Friday, July 7, 2017
JOHN DESOTO: THE FLYIN' HAWAIIAN
Straight outta Honolulu, Hawaii where he learned to ride motocross in the pineapple fields and on the mountain trails of the 50th State, John DeSoto was drawn to the mainland in the late 1960s. Initially living in a car in North Hollywood, California for nearly a year, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” ultimately caught the eye of the West Coast distributor of the Montesa brand and his career duly took off. DeSoto would compete in the first half of the 1969 250cc World Championship series before suffering a grave arm injury and heading back to California. Undaunted, he kept at it and in 1973 picked up a ride with CZ to compete in the Trans-AMA and Inter-AMA series. The highlight of DeSoto’s career came on Sunday, July 22, 1973 where at the Inter-AMA/AMA 250 Motocross National at Delta Motorsports Park outside of Toledo, Ohio, DeSoto placed fourth overall behind winner Jaroslav Falta of Czechoslovakia, Heikki Mikkola of Finland and Antonin Baborovsky of Russia. Scored as the top American rider - as was customary during that early period of American motocross - DeSoto took the victory over fellow Yankees Jim Pomeroy (who became the first American to win a World Championship round when he rode his Bultaco to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix at Sabadell Terrassa that April), Brad Lackey and Gary Jones. The one and only major victory of his career, DeSoto retired from the sport in 1975 and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.