John McCown Passes

Cycle News Staff | July 15, 2011

John McCown, the man made famous by racing in the desert with his dog Kookie on the gas tank of his motorcycle, died on July 14 from complications from heart surgery.

For some six years, McCown and Kookie averaged nearly 50 races a year in the southwest desert, including the infamous Barstow-to-Vegas race.

“I’ll race for as long as there’s a desert out there and the BLM will stay off our back and we can get out there and do it,” McCown said in an interview in American Motorcyclist in 1981.

In his non-racing career, McCown was a butcher. He also wrote children’s books.