Legendary Motorsports Icon Ken Block Passes Away at Age 55


Jack Schroeder, Staff Reporter

On January 2, 2023, professional rally driver Ken Block passed away after a snowmobiling accident in Utah. According to the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Department, Block was riding his snowmobile up a steep slope when it upended and fell onto him. Ken was initially riding with a group, but was alone at the time of the incident. Block was 55 years old. Block is survived by his wife Lucy, as well as his three children.

Hoonigan Industries, Ken Block’s automobile apparel company, released the following statement on Instagram: 

“It’s with our deepest regrets that we can confirm that Ken Block passed away in a snowmobile accident today. Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed. Please respect the family’s privacy at this time while they grieve.”

Ken’s wife Lucy and oldest daughter Lia have both since made Instagram posts honoring their husband/father. Lucy posted a picture of Block’s special painted helmet he was frequently seen wearing with a caption consisting of heart emojis, and Lia posted a picture of her in a racing suit walking next to her father at an event with a lengthy tribute in the caption. One of the sentences read: “Yesterday I didn’t just lose my father, I lost my best friend.”

As the news spread, many other motorsports athletes and automobile enthusiasts shared their condolences.

Supercross and motocross rider Ken Roczen reacted on his Instagram story with a picture of him, Block and fellow dirt bike rider Ricky Carmichael with a caption reading: “RiP @kblock43. Words can not describe the shock we are all in.”

Larry Chen, a photographer who often works with Hoonigan Industries and Ken Block said: “I’m gonna miss you bud. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family. Not to mention single handedly push car culture to new heights.” on Ken’s most recent Instagram post.

Automobile YouTuber Alex Choi also left a comment under Ken’s most recent Instagram post stating: “Thank you for being my life’s greatest inspiration. You will live forever in our hearts.”

Many fans also made statements crediting Block as their gateway to car culture.

Ken’s most recent Instagram post at the time of writing has over 1 million likes and over 77.8 thousand comments. The comment section is filled with fans and fellow pillars of the automobile and motorsports communities expressing deep condolences and heartbreak, as well as writing tributes. 

Block leaves behind a tremendous legacy in motorsports and sports marketing. Before beginning his rally racing career, Ken co-founded DC Shoes in 1994. The company quickly became one of the most renowned skateboarding merchandise brands. In 2010, Block founded the Hoonigan Racing Division, which has since garnered a large merchandise market and a YouTube channel that currently has 5.34 million subscribers. The employees and fans refer to him as the Head Hoonigan In Charge (HHIC). 

Ken began his rally career in 2005, participating in the Rally America Championship where he finished as a Rookie of the Year nominee. Block raced numerous other rally championships during his career such as the World Rally Championship, Global RallyCross Championship, FIA ERX Supercar Championship and the FIA World Rallycross Championship. What Ken may be most remembered for, however, is his collection of 14 “Gymkhana”, “Climbkhana” and “Electrikhana” YouTube videos, which he released over the years of 2008 to 2022. The videos include well-edited montages of Ken throwing around his numerous high-horsepower rally vehicles and specially modified drift cars on stunt courses, as well as drifting the vehicles on dangerous roads leading to the peaks of mountains. The videos drew in hundreds of millions of views as fans were infatuated with Ken’s amazing ability to control vehicles, as well as his ability to execute these wild maneuvers successfully in such dangerous conditions. Fellow rally driver and friend Travis Pastrana has also recently began making Gymkhana videos with Ken’s Hoonigan Industries. In 2010, Ken co-founded the Gymkhana Grid, which is an annual event where many drivers come to participate in all wheel drive and two wheel drive drifting competitions. Block also competed in the 2005 Gumball 3000 Rally during his rookie year and the 2021 Baja 1000 rally. Ken amounted 5 X Games medals. Because of this legacy, Ken Block is often credited as one of, if not the most important figure in motorsports and car culture.