The motorsport world is in mourning this Tuesday after the tragic death of legendary rally driver Ken Block at the age of 55. The California native was killed in a snowmobile accident near his home in Utah on Monday.
Block raced in numerous categories of rally driving, including the World Rally Championship, Rally America, and the Global Rallycross Championships, before gaining an entirely new fanbase through his YouTube channel.
His "Gymkhana" series saw him perform daring motorsport feats in rally cars and more, earning him close to 2 million subscribers on YouTube.
Outside of his Gymkhana series, Block also shared vlog-style videos from his various races across the world. One of those videos saw Block take on the legendary Donegal International Rally in 2019 and it is truly spectacular footage.
RIP Ken Block: American driver took on Donegal Rally in 2019
The Donegal International Rally is renowned worldwide for its challenging, rough course, through some of Ireland's most beautiful landscape. Taking place in the northernmost part of the county, it takes in the spectacular surroundings of Donegal with an epically tough course for drivers.
The event draws huge crowds every year, but was particularly popular in 2019, when the legendary Ken Block decided to take it on as part of his world tour of iconic rallying courses.
Block drove a Ford rally car, heavily modified in order to take on the specific challenges presented by the Donegal course.
Block said that his visit to the rally was long overdue, with Irish fans having spent years imploring him to visit Donegal. He paid tribute to the motorsport culture in Ireland, and the kindness shown by fans towards him:
It's really incredible. I've wanted to come and do this rally for a very long time - I've met Irish people all around the world who have said, 'you've got to come and race an event in Ireland, you've got to come and do the Donegal Rally because it's some of the most epic stages in all of Ireland and, really, the whole world.'
It has delivered. The fans here incredible, the atmosphere, the motorsport and car culture here is incredible. I've been really enjoying myself, but it's been a huge challenge.
The atmopshere here in Ireland is just incredible. It's one of the most enthusiastic motorsports cultures I have ever been in. I've met different Irishmen around the world who are always talking about how good the rallies are here, and how much the fans come out.
It really, really is quite impressive. Not only is there over 150 entries here at this rally, but there's so many smart and enthusiastic fans who have come up to us. Everyone seems to ask how we're enjoying it, too - I've never had that many people say that in other countries!
The footage of Block taking on the iconic Donegal course is breathtaking. The unique "heart in mouth" thrills of rally driving are on full show, as one of the best to ever do it puts his car to the test on narrow and twisty Irish country roads.
The wet weather captured on one of Block's testing days only adds to the fearlessness on display from the American. The full video is 17 minutes long and embedded below - for the beginning of the rally itself, skip to 6:20, but you would be missing out on some epic insight into the challenges posed by the Donegal course.
Block would roll his car on day one of the rally, before returning to action on day two. The video below takes in the first three days of the rally experience in Donegal.
The vlog from the Donegal rally proves why Ken Block will be so dearly missed by the motorsports community. The video ends with a poignant message from Block, as he pays tribute to the late Irish racer Manus Kelly, who was killed in a crash during the 2019 Donegal Rally:
Very sad news this morning. Before we even got a chance to start the first stage of the day, it was cancelled. We were turned around and sent back to service because there was a major incident on the stage.
Manus Kelly and his co-driver had a big crash and, unfortunately, Manus Kelly - a three-time winner winner of the Donegal Rally and a legend here at this event - has passed away.
The rest of this rally has been cancelled and, in honour of him, we will be saying goodbye to this rally and this lovely island, and hope to be back.
Godspeed to you, Manus Kelly.
Seven-times Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton was among those to pay tribute to Block following Tuesday's saddening news, sharing the following message to his Instagram story:
Today I received news of the loss of a dear friend. I am devastated to hear of Ken Block's passing. He was such an amazing person, always lived life to the fullest.
I remember our first time working together and how positive he was. So much talent behind the wheel. Years ago we had an amazing time heli skiing and snowboarding in Canada. We held so much respect for one another.
He will truly be missed and my thoughts and prayers go to his beautiful family. Gone too soon. Rest in peace, Ken
Ken Block leaves a gaping hole in the world of rallying, and his sad passing will be felt by motorsports fans around the world. He leaves us with countless memories of epic drives and daredevil feats, and will be remembered by fans for years to come.