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Obama Can't Gymkhana

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Obama Can't Gymkhana

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Obama Can't Gymkhana

That goes without saying.

Prepare to be astounded, from the creative driving mind of Ken Brooks:

Obviously, an exquisitely-produced video which combines any number of ingenious camera angles brought even more alive with outstanding editing.

A few notations: as an EVOC instructor for roughly a quarter of a century (this means I have instructed cops and fire/paramedic personnel in pursuit and emergency response as well as precision placement, in four [or more] wheel vehicles and on motorcycles) I can recognize the true talent that Ken Block exhibits. He is clearly a professional with remarkable driving skills.

That said, there are a few interesting things to point out with regard to this video:

I am doubtful that the video was created in one continuous take. It is, however, an absolute marvel of editing and multiple-camera placement. I say this predicated upon the fact that, with as many completely radial power-on maneuvers he makes here, one set of tires wouldn't likely suffice for nearly eight minutes. Sure, he burns his rear tires completely off at the end and creates sparks by rim-running, but the thinner his rubber the less likely he is to execute and, more importantly, replicate such precise placement. I could be wrong, but I suspect this final version took a take or two. Or three.

You can also clearly observe that he practiced a number of times on the circuit. Look at the pavement. This is not asphalt, it is concrete and therefore in high contrast with the tire marks extant around the various cones and patterns. This wasn't a One Shot Deal; Mr Block is the consummate professional and, as such, practiced extensively for these takes.

You'll note his chosen vehicle was a highly modified 2011 Ford Fiesta (the likes of which is now available in the US -- but not like his) with its interior gutted, prepared by Olsbergs MSE, in AWD, with a 650-hp engine possessing 660 ft-lbs of torque at the wheels and capable of 0 to 60 in a coup brain-injury-creating 1.9 seconds.

Gymkhana (from Jim Conners) requires a vehicle to negotiate a series of courses, slaloms, pivots, cones, turns and obstacles. Not unlike autocross, which I also taught for many years -- and definitely like F-1 racing (which, in my opinion, demands the world's greatest racing skills), course memorization isn't just "nice," it's required.

You'll notice that Ken Block has the advantage of a small, highly maneuverable, high-hp, AWD platform which is controlled with paddle shifters (upshift right paddle, downshift left paddle) and a large ventilated handle on the right which is his e-brake lever (custom stamped with Ken Block's name) and controls braking on the rear wheels only, which produces oversteer. He benefits in two creative and visually impressive ways: the AWD aspect ensures control of his line, but the e-brake also allows him to drift and power-oversteer his car when desired.

Which brings us to throttle-steer.

If you listen closely to the video, you'll hear Ken Brooks not in the throttle constantly and smoothly; he's into the throttle in a series of smaller or lengthy blips depending upon the turning maneuver.

He is controlling the nose-angle of the car -- that is to say, the directional aspect of his vehicle -- not only with the e-brake but with his throttle as well. Using a singular or mixed application of brake and throttle-steer, he can ensure that, upon exit, his car is already pointed in the proper direction for the next obstacle or maneuver. Further, with a mixture of appropriate steering, his path is cemented. He keeps from losing control of the car, via understeer he has purposely created, by the application of judicious and practiced throttle-steer.

You'll also note that he consistently uses two hands, opposed as possible, upon the wheel. Watch how he shuffle-steers. This man is good. He is very, very good.

It is interesting to note that he completely cleans most apexes -- but still misses a few. He drops off the pavement and into the dirt following one starboard maneuver.

Hey, nobody's perfect.


It's Sunday.

Just enjoy the vid.



Blogger Beth said...


Where's the disclaimer "professional driver on closed course, do not attempt"???

Sat Oct 02, 10:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Greybeard said...

It is neat.
But look closely as he goes out onto the banking the first time...
Does he make contact with the wall?
Like extraordinary aerobatic pilots, pushing the envelope will get you bit every now and then.
But you pay a higher price in an aircraft.

Sun Oct 03, 08:10:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Beth: in France they don' need no steenkeen disclaimers. . .

Greybeard: when you push the envelope sometimes the envelope pushes back. Which is, as you point out, the difference. You can't, in a plane, just pull to the curb. Which is why, as you already know, it doesn't much pay to push much of an envelope in the air.

And certainly NOT in the Land of Rotors.


Sun Oct 03, 11:18:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bushwack said...

That's an awesome video...

Sun Oct 03, 08:20:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Nice one, and yeah, he's been practicing! :-) STILL a fantastic driving exhibition!

Mon Oct 04, 05:49:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Spokes said...

Holy freakin' crap!

He really IS good! For those that have never had the opportunity to even attempt these maneuvers on a closed course(such as EVOC instructors) it's difficult to explain just how precise he really is. You would never see this done with a boat-anchor CVPI!! This might be the best marketing tool for the new Ford Fiesta. Thanks, BZ.

Mon Oct 04, 06:12:00 PM PDT  
Blogger mtbjunkie said...

And to think, not too long ago he was on the boardwalk selling shoes and t-shirts to make a living. See: History of DC Shoes.

Tue Oct 05, 02:44:00 PM PDT  

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