In mid November, at a remote location in Southern California, a jump that might make ol’ Evel quiver was erected. It was a gap jump (translation: a launch ramp and landing, no save-your-ass middle). Only a nut job would think of taking a car to it. Now, meet Ken Block, a Subaru Rally driver and the co-founder of DC Shoes, he is the nut job. This display of insanity was set-up for Discovery’s Stunt Junkies, a TV Show where each episode revolves around a fearless feat never performed before. The show, which usually highlights snowboarders, motocrossers and so on, follows a stunt from conception to celebration. Block’s leap will air on Discovery (possibly) sometime in February, stay tuned you don’t want to miss it! Until then, see what KB has to say about his lapse of judgement balls-istic flight.
Okay, so according to Internet scuttlebutt, which is never wrong, your so-called jump was faked—just a Photoshop. What do you have to say about that Mr. Block?
You got me, those leaked camera phone pics are entirely fake and the X-Games was a conspiracy, too. Colin McRae rolled on purpose so Travis could win… [laughs sarcastically]
Speaking of McRae, we heard he too couldn’t believe you tried this stunt?
Yeah, since X-Games we have been exchanging emails. So, when I sent him my little event report and photos, he replied “If that’s for real, I will eat my driving shoe. Obviously fatherhood hasn’t affected the size of your balls.” I am pretty happy to have impressed Colin to that level! He is sort of my hero. Oh and Colin, I am still waiting for that video of you eating your shoes.
So how far did you actually clear?
Well…much further than I expected. Let’s put it this way, my first jump was 100 feet. I am under contract to not reveal the actual distances that I jumped but to give you an idea, I had them push back the take off jump two times.
Did it all go smoothly?
My last jump was gnarly and I jumped even further than planned and landed at the absolute bottom of the transition. I hit so hard that it left rim marks in the dirt where the front wheels impacted.
Be honest, you were scared shitless?
I was a bit scared looking at the last jump…the gap to the landing was f#cking huge. But, I built up to it and it was a calculated risk. It was similar to jumps that I have done on snowboards and dirt bikes, so it really did not intimidate me very much.
Yeah, but you can bail from a dirt bike, and a snowboard doesn’t weigh over a ton and have the possibility of bursting into a ball of fire!
[Laughs] Rally cars are supposed to jump! That’s one of the things that makes rally better/different (to me) than other motorsports. I love to jump things. I jumped a car for the first time when I was 15 years old and, did it many times after that. That’s why I love rally—you can’t jump a dragster!
So what made the people at Stunt Junkies consider this jump for the program? Think X Games influenced them?
I think the exposure that rally has gotten this year because of X Games and Travis Pastrana helped make this happen. It’s just opened the eyes of more of the traditional media to rally and that there is a legitimate scene and championship here in the US.
Very true. But obviously there will always be those who hate. Many have objected that rally’s acceptance as an action sport will change it for the worst.
The only change that I can see is that rally will be more exposed to the American market. The actual sport of rally should not change from this…it was just a great way to show the world what a rally car is capable of.
Do you see a big-air contest being a possibility for next year’s X Games?
Of course! Travis is already trying to figure out how to backflip the Subie! Just kidding, but, we may see some good jumps as part of a “crossover” part of a Super Special.
We see you were not piloting the same car as you were at the X Games, was this car specially built for this event?
The car I used for this event was my older racecar that I used before the X Games. Monster Energy helped out with the budget to get the car and team out here from Vermont Sports car. It’s a “stock” rally car, yup, it’s even street legal. Actually, it even has lesser spec dampers than my current Subie. But, the team did not want to risk damaging my current car, so we used this one.
Obviously, racing rally you have done your fair share of jumping the yumps, but this was far more than a yump. How does it differ?
In a rally, most of the jumps are completely blind. Some of the jumps are famous and we have hit them in previous years, but, still, we are racing down a stage and my co-driver calls “big jump” and I just have to make a guestimate on how hard to hit it. But, with this jump, it was very calculated and I knew exactly—or close to—what it was going to take to make it over clean.
Think we will ever see jumps this size on actual stages?
There are a few big jumps on some of the US rally stages, but nothing with that kind of height. I seriously doubt that will change but, we may work on getting some more good jumps similar to this, on some of the Super Specials (spectator stages).
To be honest with you Ken, we kind of expected this kind of exhibit of grandoire from your teammate Travis Pastrana. What was his response to your madness?
I think Travis may have had a few Coronas when he wrote this email [He had just crashed and burned a buggy to the ground in the Baja 1000], but it’s pretty funny; “You are my fucking hero…you went way too f#cking big!!! Did you land that without breaking your back??? You are my new screen saver….that is a completely insane jump!”
KB, you officially have the biggest balls ever, can we see em?
PHOTOS: Lars Gange
STORY: Brian Scotto