Uncle Brick passed away.
On January 2, Hoonigans announced that its founder, rally driver Ken Block, died unexpectedly in a snowmobile accident at the age of 55.
The Wasatch County Sheriff's Office in Utah released an official statement today:
At around 2 pm local time on January 2, 2023, the 911 Center in Wasatch County, Utah, USA received a report that a snowmobile accident had occurred in the Mill Valley area, and the driver of the accident vehicle was Ken Block.
Ken Block had been on a snowmobile ride with a group earlier in the day, but was alone when the incident happened. He was found at the bottom of a steep slope with an overturned snowmobile on top of him, before police arrived and pronounced Ken Block dead.
Three days before the incident, Ken Block posted on Twitter the snow-covered Utah ranch and his snowmobile. Some fans shouted in the comment section of this Tweet: No! Stay away from these snowmobiles!
Unfortunately, he couldn't hear it anymore.
Let the rally no longer be a minority
In terms of performance on the field, Ken Block is not a top rally driver.
Ken Block started his career in 2005 driving a Subaru WRX STi. He was runner-up in the Rally America in 2006 and 2008, his best results in the event.
Ken Block, who has made some achievements in the American rally field, joined Ford in 2010 to represent the Monster World Rally Team in the World Rally Championship (WRC), becoming the first American driver in the event's history.
It is a pity that Ken Block, standing on the world stage, has never been able to achieve satisfactory results for himself and the team. The annual overall ranking has been hovering around the 20th place, and he even failed to get points for several years.
Despite his unsatisfactory results in the WRC, Ken Block is still regarded as a legendary rally driver because he successfully brought rally racing, a niche sport, into the public eye.
In 2009, Top Gear host James May came to Yocan Airport, California, USA for a filming. In the shot, a Subaru Impreza WRX STi wobbles toward him, with Ken Block sitting in the car.
This is the first time Ken Block made "donuts" in front of a global audience through Top Gear. He also left a "world famous painting" in this episode (Season 13, Episode 3), motorcycle + car +Aircraft, the combination of the three is not bad.
▲ Motorcycle + car, and even a Douglas DC-2
Ken Block not only "visited" Top Gear many times, but also produced a series of Gimcana drift videos, using cool drifts to quickly pass through various obstacles, bringing a visual feast to the soul of car fans around the world.
▲ This GYMKHANA FIVE filmed in 2012 has a total of 113 million plays
In his video, kincanna-style drifting around piles is already commonplace. Ken Block’s drifting chariot has already driven from the airport to the street, releasing the charm of drifting on the intricate streets.
With the roar of the engine and the smoke from the tires, Ken Block perfectly combines the wildness of rally racing with urban civilization.
But soon, he found that the route planned in advance and the venue with sufficient safety measures could not make the audience's adrenaline rush to the peak. The most frightening thing was the mountain road.
So, he drove the 1,400-horsepower Ford Mustang to Pikes Peak, the second highest peak in North America, and drifted life and death on a cliff at an altitude of 4,300 meters.
Then, Ken Block drove a Ford F-150 Hoonitruc on the Tianmen Mountain winding road, known as one of the top 10 dangerous roads in the world, and completed the 99-turn drift challenge.
The winding mountain road is 10.78 kilometers long. You can see mountains, forests, cliffs and other terrains in the video. The altitude climbs from 200 meters to 1300 meters. Many corners do not even have fences. If you make a slight mistake, the consequences will be disastrous.
It is precisely because of the extremely high risks faced during filming that Ken Block's Tianmen Mountain battle engraved the name "Uncle Brick" in the hearts of countless Chinese car fans.
Ken Block is called "Uncle Brick" because his surname Block can be translated as "Brick". Uncle Brick is exactly the nickname given to him by the Chinese Internet.
In 2021, the cooperation between Ken Block and his old friend Ford came to an end, and then he became associated with Audi. This time, Uncle Brick is not only a drift driver, but also contributes to the development of Audi electric vehicles.
"Audi is the brand that ignited my passion for motorsports," Ken Block said in a statement. "I love anything that makes me go faster, and electric cars can do that."
And so, on October 25, 2022, in Las Vegas, he presents the latest installment in his GYMKHANA series. The protagonist of the film is no longer Ford, but replaced by this Audi S1 E-Tron Quattro Hoonitron.
But who would have thought that this 9 minutes and 36 seconds long video would become the swan song of the GYMKHANA series.
No more live streams
In fact, Ken Block, who entered the racing industry in 2005, is already 38 years old. Before that, he was the co-founder of a sports fashion brand.
In 1994, as an extreme sports enthusiast, Ken Block and his college roommate Damon Way naturally partnered to establish a brand specializing in skateboard shoes, snowboards and other sports products – DC Shoes. In the next 10 years, the brand Rapidly grew into a sponsor of extreme sports.
The success of DC Shoes has brought Ken Block the capital of entering the game, but it is undoubtedly the Hoonigans who are more closely related to Ken Block.
In the beginning, Hoonigan Racing Division was just a team founded by Ken Block. In 2012, Ken Block spun off a department responsible for the dissemination of car culture and modified vehicles from this team – Hoonigan Industries.
In the days that followed, Hoonigan gradually evolved into a refit brand integrating cars, streets, trends, and attitudes, setting off a new wave of car fun in the United States.
Flipping through Hoonigan's YouTube account, you can see all kinds of high-level modding works. Of course, you can also see similar content in Ken Block's account, the difference is that the content of the latter is more personal.
For example, you can see Ken Block modifying an Audi Ur Quattro with his daughter. At present, this series has launched three phases, and the state of the car is nearing completion, ready to meet with the majority of netizens.
Perhaps because of the scheduled release set in advance, Ken Block's personal social media released a live broadcast notice at 1:53 am on January 3:
My 16-year-old daughter, Lia, purchased a 1985 Audi Ur Quattro, which she managed to take apart and restore. Tomorrow at 8am I'll be live on my YouTube channel trying to make a few "donuts" out of her Audi, can this car do the job? Stay tuned!
It's just that you and I both know that we have no chance to see this live broadcast.
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