KANSEI Interview: Hovhannes Karagozian
Here’s our second interview session after the first interview focusing on local touge hero. This time we featured a driver hail all the way from ‘The Land of Uncle Sam’… United States Of America. He’s not only a natural born touge driver, but he is a very skillful rally driver who drive a Volkwagen Jetta and a Subaru Impreza WRX. This interview has been done long ago but only now have its opportunities to appeared in KANSEI weblog as we waited for way too long to receive a pictures of him but.. Nahh.. After we’ve think for a while, we’ve decided to let just put his videos in here…
This person is known as Johnny K among his friends and you may find tons of his videos in YouTube under the user name ‘Recce80’. His videos not only limited to driving but he’s a great fan of football as well.. Err, should we called it ‘soccer’..? (He’s into freestyle football anyway).. We get to know Johnny through the internet since August 2007 as we was exchanging touges video of us and him. He was formerly a driver for US Rally Team but has now gone solo with Europe as his next playground target.
Now, let’s see what he’s gonna tell us about him… Ohh, by the way, he don’t know who the fuck is Jessica Biel..? Dang..! Enjoy Reading! 😀
INTERVIEW DONE BY:Burn of Team KANSEI.
+ Good day Johnny. Please tell us briefly about your self such as your real name, your team and your country?
Good day everyone at Team KANSEI. My name is Hovhannes Karagozian, currently I am private and solo with no team. My country is Armenia, though I am living in the United States.
+ If you don’t mind, please tell us how long have you been driving around touges or in your case, rally?
I have been driving around those mountains and rally type of roads for about 15 years now.
+ If you were given option to choose between FF, FR, MR, or AWD layout cars to race on touges, which one do you prefer? Tell us why?
Haha.. That is a very hard decision to pick between drive terrain layout, each one has its own attributes for specific roads. Though if I had the choice, I would pick AWD. Strictly to the fact that the touge is always variable and changing every minute… I enjoy RWD, FWD , mid engine and many other layouts, but for all around attributes, AWD would be my weapon of choice.
+ Aside from rally, have you ever take part in any other type of race like autocross or drag racing?
Yes! I used to Auto-X, kart and drag race when i was much younger… I have done pretty much all types of racing… Except motorcycle racing… Which i do not intend to.
+ We can see from your video that you can drive very well and fast on slippery road (ice, snow). Can you give us an advice or a guide on how to do this?
Everyone has their own driving technique, so what might work for one person, might not work for another or vice-versa, I cant really give a guide on how to drive on slippery/wet surfaces, because it all depends on the driver. In basic terms, you have to have a really good back bone and spirit inside yourself to be dedicated on such surfaces. You have to feel the traction of the car and know whats going to happen prior to actually happening. Instinct is the main thing. No one taught me how to drive and I never have taken one driving lesson, or driving school. It’s all up to the person to realize their own technique and skills.
+ Ok, non touge question. Jessica Alba or Jessica Beil, which one is hotter?
I honestly do not know who these two people are. I do not watch any TV or news but I have heard the name of Jessica Alba but I do not know her face.
+ Tell us the truth: Drag racing doesn’t take anywhere near the skill course / touge racing (or off-road racing) requires, right?
Drag racing does not take much skill! There are 12 year old kids running 10’s second passes in their daddy’s Chevelle… Grow up kids..! Hahaha…
+ Tell us about your current car setup and future planning towards it? And why you choose this car?
Current car setup – The Jetta and the WRX. The Jetta has been around since I started driving. I always love that car and will keep it up for my children someday. I then buy the WRX so I could be more competitive in rally and drive in the ice/snow at faster speeds.
+ Hmm.. Another off topic one. Our member Azuri think that UK (Any country over Europe to be spesific) is the best country that produced good music in the world. Do you agree or you beg to differ?
Best music? I can’t really say who creates the best music but the UK is damned good in creating music! LOL.. But still there are lots of wonderful bands and artists from France, Germany, Sweden and even in the USA… I love music, so I can not say who is the best and I do not like to make favorites. I enjoy all of it equally.
+ What type of music do you listen to currently? Give us your top 5 playlist.
I listen to indie, classical, folk, classical rock and my girlfriend has been getting me into some of electronic and drum’n’bass, though my top 5 bands would be something like this:
1. The Innocence Mission
2. Pink Floyd
3. The Radio Dept
4. Sebastian Tellier
5. 80’s music in general
+ From your humble opinion, which is the fastest way in corners, grip driving or drift?
There is no fastest way around a corner. One corner might be faster drifting and one corner might be faster griping. It all depends on the corner and variables. For example: One corner at one time might be clean with no dirt and utilize a grip line for faster exiting speed though lets say the same corner has some dust… It will be better to utilize sliding to compensate for the dust and make up for the loss of traction but already being sideways and exiting at the faster speeds… It all depends on the corners and touge’s are always changing for its conditions. Its all variable.
+ Tell us about your experience in rally track (both off road or tarmac)? How was it when compared on driving fast on touges?
Rally and touge are the same things. Touge is just a mountain pass and rallys are usually held on mountain pass. Tarmac, dirt, sand, ice, snow.. It’s all the same. Its on a mountain. 🙂
+ If you ever had an opportunity to do Super Touring or Japan GT or even NASCAR race, would you participate in it and how do you think you would do on that?
I would love to enter Super GT, touring car or any sanctioned racing like that. I wouldn’t want to do NASCAR but i would enjoy car to car racing on tight tracks with mulitple corners. I think I would do fine in any situation as I am a confident driver. I can drive any car in any situation when i put my mind to it.
+ Beside your rallies, touges and a few other race stuff you do, where would you see your self in 10 years time?
In 10 years time I hope to see myself in europe doing hill climbs and professional rally.
+ Have you ever experiences crashes on touge or while rallying?
Many many crashs! Its not ‘if’ you will crash. It is ‘when’ you will crash. If you do not crash while driving in rally’s or on touge’s, you arent driving fast enough. Everyone has to have a crash… The best of the best or the worst of the worst. Everyone crashes and that is part of learning and becoming a better driver. Learn from mistakes and adapt.
+ Name us 5 of your most favorite driver in the world.
1. Jean Ragnotti
2. Henri Toivonen
3. Stig Blomqvist
4. Ari Vatanen
5. Ayrton Senna
+ Have you ever drive in any other country beside yours. What do you think about it?
No. I have never driven outside of the us. Hope that will change soon.
+ Tell us some short description about your former rally team (US Rally Team)? Have you or your team mates won any tournament?
Currently I am not directly involved wtih US Rally Team, though they are a great company. I have moved on to focus more on getting to Europe and rallying out there.
+ Is there a lot of good touges in your country? If there is, tell us where?
Ohh… There are so many beautiful and technical touges! I can’t start naming off where,because all over the states, from California to Colorado there are many great touges… The best touge’s though are in California.
+ Okay last but not least, your last words and shout out!
Thanks for involving me in your blog and showing your interest in the United States touge/rally scene. I respect all you guys who drive in Team KANSEI and have much respect for everyone who has a passion for driving. I always thank my family, my beautiful girlfriend Annabelle, all of my friends, the Lord especially and everyone who supports me. Thank you.
+ KANSEI NOTE: Thanks to you for doing this interview! We hope to have fun with you sometimes in the future… Take a very good care of your self and drive safe!