Along with his 16-year-old co-driver.
Ken Block has done a little bit of everything. He's competed in rallying at all levels domestically and internationally. He's done dirt bikes and X Games and of course Gymkhana in a custom all-wheel-drive Ford Mustang. He also likes to go nuts on a side-by-side or two. This year he's trying something new: desert racing at the top level at the Baja 1000. And he's bringing the fresh-faced, 16-year-old Jax Redline with him, who's only had his driver's license for six months.
Block is also reintroducing his racing Ford Escort Cosworth - Cossie V2 - and he's using it to train the young pup how to rally drive before he goes to test his mettle at the New England Forest Rally. Block wants Redline to add the skill to his repertoire, which he says translates well to desert racing. Block did once compete in the Baja in a desert buggy, but showed up late and ended up rolling when his co-driver took the seat.
"One of the biggest differences between this sort of off-road racing and rally, what I love about rally is the precision and the notes," said Block. "Off-road racing is much different, much rougher, the notes are a bit more general. I think we can add some detail to those notes."
"For me the transition to rally was an easy one because I understood dirt. Jumping into Can-Am and other things I've done in the desert has been very easy. My road-reading skills work really well," said Block.
But no, he's not going to write stage notes for all 1,000 miles of the Baja.
Young Redline has been racing since he was little too. His dad was a dirt bike racer, so it runs in the family. First dirt bikes, then go karts, then sprint cars for Jax. He then moved to RZRs, those are the high-strung Polaris side-by-side vehicles. He then moved to Trophy Trucks, those are the ones that race in the Baja (along with other classes), but also said he was scared to ride with Block the first time.
We get that. Block, and more professional drivers, have a way of seeing the track or dirt path better than us normies. We've ridden with Block, and when that turn is approaching quickly, and he's still at wide-open throttle, it's…invigorating. Especially when you make it.
Check out Redline's practice in the Cossie, which is rebuilt, better than ever, after several Block crashes. The 2021 Baja 1000 begins on November 15 and runs until the 20th.