Ken Block goes all Gymkhana on The City
Ever have a dream about driving a wicked car at crazy speeds around a deserted San Francisco?
Dream no more.
Ken Block has brought it to reality in a stunning video dubbed “Gymkhana 5,” which was filmed over four days during May.
It’s nearly 10 minutes of speeding and weaving around our beautiful, empty city in a rallied-up version of a Ford Fiesta.
The video premiered in front of a few hundred people last weekend during the X Games in Los Angeles. Block addressed the crowd before showing the video:
“I am truly a lucky b——. I get to drive these cars as hard as I f—— can.”
After a brief setup showing Block getting ready, the action begins by using an empty Bay Bridge like a runway, building up speed and momentum as he weaves around barricades set up on Fremont Street.
Then, like a feisty cat taunting a big dog, Block drives around the iconic cable cars on California. No confirmation on whether Block was yelling “you can’t touch me!” as he drove by.
Block turns a pier behind AT&T Park into a doughnut shop, showing off his handling skills by performing swirling maneuvers in impossibly tight spaces.
Pacific Heights has seen its share of nice cars, but nothing like the aerial show put on by Block. The shot at the 3:55 point in the video may be the iconic moment of Gymkhana 5. The in-car cameras and slow-motion video are amazing.
And this is just the first half of the video.
The second half of the video includes a special appearance from X-Games legend Travis Patrana.
AutoBlog calls Block’s masterpiece “ten minutes of insanity.”
ESPN talked to Block after the premiere and he spoke about dealing with The City:
“Fortunately, we were able to work with [producer Scott Allen] Logan to get all the permits from The City to do what we wanted to do. The city of San Francisco welcomed us up there, and they were really great to work with. It was really a dream come true.”
In May, The Chronicle’s Matier and Ross talked to Officer Tony Tam, the spokesman for the California Highway Patrol about the skid marks left by Block on the Bay Bridge.
“We do commercials all the time. … They pay, so we let them do whatever they want as long as it’s within the permit.”