Ken Block makes amazing gymkhana videos. But NSW Police didn't want Ken Block to make this particular gymkhana video — the one you see right up there — in Sydney. So the Hoonigan team went to New York instead, leaving Australia in its dust. Here's the video they made — the video that could have featured the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and all our most famous city's iconic landmarks.
Ken Block's Gymkhana Nine was filmed to coincide with the launch of Forza Horizon 3, set in Australia — so it made sense for Gymkhana Nine to be filmed in Australia. In Sydney in particular, according to Jalopnik, who say that the Hoonigan racing team were denied a permit to film stunts in and around the Sydney CBD and across the Harbour Bridge, with police deeming the shutdown for the stunts "not possible". Gymkhana Seven, though, was filmed in Los Angeles — closing part of the city for a couple of days — as was Gymkhana Eight in Dubai.
Hoonigan's Matt Tuccillo told Jalopnik that “the police down there started to make things difficult with the permitting process for the locations we were trying to secure, both public and private. Apparently we were going to be 'bad' for Australia and as we got closer and closer to filming we started to lose more and more locations that we had secured, ultimately forcing us to abandon the concept.” Hoonigan even offered to film and publish a high-profile public safety announcement for NSW Police speaking out against unsafe driving, but that wasn't enough.
Tuccillo said the original concept for the video was to shoot in a mix of industrial and raw spaces, full of “locations that were iconic and instantly recognizable as Australia” like the Sydney Opera House.
That was not to be. A police spokesperson said that this request was deemed “not possible,” though they did not elaborate. Police said it was suggested the crew shoot on nearby Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbor instead, but those permit applications were never submitted.
The reason for that, Tuccillo said, is that Cockatoo Island would have been a supremely slow and boring place to shoot the video.
If you ask me, Australia really missed out on being part of this one. It's awesome.