The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) joined motor sport fans the world over to mourn the passing of American motor sport icon Ken Block, who died in a snowmobile accident in Wasatch County, Utah, 2nd January 2 at the age of 55.
A statement from Hoonigan said: “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 a husband.”
With co-driver Alex Gelsomino, Block claimed a memorable victory in Sol Rally Barbados 2020 in a brand-new Ford Fiesta Rally2 he had driven for only a few hours on the previous Thursday, the first winner of the BRC’s premier event to come from the FIA R5 class. On stage at the Vaucluse Raceway Prizegiving, he said: “It was a really great event with great competition. What struck me more was the atmosphere; it was brilliant with the competitors and all the fans.”
Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard said: “It is absolutely tragic news. Sports people with ‘larger than life‘ public personas can sometimes be distant and detached when you meet them. Ken was the opposite of that. He was genuine, friendly and engaging, a true rally enthusiast whose overall victory on Sol Rally Barbados seemed to truly mean a lot to him. His wife Lucy and his children Lia, Kira and Mika accompanied him to Barbados in 2020, and my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with them as well as his long-standing co-driver Alex Gelsomino, Derek Dauncey and the entire Hoonigan team.”
Gelsomino first sat with Block part-way through his first full season in rallying, when he was Rookie of the Year in the 2005 Rally America Championship, since when they had contested more than 150 events together, with 29 victories. Sol RB20 was not Block’s first visit to compete in Barbados, after his earlier appearances in the Red Bull Global Rallycross series at Bushy Park and his unforgettable ‘race’ during the 2014 Top Gear Festival when he pitched his Ford Fiesta Rallycross Supercar against Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver Lewis Hamilton.