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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Video Sunday - Ken Block Marathon

Welcome to Video Sunday, a new regular feature that's fairly self-explanatory. This week commemorates the fifth video from American rally and stunt driver Ken Block, called Gymkhana 4 (that'll make sense in a minute). Without further ado, here is the first one, a pure and simple motorsport video featuring a 530 horsepower Subaru Impreza WRX STI (GD):

Uploaded: 11/11/08
Running Time: 4:27
Views At Time of Posting: 10,601,664

These will be going in chronological order, so here is Gymkhana 2, "The Infomercial". Like most sequels to videos like these, the 2nd instalment is more self-aware, taking the time to advertise Ken Block's DC products (he co-founded DC Shoes). He uses a 566 horsepower GH Impreza STI here, running (I think) on E85 biofuel, hence the strange sound. Lots of slo-mo camera work this time too, arguably unnecessary at times, as well as bloopers during the credits. There's also a neat trick with a paintball gun, where he donuts around a gunner with his window down and has to avoid being shot in the face.

Uploaded: 1/6/09
Running Time: 7:32
Views At Time of Posting: 28,036,806

The video that throws off the numbering system is Gymkhana 2.1, a sort-of parody featuring the X-Games star's long-time friend and fellow maniac, Rob Dyrdek. Ken drives the same GH Impreza as above, but has to avoid hitting what appears to be a dressed-up go-kart while he does his thing.

Uploaded: 3/9/09
Running Time: 3:49
Views At Time of Posting: 8,788,566

This next one is actually a TopGear film featuring Mr.Block, whom James May describes as "A 'GameStation' character who has emerged into the real world", a description that seems accurate. Guest-starring famous stunt biker Ricky Carmichael.

Uploaded: 18/12/09
Running Time: 
Views At Time of Posting: 4,227,009

Now for the 4th Gymkhana film, Gymkhana 3. Here, Ken Block changes from Subaru to Ford, mirroring his change of alliances in the rally world, where he entered the WRC in a Ford Focus (which became a Fiesta this year). The change has proved controversial with some fans, but frankly it's even faster and lets him do what he does best, so whatever. This time, he's not playing on a nice flat open area, but at L'Autodrome de Linas-MonthlĂ©ry, an 87-year-old racetrack in France with a 51° banked section that he makes sure to utilise. Using a 650 horsepower Ford Fiesta with AWD, he manages to shred the rear tyres clean off at the end!

Uploaded: 14/9/10
Running Time: 7:42
Views At Time of Posting: 34,948,949

Finally, the most recent one, posted just five days ago (and it already has 5,024,690 views). Because he's using the same car as last time (albeit in a different, unknown spec), a slightly-on-fire Ken Block and his apparent movie team have gone all Hollywood, which I hope is a tongue-in-cheek thing and not seriously a way of pulling in viewers or trying to keep his Internet career alive (which is going a lot better than his WRC career...). Not so much Gymkhana as just wacky stunt driving, Gymkhana 4 "The Hollywood Megamercial" features a cameo appearance by Epic Meal Time, for no apparent reason whatsoever.

Uploaded: 16/8/11
Running Time: 9:16

BONUS VIDEO:
During a skiing holiday, someone thought it was a good idea to put small tank tracks on a modified Impreza WRC. The question you're asking now can be answered with "Well, why not?"

Uploaded: 2/11/09
Running Time: 2:03
Views At Time of Posting: 10,097,914

Next week's Video Sunday will be posted earlier in the day.

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