Rally driver and Top Gear star Ken Block killed in snowmobile accident in Utah

3 January 2023, 07:45 | Updated: 3 January 2023, 10:21

Ken Block died in a snowmobile accident, his team announced
Ken Block died in a snowmobile accident, his team announced. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Professional rally and stunt driver Ken Block has died aged 55 in a snowmobile accident, his racing team has announced.

"It's with our deepest regrets that we can confirm that Ken Block passed away in a snowmobile accident today," Hoonigan said in a statement on Instagram.

"Ken was a visionary, a pioneer and an icon. And most importantly, a father and husband. He will be incredibly missed."

Utah’s Wasatch County sheriff’s office said Block was riding on a steep slope when the snowmobile upended and landed on top of him.

"He was pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident," they said in a statement.

He co-founded sportswear company DC Shoes and produced a video series Gymkhana, which featured him driving on dangerous tracks and obstacle courses. The series racked up millions of views on YouTube.

Tributes to him flooded in online after news of his death emerged.

Former Top Gear presenter James May was among the famous faces paying tribute to the pro driver on social media, alongside the official Top Gear Twitter page which described Block as an "all-round hero".

"RIP Ken Block, with thanks for some hilarious days out. Here's the airfield drifting piece from years back," May tweeted.

Meanwhile, the president of Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Mohammed Ben Sulayem, said: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Ken Block. An inspiration for us all and a true gentleman of our sport.

"The @FIA's thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time. RIP @kblock43."

Tanner Foust, who hosted the US version of Top Gear, wrote: "What an incredible person to learn from, battle with and to admire over the last two decades. Ken's influence on the automotive world cannot be quantified.

"In addition to pioneering a roadmap for the rest of us to follow in the marketing of motorsport - Ken Block was, above all else, a devoted family man. My heart and prayers go out to Lucy and the kids."

One fan posted: "The world has lost another legend… Thank you Ken Block for being a true visionary inspiration to automotive enthusiasts around the world."

Another posted: "Rest in peace to Ken Block who passed away yesterday after a snowmobiling accident."

Yesterday Ken tweeted a plug for his daughter's motoring online TV show. He wrote online: "The 4th and final episode of my 16-year-old daughter Lia buying, tearing down, rebuilding and now driving her ‘85 Audi Ur Quattro will be live at 8am PST tomorrow on my YouTube channel.

"Will her Audi finally do a donut?? Or will it break in the attempt? Tune in to find out!"

Not long before his death he posted pictures of his snowmobiles at his Utah ranch on instagram. One of his recent posts shows a few snowmobiles blanketed in snow.

Block said: "This is how some mornings at my ranch in Utah look this time of year – freshly coated with snow!"

He became one of the most famous rally drivers in the world after he started competing in 2005, and became well-known in the UK after appearing on two episodes of Top Gear.

In the first, he starred alongside James May as 'Captain Slow' partnered with him in his Subaru for a rally stage around Inyokern Airport in California.

And in the second he was challenged by Jeremy Clarkson to drive a three-wheeled Reliant Robin around the test track - but he rolled it at the first corner and escaped unharmed.

Ken leaves behind his wife Lucy and his daughter Lia, 16.

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