Ken Block, born in 1967, a professional rally driver for the Monster World Rally Team, is now also a shoe salesman. He’s not the sort of shoe salesman you may find in your local high street shop though as Ken, being Ken, has a slightly different approach to selling shoes. Instead of measuring your feet and suggesting heels or flats, he has instead decided that the best approach to sell shoes is to shut down all the streets in San Francisco and then to tear around in a Ford Fiesta, drifting around corners and jumping over the city’s famous hills.
The car is far from a regular Ford Fiesta of course and comes with a 2 litre turbocharged, 650 Horsepower engine which can take the little beast from 0 to 60 in an incredible 1.8 seconds. Yes, that’s not a typo, I really did say one point eight seconds.
San Francisco is a town with a slightly unique piece of motoring history firmly woven into it already as it’s hard to think of those famous hills without imagining Steve McQueen belting round in a GT 390 Fastback Mustang with the iconic dented bumper in the film ‘Bullet’ which was released around the time of Ken’s first birthday. Let’s face it, in terms of looking as cool, the Bullet Mustang scene is a pretty difficult car to follow. However, you’ve got to admit that Ken Block has just about nailed it with his Gymkhana 5 video. Closing down San Francisco so that you can turn the empty streets into your own playground to do with as you please in a horrifically over-powered little Ford Fiesta must rank pretty highly in most motoring fan’s bucket list. Maybe not the Ford Fiesta part, and maybe not in a bid to sell shoes but you’ve got to admit this is a pretty cool set of stunts whatever the car or motivation for driving it. I wish I had Ken Block’s job, as well as his driving talent of course.
As the man himself said: “San Francisco was absolutely amazing for Gymkhana…. It’s such a unique location for this kind of driving and allowed me to do some things that I never thought I’d ever be able to incorporate into one of my Gymkhana videos like jumping a table top or doing a jump drift!”
I’m rather pleased that Ken mentioned the jump drift because it’s one of the best things I’ve seen on video to date. It has certainly brightened up my day no end. In fact, this video must be watched to be believed. From the moment I saw it earlier I have regressed back to being an 8 year old boy all over again – and I’d only just about recovered from the recent Hot Wheels double loop stunt video as well. Now I’m back to square one!! Right, I’m off to get some Jawbreaker gob stoppers and then go and swap some football stickers. I might grow up one day but thanks to Ken, it won’t be today.