He didn’t even want to believe the news. So many dangerous racing situations, so many risky stunts… And finally he lost his life in a banal accident while riding a snowmobile. This is how cynical life can be – you can be living life at full throttle and be fatally involved in a car accident in normal traffic (Mike Hawthorn), a helicopter flight (Colin McRae) or ordinary downhill skiing (Michael Schumacher).

But instead of mourning, let’s celebrate Ken’s life, which was interwoven with a love of cars and driving on the edge and beyond. He started racing relatively late, only at the age of 37. That’s because before he got into the rally special Subaru Impreza WRX STi, he had to earn it first – and as co-founder of DC Shoes (a shoe company focusing on modern freestyle sports such as skateboarding or snowboarding), that took him a whole ten flight.

Photo: Hoonigans

The beginnings of Ken Block’s fame were humble, he was just an enthusiast with a racing Subaru and a desire to become a rally racer.

Right from the start, however, in the American rally champion, he proved that he can do it behind the wheel – in his debut season, he finished fourth overall, in subsequent years he also started to win individual events, and even grabbed a couple of overall podium positions (three second and one third place), although he never reached the top itself.

This motivated him to try his luck in World Rally, which is where most of you probably remember him from. He always drove only a select few events and ended up either on the top or in the bottom of the results list (it is true that he also got a few places in the top ten, the highlight being seventh place in Mexico 2013). Many laughed at him, but Ken just shrugged his shoulders: “The guys I’m racing against have been driving since they were kids.” He wasn’t just a pretentious guy, but a realist who went out into the world to gain experience and just wanted to enjoy his life behind the wheel and fulfill your dreams.

Photo: Hoonigans

He didn’t do very well in the World Rally, but he was brilliant at coming up with tricks in the Gymkhana. We all have our favorite…

He did not let the failure in the WRC poison him and continued to race, for fun – either in rallies on the American continent or in rallycross, where he won several medals in the famous X-Games. Over time, he also appeared on the European and American TV show Top Gear, supported many other sports and charity events with his participation.

But he gained worldwide fame when he decided to film one of his training sessions at the airport on an “obstacle course”, and thus the Gymkhana phenomenon was born, a series of more than ten videos today, where Ken with his rally cars and then specially prepared drifting monsters (like a 1,400-horsepower four-wheel-drive Mustang and many other insanities) demonstrated perfect car control and spectacular skids and jumps. All this perfectly prepared and filmed in action. Each episode was more spectacular, each one was more daring and each one came up with new ideas on how to approach the given topic and entertain the viewer – and therefore each one was a joy to watch.

Photo: Hoonigans

He used to build wild drift specials for his videos.

Each of his videos had millions of views and attracted the attention of many young guys from all over the world to cars, who fell into the world of four wheels forever. Ken Block showed cars from an unusual point of view that impressed a whole new generation that was already more interested in computers and phones than cars. And for that he is eternally grateful.

Photo: Audi

Some time ago, Ken Block signed up for Audi and his latest Gymkhana with an electric special was quiet, but still full of burnt rubber smoke.

He also showed his love for cars to his children, he and his wife Lucy had three – a boy and two girls. And he helped his eldest daughter buy and rebuild a beautiful Audi Quattro. Just for fun.

Of course, behind this “just for fun” there was always a lot of prudent marketing thinking – the DC Shoes brand is known all over the world thanks to its skids in the car, as well as from the label “Hoonigan” (which is the name for a crazy person in a car who loves skids, and donuts) became not only a term, but also a successful brand. Ken Block was obviously a better businessman than driver, but that does not detract from the importance of his lifetime achievements.

Photo: Hoonigans

Ken was a showman and enjoyed his life. Too bad it ended so soon.

Do you get it yet? That’s why it was so hard to believe that he was killed in a snowmobile accident on Monday, January 2, 2023 in Utah, USA, at just 55 years old.