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Ken Block joins ex-'Top Gear' guys in SA

2015-05-04 11:19

KEN BLOCK - HOT FOR HIS MUSTANG: Famed rally driver Ken Block is coming to Johannesburg to join the Clarkson, Hammond and May Live tour. Image: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Rally/stunt driving phenomenon and YouTube sensation Ken Block will line up with hosts Jeremy, James and Richard at The Dome in Johannesburg.

Block will perform gymkhana stunts in his famous 630kW, modified all-wheel-drive 1965 ‘notchback' Ford Mustang Hoonicorn over the weekend of June 12/14.

It will be Block’s first time in South Africa and the only event in Africa on the ex-'Top Gear' crew's tour. (See Wheels24 Q&A session under the Mustang image below.)

GYMKHANA ‘YOU TUBE’ KING

Back in 2005 the Californian made his web debut. "His consummate precision," a media release says, "and rather natty skills at (car) gymkhana have continued to enthrall petrol heads."


VIDEO: Watch Block and the Hoonicorn in action!


Block began his professional rally driving career in 2005 and has competed at the top of the sport for Subaru and, more recently, Ford. He became the first American driver to campaign in the World Rally championship and is in the Global Rallycross championship and some World Rallycross and WRC events.

It is perhaps his gymkhana videos, however, which turned Block into a bona fide online phenomenon. ‘Gymkhana’ is an automotive sport that requires drivers to slither their car around a series of cones, slaloms, 180 degree turns, 360 degree turns, figure-of-eights and other obstacles using extreme acceleration, braking and drifting.

Block took this sport and added his creativity and flair and has, to date, created seven YouTube videos that have had more than 257-million views over the past six years.

BLOCK ‘STOKED’ TO BE INVITED

'Clarkson Hammond and May Live' will run at The Dome at Northgate. Block said:“I’m stoked to have been invited to this huge motoring event. I’ve had the pleasure of working with these guys before and it’s always been a lot of fun.

"I think bringing what I do to an arena format is going to be awesome - I can’t wait to meet the fans in South Africa. It’ll be my first time in that country and I’ve heard they’re passionate about all things automotive.

"I think they’re going to enjoy what I’m going to do with my Hoonicorn.”

SMOKING PONY SA-BOUND: Rally driver and automotive gymkhana king Ken Block will showcase his driving skill at the 2015 Clarkson, Hammond and May Live Tour in Johannesburg. Image: Supplied

Q&A WITH KEN BLOCK:

1. What can South African fans expect at this year’s all new Clarkson Hammond and May Live event?
A bunch of amazing cars, some hilarious banter and a LOT of tyre smoke.
2. What was it like meeting the boys?
I’ve been fortunate to hang with these guys a few different times in my career and every time I’m blown away by the way they interact with each other. It’s always hilarious.
3. Tell us about your customised Mustang?
Well, it started life as a 1965, V6. I then worked with my buddy Vaughn Gittin jnr and his RTR Mustang tuning brand to transform it into a wide-body, all-wheel-drive, V8, 845 hp beast that we call the Hoonicorn.
4. Do you miss your Fiesta and why the switch to the Mustang?
Luckily I still have my Fiesta so I don’t have to miss it. We switched to the Hoonicorn for Gymkhana Seven just because we wanted to do something new and different from the last few Gymkhana videos that all featured the Fiesta.
5. You’ve performed many insane stunts, which is your favourite?
Probably the sideways hill jump in San Francisco during Gymkhana Five.
6. You must have had some close calls performing stunts, tell us about your most scariest moment?
I think the scariest moment would be in 2007 when I was jumping a Group N rally car off snowboard jumps for a DC snowboarding video called Mtn.Lab 1.5. On one of the jumps I actually overshot and landed really hard, fracturing a vertebra in my back. That was really a scary moment because it could have ended a lot worse than just a fracture.
7. What does it take to do what you do (read: utter motoring hooligan)?
I think it takes an enjoyment of driving, especially in an unorthodox manner, and the willingness to take some risks.
8. What can fans look forward to in 2015, any upcoming projects?
I’m working on some great new stuff for late 2015 but I can’t really comment too much about it yet!


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