Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Rally car racing

Ken Block brings Gymkhana racing to U.S. with Irwindale debut


An exciting new style of racing is hitting the U.S. for the first time later this week, when rally-car driver and DC Shoes co-founder Ken Block brings Gymkhana Grid to the Southland with the Ken Block Gymkhana Invitational, Friday and Saturday at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

Derived from a Hindi term, Gymkhana is used to describe a sport that tests the ability of competitors to negotiate a pre-designed route boasting a complex design. As a motorsport, it's essentially a cross between drifting and rally-car racing.  Gymkhana courses feature obstacles such as cones, tires, barrels and K-rails, where drivers compete in a head-to-head battle with the goal of negotiating the course as fast as possible with the least amount of course infractions.

The inspiration for creating the competitive race series was born after Gymkhana videos became an Internet sensation, garnering about 90 million viewers to date and making Advertising Age magazine's list of Top 10 all-time viral videos. The above video, "Gymkhana Three, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome, France," is the latest and has been viewed by more than 18 million people since its Sept. 14 release. The video takes one's breath away, as Block literally drives the tires off his Ford Fiesta.

"Ever since we filmed the first Gymkhana clip, I've been itching to not only get my professional racing friends to be able to come and play with me in this incredibly fun, sideways and technical motorsport, but also to make it possible for amateur drivers to participate, too," Block said. "And Gymkhana Grid does exactly that."

Toyota Speedway gates open at 10 a.m. both days, with practice and qualifying rounds on Friday and practice and head-to-head elimination rounds Saturday (a complete event time schedule is available here).

A two-day ticket is $30 and a Saturday-only ticket is $25. Both can be purchased online (which includes an "early-buyer" discount) or at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video: Ken Block's "Gymkhana Three, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome, France." Credit: YouTube

Travis Pastrana makes the jump to NASCAR


Action sports phenom Travis Pastrana is making the leap to NASCAR in 2011.

Pastrana, 27, has signed with Michael Waltrip Racing with inital plans to race Toyotas in seven Nationwide Series events in 2011 and 20 races in 2012 for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, a new team owned by Pastrana, Michael Waltrip Racing and Gary and Blake Bechtel.

"I’ve been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan of the sport, with competing in the sport a lifelong dream," Pastrana said. "I decided it was time to try and turn that dream into reality and with the help of the Bechtel family, Michael Waltrip Racing and Wasserman Media Group I’m now one step closer!"

Waltrip, a a two-time Daytona 500 champion, noted the importance of the youth demographic Pastrana brings to NASCAR.

"Travis has built an enormous and unique following all over the world," said Waltrip. "As a race team owner, we are always looking for ways to deliver to our partners and engage our fans better. This is an opportunity to showcase our company and our sport to a new generation of young fans. We’re also looking for that next big star.  Travis already is one and action sports is full of talented athletes. Having Travis as a part of our program adds another great dimension to our team and NASCAR."

Pastrana has won 16 X Games freestyle motocross gold medals and also has multiple supercross, motocross and rally car championships under his belt. Pastrana also stars in MTV's "Nitro Circus," which includes the television series, live tours and a soon-to-be-released feature film.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video: Travis Pastrana gets ready for NASCAR. Credit: Pastrana Waltrip Racing via YouTube

X Games 16 tickets go on sale Thursday

13-time medalist Bucky Lasek competes in the Skateboard Vert competition at last year's X Games.

Tickets for X Games 16 will go on sale Thursday at venue box offices, Ticketmaster outlets and through Ticketmaster.com. Ticket prices range from $9-$40 for events being held July 29 through Aug. 1 at four downtown Los Angeles locations.

All tickets include admission to X Fest at L.A. Live. Taking place in conjunction with the X Games, the free action sports festival will open at 9 a.m. daily and will feature sponsor and industry booths, musical performances, interactive parks, athlete appearances, demonstrations and more.

The competition schedule, listed by date, time, events, venue and ticket price(s): 

Thursday, July 29

10:30 a.m. -- BMX freestyle park elimination and skateboard street elimination; Event Deck at L.A. Live; $9.

4 p.m. -- Moto X Super X, men’s, women’s and adaptive; Moto X freestyle and skate big air; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum;  $16

Friday, July 30

11 a.m. -- Skateboard park elimination and BMX freestyle street elimination; Event Deck at L.A. Live; $9

4 p.m. -- BMX vert, skate vert and skate vert best trick; Nokia Theatre; $20, $40.

5 p.m. -- Moto X step up, best whip and best trick; Staples Center; $17, $22, $25, $30.

Also Friday is the women’s skate vert, a free event at 2:15 p.m. inside Nokia Theatre.

Continue reading »

Travis Pastrana to ring in the new year in a flying car

Travis Pastrana is still smarting after a trick gone awry at the X Games, which he appropriately named the "Atomic Butt Drop" because that's essentially what his attempted corkscrew 720 on a motorcycle was, during Friday night's Moto X Best-Trick contest.

His second-place finish in Sunday's rally car final hardly eased the pain, because Pastrana was the defending champion and might have won had he not crashed in the two-driver final.

But with Pastrana there's nothing to be gained by brooding over today because there's always tomorrow--or, in this case, there's always New Year's Eve.

That's when the action sports icon and Rally America champion will become the latest athlete to star in the "Red Bull: New Year. No Limits" program that will air live on ESPN.

Pastrana, 25, will attempt to break the world record for distance jumping in a car--and he'll do this in Los Angeles at a site yet to be announced.The current record: 171 feet. 

Here's hoping for a better landing this time around.

--Pete Thomas

Video teaser courtesy of Red Bull

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.