On January 2, 2023, legendary motorsports personality Ken Block died in a snowmobile crash in the Mill Hollow natural area in Utah. He was 55 years old and had been riding with a group, although he was alone at the time of the crash.
According to the local sheriff’s office, he “was riding a snowmobile on a steep slope when the snowmobile upended, landing on top of him. He was pronounced deceased at the scene from injuries sustained in the accident.”
Block is survived by his wife and three daughters. In his short time on Earth, he left an indelible mark on multiple worlds. From Gymkhana to Hoonigans to DC shoes, to his rally efforts—he was well known, respected, and loved by friends and fans across all varieties of the automotive and motorsport worlds.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that tributes to Block have been pouring in from various branches of motorsports—including those on two wheels. Although Block didn’t compete on two wheels, he was an avid dirt bike rider since he was a kid. In 2021, he tweeted that he was excited to get back out on the awesome dirt track he had in his back yard, after not having ridden in 15 years because he didn’t want to risk knocking himself out of rally competition with a potential dirt bike injury.
MX Sports Pro Racing president Davey Coombs offered the following statement:
“Everything that Ken Block did in his life was genuine, thoughtful, smart, and sincere. His passion for action sports of all kinds ran deep, only surpassed by the love and passion he had for his family. His many successes were well-earned, his many accomplishments well-deserved.”
“He was a true fan of supercross and motocross—Ken once spent a summer following the AMA Pro Motocross tour just so he could ride all of the tracks on amateur day. Every rider in the paddock probably looked up to him as much as he looked up to them. He was as much an icon as a role model, and just a truly great human being,” Coombs continued.
“Our hearts go out to his wife Lucy and his children Lia, Kira, and Mika. Godspeed #43,” he concluded.
The MotoGP paddock has been vocal in its remembrances, as well. Ducati Corse sporting director Paolo Ciabatti may have spoken for all of us when he wrote, “Noooo, I just can’t believe it. Goodbye Ken. My thoughts and prayers are with the Block family. RIP @kblock43.”
Casey Stoner wrote, “A true legend of motorsport has left us far too soon. Ken Block was not only a great driver and ambassador for motorsport, he was a genuinely great human. You will be sorely missed mate! All our love to your family. RIP”
Miguel Oliveira wrote, “Hoje perdemos um visionário, um marido, um pai mas sobretudo uma inspiração. O legado que deixou através do projeto gymkhana da sua marca DC shoes foi mais que suficiente para marcar gerações e quem ama motores. Descansa em Paz,” which translates to, “Today we lost a visionary, a husband, a father but above all an inspiration. The legacy he left through his DC shoes brand Gymkhana project was more than enough to mark generations and those who love motors. Rest in Peace.”
Perhaps one of the most touching tributes came from Valentino Rossi, and didn’t involve words at all. If Block’s sudden death left you speechless (as it did me, so you’re definitely not alone), the image at the top of this piece is what the Doctor posted in his Instagram stories upon hearing the news. He included no text, but simply posted a photo of himself and Block in happier times, just a pair of racers hanging out.
I had the good fortune to meet and chat with Ken Block toward the beginning of my writing career—and as you can imagine, I was nervous. I’d been a motorsport fan long before I ever wrote about any of it—racing, cars, or bikes—but he was incredibly kind, and happy to chat pretty much forever about racing. No matter who you were, he was a person to instantly put you at ease. I saw that not just in our conversation, but in how he treated his fans. He seemed like a real one, and the world is poorer for his passing.
We at RideApart send our deepest condolences to the Block family, as well as his friends and fans all around the world.