Driving is an artform. Mostly it’s about the speed but there’s also an element of style to it when the occasion calls. Very rarely do those two factors overlap… unless his highness; the Duke of Hooning Kensington Block the Third is in the picture.
Ken Block; as he prefers to be addressed by his adoring public, is no stranger to blending speed and style behind the wheel of his tyre-slaying machines on the vast canvas of city blocks or mountain roads. From the shock and awe his early Gymkhana videos rendered, they’ve since evolved into more sophisticated productions bordering Hollywood-levels of quality and precision.
Since then, he’s set his sights on climbing; or Climbkhana, as he calls it. His first Climbkhana video in 2017 saw the Hoonigan founder wrestle his 1400hp Mustang up Pikes Peak sideways with all four wheels incinerating tyres.
It’s a tough one to top but Block’s consistently proven he can one-up himself every single time. So for even more heart-stopping scenes and near-death experience, he looked east this time. Specifically, China and the famous Heaven’s Gate road in the picturesque Tianmen Mountain National Park. You may remember this spot from when the Volkswagen ID.R set a record for ascending it the quickest. Block wasn't on the clock though...
Make no mistake, there’s nothing fake about the scenes and literal cliffhanger moments in the video. That’s Block actually grazing the barely-there concrete blocks with the rear of his 914hp 1977 Ford F-150 Hoonitruck as he tackles the 99 turns.
For all the things China imitates or copies, safety barriers are among the handful that they’ve yet to duplicate as the edges of the tight streets are lined by blocks that a sneeze could knock over.
Yet, Block being Block, he goes 110 per cent; drifting every corner with the rear of the Hoonitruck inches away from the edge. Despite Heaven’s Road being narrower with less room for error, there’s absolutely no holding back and the F-150 kisses the barrier on several occasions.
Of course, the Segway has become a fixture in Block’s videos lately and this time is no different although the rider is a proud symbol of the Chinese. And the best bit… the video fittingly ends with Ozzy Osbourne’s Over the Mountain blaring.