“Gymkhana 2022” was a worthy addition to the popular gymkhana viral video series started by Ken Block, with plenty of insane stunts performed by Travis Pastrana in his 1983 Subaru GL wagon called the Family Huckster. But nearly every stunt in the video almost didn’t happen.
Subaru of America’s “Launch Control” YouTube show is doing a three-part behind-the-scenes look called “Road to Gymkhana 2022” showing just how much of a scramble it was to overcome injuries, mechanical issues, and plain old bad luck. (This second episode was filmed before the death of series creator Ken Block.)
The problems started when Pastrana was injured attempting a BASE jump off a building in Fort Lauderdale for the video. A parachute malfunction led to a hard landing, which left Pastrana hospitalized and put shooting on hold for six months. Despite being bedridden, Pastrana was remarkably upbeat, owing to his years of experience putting his body on the line.
“Travis has an unusual amount of experience being injured,” William Stokes, Subaru of America motorsports manager, said in the video. So he had no problem getting back behind the wheel after his recovery.
Once filming restarted, there was an issue shooting a drag race between Pastrana and YouTube personality Cleetus McFarland, who drove a 3,000-hp Chevrolet El Camino. A fault in the Chevy’s engine mapping meant it refused to launch hard, and then the Family Huckster developed problems as well. This was especially problematic because the race was being filmed on a closed public street, with only a limited amount of time available to get the shot.
Another time constraint was daylight. By the time everything was set up to shoot Pastrana performing stunts in tandem with a monster truck, the sun was going down and the clock was ticking. That left time for two or three attempts, which could easily get eaten up during multiple takes looking for the right camera angles, or by mechanical issues.
In that high-pressure situation, Pastrana clipped a concrete barrier, damaging the suspension and rear axle. Switching to rally pit crew mode, Subaru’s mechanics descended on the wounded car and got it working again in time to get the shot.
If you’ve seen “Gymkhana 2022,” Subaru’s behind-the-scenes videos are definitely worth watching to see just how much effort goes into making something as dangerous and unpredictable as a gymkhana video.
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