The 2016 Gymkhana Grid, hosted by Monster Energy, was set to take place in Marathon Greece- the most remote, most random piece of tarmac the mind can imagine.
Two busloads full of journalists and press from around the world were shuttled to the location on a brisk and fresh cloudy Greece day. We all sat through safety briefings and formalities, similar to what young kids might push through Christmas Eve waiting desperately for the next morning to open gifts.
All any of us really wanted to do was meet Ken Block, other professional drifting car drivers and experience a ride-a-long in a drifting masterpiece of machinery on the 2016 Gymkhana Grid course, with all its obstacles and props.
The Gymkhana has been around for five years now, and was the brain child of Ken Block himself. He brought the Gymkhana to the masses through his viral videos on YouTube- which have gained over 300 million views to date.
When the first cars fired up their engines and the ride along practice runs began, it became apparent why the remote location had been chosen! Some of these drift cars sound so brutally demonic, you actually wonder what type of modifications could generate such sound and power. It was out of this world
The virgin tarmac got torn up, and we got that first taste of adrenaline, slightly brought on by pure fear of not being used to traveling sideways like that. Nevertheless, you can’t help but smile from ear to ear and just marvel at the skill and talent that these drift car drivers have.
After loads of high speed turning, and plenty of smoke and burning rubber, I got some interesting interview time with Ken Block, Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni and Luke Woodham- to which I asked of all of them some insights into their physical, mental and nutritional habits, and preparations outside of driving practice that they use to stay strong, mentally focused and prepared to give it their all on the race track.
By Gavin Perry
Photos: By Gavin Perry