Ken Block tackles China’s Tianmen Mountain in Climbkhana Two
Way, way back in 2008, before Ken Block was a household name, the first Gymkhana video showed Block drifting across the abandoned hangars and runways of a former Marine Corps Air Station, using a 530-horsepower Subaru to pull weeds that grew up through the cracks in the concrete of the defunct airstrip. It was like nothing most American car enthusiasts had ever seen, with daringly close camerawork and Block’s nonchalant car mastery in clear display.
Subsequent Gymkhana videos have upped the production value and found new ways to highlight Block’s uncanny driving skill. There have been exotic locations and bizarre obstacles for Block to pirouette around using a succession of cars. The Subaru WRXs gave way to a Ford Fiesta, then an AWD 1965 Mustang that drifted across Los Angeles and up Pikes Peak, and finally Block’s current ride, the Hoonitruck, an EcoBoost-powered 1977 Ford F-150.
For the latest video in the series, Climbkhana Two, Block and the Hoonigan crew traveled to Tianmen Mountain, known as “China’s most dangerous road,” where a serene, foggy landscape contrasts with the angry wail of the Ford’s 916-horsepower EcoBoost. Block takes a few detours to drift donuts around a tram station, but the bulk of the video is the Hoontiruck shouting up 99 hairpin switchbacks carved into the side of a rocky but forested mountain, perilously close to plummeting off the edge.
The steep drop-offs are highlighted by some great drone footage, and there’s no soundtrack other than engine noise and tire squeal until the credits roll, at which point there’s still one more minute of drifting action, this time accompanied, appropriately, by Ozzy’s Over the Mountain.
Although this video isn’t as flashy as some of Hoonigan’s previous work, the videography is still top-notch and the scenery is tough to beat. Of course, Block is still as impressive as ever. What do you think? How does this rank among Ken Block’s viral video productions?