SHELTON, Wash. – As MotoAmerica veteran Jeremy Cook boarded a plane Thursday heading from his home city of Baltimore, Md., to Seattle, the BMW rider hoped his trip wouldn’t be in vain. Just two weeks after suffering multiple injuries in a crash at MotoAmerica’s Superbikes at Road America and days after having his shattered collarbone surgically repaired, Cook wasn’t sure if he’d be medically cleared to race at MotoAmerica’s round on June 25-27 at The Ridge Motorsports Park.
In the end, Cook was cleared to race and led his team of U.S. Marines veterans to two 16th-place finishes in the weekend’s MotoAmerica Stock 1000 races aboard his BMW S 1000 RR. Just making it to the end of each 13-lap race in brutally hot and humid conditions was a challenge for the ailing Cook, but the former Marine saw the mission through and hopes to be back to better form at the next MotoAmerica round in two weeks time.
It was Cook’s first time racing at The Ridge Motorsports Park. He took part in a track day event at the facility in May thanks to support from South Sound Motorcycles — a BMW dealership in Tacoma, Wash.
Cook sat out the test day on Thursday and both Stock 1000 Class on-track sessions on Friday. He finished Saturday morning’s qualifying session in 17th.
Though he was far from 100 percent healthy, Cook finished both of the weekend’s races higher in the running order than he started. Cook started 20nd on the grid for Saturday afternoon’s race, and attrition farther up the field and a late-race pass allowed Cook to finish in 16th — one position away from scoring a championship point. Cook also improved his pace around the 2.47-mile road course on Saturday, posting a best lap time of 1:49.513 in Race 1 compared to the 1:50.933 he laid down in qualifying.
In Sunday’s Stock 1000 contest, Cook started from 21st but had moved up to 18th by the end of Lap 1 and 17th by the end of Lap 5. Cook again made a move late in the race to gain another position and claimed his second 16th-place finish of the weekend. He again improved his pace, lowering his best lap time of the weekend to a 1:48.593.
Cook’s team for the weekend included U.S. Marine veteran and Motorcycle Xcitement rider coach Dakari Harris and U.S. Marine veteran Don Williams – a participant in the Veterans Empowered through Motorsports program.
Cook has two weeks to heal up before he’s due back on the MotoAmerica grid. The next round takes place July 9-11 at the home of the famed “Corkscrew” turn, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.
Jeremy Cook / No. 81
“I wasn’t even sure if I could make it through both races with all the injuries I am dealing with right now, and just seeing the checkered flag in both races was like a small victory. I just took it one day at a time and tried to not push myself too hard, as we’re not even halfway through the season yet. I was really happy with how much my lap times improved from Saturday to Sunday, given that I’m eight days out from having had my collarbone pinned back together. It also was great to have a team of Marine vets helping me out this weekend, and it was a pleasure having Don join the team for this round thanks to Veterans Empowered through Motorsports. He did a great job and I’m looking forward to having more fellow Marine veterans be part of the team in the future. I think what the team and I accomplished this weekend shows what Marine vets are capable of!”
Header photo credit: Brian J. Nelson