MEET THE TEAMS: HOONIGAN RACING DIVISION
The fourth interview with a member of the FIA World Rallycross Championship paddock is with America’s Kit Cope, who works as Performance Coach in the Hoonigan Racing Division team.
Q: Explain your role within the team?
KC: “I’m the Hoonigan Racing Division Performance Coach. It's my job to keep the drivers fit, fed properly and hydrated. Along with that kind of maintenance, I also assure that they are properly warmed up physically, as well being mentally prepared to win.”
Q: Do you travel wherever the team goes?
KC: “I travel wherever there is competition for the drivers. That means all of the races, for the most part. I don't get to go to any of the fun stuff without pressure like Gymkhana or the various appearances that Ken does. Basically, when we need to win, I'm there.”
Q: Do you have specific routines you go through at different times?
KC: “We do have some specific routines that we go through at specific points during race days. We have workouts that we do as well as proprietary drills and exercises that give the drivers very specific physical and cognitive advantages in the race.”
Q: What is your background?
KC: “My athletic background is in fighting. I'm a four-time world champion in Muay Thai and then I fought MMA in the WEC and UFC. My educational background is in exercise physiology with emphasis in human sports performance. Within that schooling was a large amount of biomechanics and sports psychology. So, it doesn't really matter what the sport, I can do an assessment of an athlete's performance and make them better at what he or she does.”
Q: How did you get involved with Ken Block?
KC: “I was training a professional skateboarder named Jason Ellis in 2004 and during a visit to the DC indoor half-pipe, we ran into Ken. We ended up doing a short try-out session there and that led to Ken making trips out to Las Vegas to train for a while until we both got busy with other things. We kept in touch over the next few years and since he realises that a race car driver is actually an athlete, Ken called me up and decided that he wanted to enlist me to be his full time sports performance coach.”
Q: What are the biggest challenges with your role?
KC: “My biggest challenge is that there is only one of me. Sometimes when my drivers are in close races or even the same race, it's tough to tend to one driver and then switch demeanor and strategy and key phrasing in an instant to tend to the other.”
Q: What are the best things about your role?
KC: “I Love to see the improvements my athletes make as a direct and sometimes indirect result of our training. When we work on a specific aspect of the race and then we see direct improvements in that aspect, it's very rewarding for the driver and in turn, very rewarding for me!”
Q: How does you role change when between events?
KC: “Between events my role basically stays the same. The only thing that changes is the emphasis on which we focus. Typically, we are working more on maintaining and gradually increasing the athlete's general fitness as well as emotional health and cognitive abilities.”
Q: How has it been to work with Andreas Bakkerud for the first time this year?
KC: “Andreas has been awesome to work with. He understands the need for science, fitness and science in fitness in order to rise above the competition. He's an extremely coachable athlete who is very dedicated to his purpose. Beyond that, he's just a really cool dude that is always happy and fun to hang out with.”
Is there anyone in the World RX paddock you’d like to know more about? Get in touch and let us know.
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