Ken Block recently passed away. I didn’t really follow him closely, so the impact his death had on me caught me by surprise.
My main exposure to him were his early Gymkhana videos, especially the very first one—that Crawford STI causes drooling even today. I didn’t really follow his racing career or much of the Hoonigan stuff.
So why, then, do I care now? I think it’s because that original Gymkhana video was one of those moments that fueled my love for cars.
If you’d asked me to talk about my automotive influences before the last few days, it’s quite possible I wouldn’t have remembered either Ken Block or Gymkhana. I’d have remembered a ton of things before and after, but only maybe him and that spectacle as well.
And yet it was an important moment. But an almost-invisible one.
A lot of moments shape our life as time passes, and many of them we can recall: various family milestones, professional accomplishments, a lot of firsts and many lasts. We take photos of and in those moments, remember where we were, and tell stories about them. We thank them for changing our lives, write entire books about them. We remember them, and often intentionally so.
But that only goes for the ones we notice. Many moments that have an impact on us may go completely unnoticed. How many Ken Blocks and Gymkhanas have I encountered but completely forgotten, even if they moved me in some direction? How many will I still encounter?
I don’t have a grand conclusion here. The untimely death of an automotive legend got me all pensive, is all.
Drive in peace, good sir.