Ken Block Wins ‘2005 Rally America Rookie Of The Year’
Ken Block hadn’t set foot in a rally car prior to October 2004, yet a year later he has been crowned Rookie of the Year by Rally America while establishing himself as one of the fastest American driver’s in the sport today. Block spent most of the season battling seasoned rally drivers on the extremely demanding rally events that make up the 8-round Rally America National Championship. Block, a 38-year-old California native piloted his Vermont SportsCar prepared 2004 Subaru WRX STI rally car to 4th Overall and 3rd in Group N (3rd only to current US Champion Patrick Richard and former World Rally Champion
Block’s day job is what got him into rallying in late 2004. As Co-Founder and President of skateboard shoe and apparel company DC Shoes, Ken sponsors some of action sports biggest stars. One such DC Shoes sponsored athlete is Supercross/Freestyle Motocross/X-Games star Travis Pastrana who began rallying with Vermont SportsCar in 2004. “When my company DC Shoes began to sponsor Travis Pastrana in 2004 I was eager to get involved in his rally racing efforts. I also thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go do something that has always been a dream of mine; to go rally racing. And, as a bonus, I get to do it with one of our biggest athletes,” explains Block.
The key to Block’s success was consistency and a level head. He always made it a goal to finish every rally and not push beyond his limits. He finished 6 of 8 events in the top 10, with one Overall podium (a 3rd Overall at the Maine Forest Rally) and an impressive three Group N class podiums. “Ken is the most focused driver we have ever dealt with and his results prove it,” adds Vermont SportsCar’s team owner Lance Smith.
Another key to Ken’s success has been his experienced co-driver Alex Gelsomino, an Italian native living in California. “He drives the notes (the co-driver’s detailed road instructions) the way it should be done and that really is the only secret for a rookie driver, “explains Gelsomino. “Above all though we have not seen Ken’s top speed yet and I’m really looking forward to next season to see what we can achieve,”
Although his effort for 2005 was a privately funded one, Ken would like to thank the following companies for their support; DC Shoes, Vermont SportsCar, Subaru of America, Shift Racing, Meguiar’s, Michelin, and Industrial Board Shop.
For 2006, Ken is looking forward to being more competitive with the top US competitors. “This year’s goal was to get experience and see if I could compete at a high level,” explains Block. “I drove fairly conservatively so that I could finish as many races as I could and get as many miles in as possible. But, I also proved that I can be near the top of the leader board. Now that the original goals are complete, it’s going to be fun to step up the speed and compete with the faster players in the sport!”
“In the ‘80’s when I was sliding my VW around in the snow, I really had no idea what I was doing, but it sure was fun,” says Block. “But now, I have been taught how to really slide cars around and do it at very high speeds! I love this sport and look forward to many years of pushing it as far as I can.”
To get more info on Ken and his teammate Travis Pastrana, go to www.dcshoes.com/rally for photos, interviews and exclusive videos.