For the fourth year in a row, Monster Energy has organized Gymkhana GRID, The European Gauntlet. The event is one of the most exciting motorsports going on today, featuring head-to-head racing competitions that are held on identical, mirrored courses. Racers are forced to not only race each other on the clock, but to also interact with the course in very specific ways, with certain sections requiring cars to slide and drift in order to not receive time penalties, as well as avoiding contact with obstacles. The 2015 season finale event returned to Santa Pod Raceway in the U.K., the venue that hosted the first European finale four years ago. Monster Energy went bigger and better, securing live broadcasting for the event on television in both the U.K as well as France, and a simultaneous live stream broadcast on their YouTube channel.
The event also marked the public debut of Ken Block and Hoonigan’s latest car build: a 1978 Ford Escort Mk2 RS. The car was driven at the event by fellow Hoonigan driver and top Formula D competitor, Ryan Tuerck, since Block had driving duties behind the wheel of his 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn RTR for the weekend. Tuerck did both the Escort and Block proud by winning his “hero battle” on the final day of competition, a showdown between Tuerck and the winner of the rear wheel-drive Gymkhana GRID class who happened to be Monster athlete Luke Woodham. In fact, Tuerck and the Escort ended up being the fastest rear wheel-drive setup of the entire weekend.
Block was busy all weekend long with media interviews, autograph sessions and media ride alongs, but still managed to put in a handful of laps on Friday’s media day. Saturday saw Block rained out from running (Block’s Hoonicorn RTR features open intakes and has no side windows or windshield wipers, so it’s unable to run safely in the rain) and his Sunday schedule only allowed him to run on the course twice before having to compete in his hero battle. Block ended up racing the all wheel-drive class winner, Dmitrij Sribnyj in his hero battle, narrowly getting beat out by Sribnyi. An unsurprising result given that Block’s Hoonicorn RTR wasn’t built for competition and features far too much horsepower and vehicle size for the slightly smaller-than-normal Gymkhana GRID course setup.
“It was an incredibly fun weekend and I loved watching all the competitors battle it out,” said Block. “Trying to get the massive and overly powerful Hoonicorn around the course was a real challenge today and it's the first time I've properly raced it. Dmitrij had an amazing drive in our one-on-one, so well done to him! He’s been the all wheel-drive class winner every year that Monster has run this event, so he’s definitely been building up the experience required to excel at this. I also think that the turnout for the event was great and it was awesome seeing the thousands of stoked fans respond so well to my two cars. Monster did an awesome job with event once again, so I’m already looking forward to next year’s race. Thanks to Monster for organizing such a great event and to all the fans who came to see us.”