Superbike Archive 1977
by dean adams
Saturday, February 14, 2004

Date: March 11, 1977

Venue: Daytona International Speedway

Race Report: Neilson cooks up Ducati's first win in the Superbike class on the Phil Schilling tuned "California Hot Rod". Dave Emde, little brother of Don and son of Daytona-winning Floyd, finished second, and Cooley, still on the Yoshimura R&D Kawasaki finished third.

Editor's Note: Pridmore's BMW is radar'd at 142mph, Cooley's Kawasaki: 153.06mph. Heat races were canceled because of rain and grid made according to 1976 Superbike points. The whole race seemed to be a contest of who could hang on the longest. Cooley and Ron Pierce tank-slapped themselves silly. Neilson's Ducati made all of 90 horsepower. Jerry Wood finishes 14th.


1. Cook Neilson, Ducati

2. David Emde, Kawasaki

3. Wes Cooley, Kawasaki

4. Reg Pridmore, BMW

5. Mike Baldwin, Moto-Guzzi

6. John Bettencourt, Kawasaki

7. Kurt Liberian, Ducati

8. Dan Sourness, Kawasaki

9. Keith Code, Kawasaki

10. Will Haring, Kawasaki

* **************************
Date: March 20, 1977

Venue: Harrisburg, NC

Race Report: Reno Leoni tunes the first and second place machines of Mike Baldwin and Kurt Liebman. Cooley finishes third. Baldwin had a fourteen second lead on ap nine.

Editor's Note: Cooley rides a Jim Cowan-tuned Yoshimura Kawasaki.

Results: 1 Mike Baldwin, Moto-Guzzi

2. Kurt Liebman, Ducati

3. Wes Cooley, Kawasaki

4. John Bettencourt, Kawasaki

5. Wayne Sullivan, Laverda

6. Dieter Guttner, Laverda

7. James Roost, Ducati

8. Kurt Lenz, Moto Guzzi

9. Marco Mancini, Ducati

10. John Fuchs, Honda

* *****************************
Date: June 19 1977

Venue: Bryer Motorsports Park (Loudon)

Race Report: Pridmore, Baldwin and Pierce all tore at each other like fiends in the early laps, with all three of them leading at one time or another. Pridmore slowed, Baldwin crashed and Pierce won.

Editor's Note: course length at this time was 1.6 miles; Pridmore now on a Racecrafters Kawasaki.


1. Ron Pierce, BMW

2. Reg Pridmore, Kawasaki

3. Kurt Liebman, Ducati

4. Keith Code, Kawasaki

5. Kurt Lenz, Ducati

6. Mike Baldwin, Moto Guzzi

7. Phil Pearson, Ducati

8. John Fuchs, Honda

9. Chris Rossi, Ducati

10. Marco Mancini, Ducati

* **********************************
Date: July 17, 1977 Venue: Sears Point

Race Report: Paul Ritter wins his first ever Superbike race at his home track, riding Dale Newton's 860cc Ducati Sport. Steve McLaughlin was back in the cards with a Yoshimura KZ1000cc machine. Cook Neilson is back in the series too, riding the fabled California Hot-Rod.

Editor's Note: Ritter rides off the track twice and still wins. California youngster (and AFM rider) Eddie Lawson leads and seizes out of the lightweight race.


1. Paul Ritter, Ducati

2. Cook Neilson, Ducati

3. Ron Pierce, BMW

4. Reg Pridmore, Kawasaki

5. Leroy Gerkie, Moto Guzzi

6. Vance Breese, Moto Guzzi

7. Erik Buell, Ducati

8. Greg McRae, Kawasaki

9. Jim Haberlin, Triumph

10. Emilie Mullick, Norton

* ********************************
Date: August 21, 1977

Venue: Pocono

Race Report: Pridmore takes his Pierre Des Roches tuned Racecrafters bike to what is generally regarded as the first victory in the Superbike class by a Japanese machine. Second place was by self-sponsored Mike Baldwin, with Liebman in third.

Editor's Note: Cooley led this race but the Yosh engine popped a valve and he went out.


1. Reg Pridmore, Kawasaki

2. Mike Baldwin, Moto-Guzzi

3. Kurt Liebman, Ducati

4. John Long, Ducati

5. Kurt Lenz, Ducati

6. John Fuchs, Honda

7. Erik Buell, Ducati

8. Art Wicks, Honda

9. Arthur Kowitz, Kawasaki

10. Jerry Wood, Yamaha

Date: Sept. 11, 1977 Venue: Laguna Seca

Race Report: The first race of a Yoshimura Suzuki 750 saw its pilot, Steve McLaughlin, win the over Cook Nielson and Reggie Pridmore.

Editor's Note: Future Cycle News publisher Chuck Clayton states in his race report that watching "roadracing is like watching paint dry." The race was sponsored by Craig Vetter and Windjammer; Vetter put up $125 for each of the 20 laps as part of the purse. Cooley went out with a broken chain.


1. Steve McLaughlin, Suzuki

2. Cook Neilson, Ducati

3. Reg Pridmore, Kawasaki

4. Paul Ritter, Ducati

5. Ron Pierce, BMW

6. Dave Emde, Kawasaki

7. Dick Kilgrove, Kawasaki

8. Harry Klinzmann, BMW

9. Vance Breese, Moto Guzzi

10. Art Chambers, Ducati

* ***********************

Date: October 01, 1977 Venue: Riverside Raceway

Race Report: The second race of the Yoshimura Suzuki team saw them not even make one lap when the clutch on McLaughlin's GS fried itself. Baldwin ran hard on the Guzzi but missed a shift near the end and "lunched" the transmission. Cooley (Kawasaki) took the win over Cook Neilson on the Ducati, but Baldwin pushed his bike across the line to finish fourteenth, and according to the report, win the championship. AMA Media Guide says Pridmore won it.

Editor's Note: Seventeen bikes on the grid. This was the George Kerker Memorial Race. Keith Code finishes eleventh, Pridmore, fifteenth.


1. Wes Cooley, Kawasaki

2. Cook Neilson, Ducati

3. Paul Ritter, Ducati

4. Harry Klinzmann, BMW

5. Ron Pierce, Yamaha

6. Lee Flemming, Kawasaki

7. Vance Breese, Moto Guzzi

8. Dick Kilgroe, Kawasaki

9. William Henry, Yamaha

10. Steve Epstine, Kawasaki

Superbike Point Standings for 1977

1. Reg Pridmore

2. Cook Nielson

3. Mike Baldwin

4. Ron Pierce

5. Kurt Liebmann

6. Wes Cooley

7. Paul Ritter

8. Kurt Lenz

9. Keith Code/David Emde/John Fuchs (Tie)

* *************************************


Where There's Soup There's Fire ...
The Big Ouch
Siebkins of Elkhart Lake
War is Hell: Laguna Seca WSC 1997
Lost @ Ducati
Obituary: The Harley-Davidson VR 1000 Superbike
Interview, Erv Kanemoto, 1993
Interview, Tom Kipp Jr. 1993

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