Some men are born adventurers, breaking the limits of everyday life. One such person, and one of the most sought-after faces in the web-media is Ken Block. To all those who don't know Ken Block, he is a skateboarder, snowboarder, motocross racer and above all, an insanely brilliant car driver. And why is he famous? Well, just go to his videos on YouTube to know the reason.
Mr. Ken Block was born on 21 November 1967 and is a professional rally racing driver. Currently the Co-owner and Head In Charge at the Hoonigan Racing Division, he has achieved feet, which many aspire to attain, but can't do. Earlier known as the Monster World Rally team, the Hoonigan Racing division is a professional apparel brand manufacturer for the automobile enthusiasts and occasionally take part world-series rally championships.
A Co-founder of the DC Shoes, Ken Block became famous when he started releasing his Gymkhana videos on YouTube. Seen by millions, the series started with the first video released in 2009, after Ken Block was featured in a TopGear UK episode. And there was no stopping for this incredible talented man, who recently released his Gymkhana 7 video, which created a furor on the YouTube. The video was launched a month ago and has seen some 20 million hits (a record in itself).
Gymkhana videos are an ode to speed, precision and automotive engineering. Every video is shot in some specific location, like San Fransisco city, Detroit city and an abandoned airstrip. The videos consist of some of the world's best donuts, burn outs, drifts and precision driving. Ken Block is a person, whom many see upto for learning how to drive.
But this is not why we are here! We are here to discuss about a certain Jim Mangan’s book, called Blast. Mangan, a long time friend of Block, was onto a project, a project that needed a daring person, who can wreck a car in the desert like a knife through butter. And he couldn't find anyone better than Ken Block himself.
Mangan was fascinated with the mountainous southern Utah desert area, where he had camped and mountain biked quite a few times. His idea was to photograph the clouds of dust over the area and make artistic images out of it. In August 2013, Mangan asked his Block to do the needful for him and Block accomplished the feet with flying colors. According to Magnan, Block’s driving was downright meteorological, his car a force of nature that churns the ground like a tornado.
To achieve the results, Block had to be sure about the terrains and the type of soil, he has to drive, so that he can get right set of tyres. Block drove a 2014 Ford Fiesta H.F.H.V (Hybrid Function Hoon Vehicle), a race car that can be easily modified for optimal performance in almost every event, including a friend’s crazy photo project.
Block was ready with his trademark drifts and high speed stunts. Block did everything in the book, the wild figure eights, 360-degree spins at high speed and Mangan shot it all, from every angle possible - from the ground, from nearby mountains, and even from a helicopter. His initial idea was to capture the clouds only, which he later improvized by adding the car in the frame too, a classic move to provide the sense of scale.
Magnan said, “The dust-ups that Ken created with his car were what put the landscape in motion. As he kicked up the silt it felt as though everything was moving. That was a big part of what I wanted to capture.” Mangan further added, “There is one butte with a very steep bank that is featured in a few of the images that clearly has a cliff on one side of it. If Ken were to have miscalculated his route he would have most likely died.”
The result is stunning, to say the least, and the collaboration has proved what a man and machine can do. While you watch the images, and think the endless possibilities of such ideas, we hope that Ken Block is getting ready with his new video, a video we will eagerly wait for.