pretty good. It's just kind of rolled along from - a little bit here - a little bit there... When I started riding for Yoshimura I started finishing a little bit better all the time and I decided that racing was what I was going to do. For now, anyway. How did you happen to get the YOIhimura ride? Yoshimura approacbed me back when Dale Alexander and Pops (Yoshimura) were together in Simi Valley. The AMA had just passed the rule that a 350cc single two-stroke could run in the 250cc twin class - also a 350cc four-stroke could run the Novice/ Lightweight 250cc GP class. Yoshimura wanted to enter a 350 Honda they were building and they asked me to ride it. Of course the Honda didn't run, so 1 baded out of it Then Pops and Alexander split and after that Pops contacted me and asked if I'd lilr.e to ride the Kawasaki in. the Superbilr.e class. Naturally, I said "of course." I really like the Yoshimura people. They're really good to me. We get along real well at the races and that's half the battle. How do they help you out? What do they do for YQU? Wen, this is the first year that they've helped me out financially. But Yoshimura is a number one contender for the Superbilr.e class and I draw publicity off of that fact too. That alone helps me with the 750 GP class, starts in Europe, anything lilr.e that. Pops has always been - well, they call hitn :'The Sorcerer" in France. There seems to be just something about him that people don't understand all the time, He's helped me out just by giving me the opportunity to ri4e tbeir machinery. The Kawasaki was always fast, it was just that it didn't handle right. Iwas just starting to get my act together as far as knowing exactly what I was doing all the time; bow to get a motorcycle to handle, know what it's doing in this corner, what it's not doing in that corner, things like that. It took me a linle bit of time to help them get th~ handling sorted out. I think that's where (Steve) McLaughlin came in handy. He does happen to know quite a little bit about chassis.

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