The death of a legend

It is with sorrow and regret to report to those who don’t yet know, that Kenneth Paul Block, professionally known as Ken Block, passed away on January 2, 2023. The co-founder of DC Shoes and rally race driver of Hoonigan Racing just as the new year was getting started, his was cut wretchedly short.

In his early life, Block’s passion was skateboarding, and he became well known within the skateboarding community during the mid-nineties for his part in the founding of a dedicated skate shoe brand, DC Shoes, which was a groundbreaking concept at the time, to have a dedicated brand making skateboarding shoes endorsed by pros. The DC shoe brand was later sold to Quicksilver in 2004, after which Block shifted his attention. Growing up, Ken Block was interested in WRC rally and would watch it when possible, considering it wasn’t on American TV. He grew to admire prominent rally driver, Colin McRae, which he would later work with when breaking into the rally racing scene after the selling DC. He began his professional rally racing career with the Vermont SportsCar team and placed 7th overall in his first event, Sno*Drift, in a 2005 Subaru WRX Sti, the first of many well-executed races for Block. He was also competing in the very league he grew up with, the WRC, where Block is among four other Americans to score points, in that respect, more Americans have been to the moon than scored points in the WRC. 

In 2010, the famous racing team, Monster World Rally Team, which was later renamed Hoonigan Racing Division, was created with Ken Block’s antics at the center of the movement. In collaboration with Monster and Ford, Hoonigan was a good team with its Ford Fiesta and its Ford Mustang, doing well in the FIA World Rallycross. However, perhaps his most influential work was on his YouTube channel, in which he first did gymkhana, a hybrid of time attack racing and drifting in which the course is memorized and the goal is to achieve the best time. Ken Block did this like no other, with unparalleled skill and conviction. This started the Hoonigan movement and changed car culture forever, Hoonigan embodied Ken Block’s free-spirited life in motorsport and propelled it into the mainstream, to the point where you can find the brand in some chain stores. 

Ken Block is the automotive inspiration of a generation, especially in the rally and drift scene. He will undoubtedly be marked in the annals of history as a legendary driver and most of all, a person.

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Written by, Culture Editor, Hector Avila

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