DirtFish Summerfest 2023 Offered Good Times And Fast Cars

Recently, Off Road Xtreme visited the DirtFish Rally School for their DirtFish Summerfest, an open house of sorts that shoceased what the outfit is all about. Besides unfettered access to the DirtFish facility and proving grounds, the event featured fun times, fast cars, professional drivers, and an afternoon enjoying all things rally.

DirtFish organized Summerfest 2023 to introduce, educate, and inform off-road enthusiasts about what the driving school really has to offer. The event was free and thrill rides were available in the school’s rally cars, but enthusiasts could bring their own rigs and traverse the DirtFish off-road training area for a fee. All that and free access to vendors, music, and celebrity guests like Rally Champion Brandon Semenuk, and off-road champion Sara Price.

Brandon Semenuk (seated with event organizer Josie Rimmer) and Sara Price were the celebrity drivers attending DirtFish Summerfest.

The DirtFish Rally School opened in 2010 on 315 acres of land in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Formerly a Weyerhaeuser log processing yard, there are industrial buildings scattered about, some you can actually race through! Founded on the principle that rally and off-road instruction should be affordable to everyone, DirtFish offers real driver training for anyone trying to break into rally or improve their general race driving skills.

The Subaru BRZs were flying at DirtFish Summerfest taking interested people for rides that left them with permanent grins the rest of the day.

Static displays of rally cars were everywhere at the DirtFish Summerfest. From WRC contenders to vintage and rallycross machinery there was someone for everyone.

DirtFish SummerFest Event Highlights

The lines formed early to buy a ticket to ride in a rally car with an instructor at “full chat”. Static displays dotted the landscape with rally cars, rallycross cars, off-road trucks and show vehicles. A DJ kept the crowd lively with music and timely information for those gathered. A raffle offered scores of prizes from products and gift cards to coveted rides with Price and Semenuk.

DirtFish Summerfest stretched nearly as far as the eye could see.

A variety of companies set up booths to show off their wares. Subaru, Motul Oils, Sparco Safety, and local vendors were in attendance. Several food trucks had their own area to feed the masses who arrived at DirtFish. The DirtFish company store was also open for those who desired their branded merchandise.

From rally to off-road DirtFish Summerfest had you covered.

Spread over a large area, Josie Rimmer, the DirtFish figurehead of the Women In Motorsport Program, was tasked with organizing Summerfest. She made sure that transportation was available to all by establishing golf carts to cruise and offer rides for those in need. They were much appreciated by those of us who are not in the best shape and families with small children.

Fast Cars and Precision Off-Roading

A rally stage took ticket holders on a full-on rally experience of what goes on in a real rally car. An off-road course was available for those who brought their own rigs. The idea was to show potential students what was available for recreational off-roaders to hone their skills on.

Whether you tackled the off-road course in your own vehicle or rode in one of the many school-provided vehicles there was something from everyone.

There were marked vantage points around the stage and off-road course for curious onlookers to see the action. People in pickups, SUVs and SxS rigs came to see what it was all about. All were impressed with the facilities.

So much to see and do and take photos of everywhere you looked.

That is what DirtFish is all about, the facilities. Within its 315 acres are numerous roads, trails and even a skid pad offering students a safe introduction to getting sideways. Safety is what this place is all about.

Like all off-road based events be it rally or off-road dogs are always welcomed.

Success Achieved

Watching people smile was the fun part of the afternoon. Whether they were climbing out of a rally car, exiting the off-road course, meeting friends, or making friends there were smiles all around. Overheard by an unknown DirtFish employee, “Nothing better than throwing a party and having everyone show up.” According to DirtFish the official number was close to 1,800 people. Now that is a party!

Four Questions with Sara Price

Off Road Xtreme got a chance to ask some quick questions of off-road power mover, Sara Price. The Trophy Truck driving, UTV winning, Motocross riding champion was kind enough to tell us what she is up to right now.

Sarah Price Plans For The Future

Off Road Xtreme: How are your plans coming along for Dakar 2024?

Sarah Price: Plans are in place, and we are full steam ahead to get funding secured. We won the Sonora Rally which gave us the Road to Dakar win meaning we earned a paid entry for 2024. There are meetings with our partners now. We are always looking to start new partnerships and plan some events to have the community involved, which we are really excited about!

Sara Price in her happy places, behind the wheel and sliding through a corner.

ORX: Four wins in a row! Mint 400, Sonora, NORRA Mexican 1,000, Baja 500, and 2nd at Dos Mares, How rewarding is that?

SP: Its beyond rewarding! I have to say this year was full of many changes and as they say, change can be good, and in our case, it’s been great! I signed with Can-Am for 2023 and have been in their X3 Maverick platform. I’m so impressed with these UTVs! Then I partnered with and brought on Alsup Racing Development, and he has tons of knowledge and experience with the Can-Am platform. He and I have the same goals and visions and work ethic. Ever since we have combined forces, we truly have been unstoppable. When you have the right people around you with the same vision without forcing it, success shows and that’s been exactly our year thus far.

Sarah Price In Trophy Trucks?

ORX: Are there any plans in the works to return to the Trophy or Spec truck ranks?

SP: Trophy Trucks will always be in my future! Right now, I want to make the Dakar dream happen and Trophy Trucks don’t compete there. So, my focus has been to build up my Can-Am program and really gear toward my future in the next few years of World Rally-Raid Racing.

I’ll always go back to Baja and always go back to the trucks if the opportunity arises. I think Chattanooga Whiskey keeps my name on the truck for when I can make it. I am so grateful for my home with them in the trucks!

Opportunities For Women In Motorsports

ORX: The recent surge of interest in the DirtFish Women in Motorsports program is so encouraging to see, yet you came up the hard way without such a program. What advantages do you see for women getting started in motorsports using these programs versus the way you came up?

SP: DirtFish is absolutely incredible, and the people are incredible. Their facility with top-notch instructors and capable vehicles allows you to truly become the best driver you can be! DirtFish has helped me a lot by being able to get seat time and work on the racecraft. That seat time isn’t easy to get in on 4 wheels. The cost anytime you run a vehicle is a big expense and DirtFish gives you this ability without such a high expense.

Josie Rimmer (left) is the architect of the Women in Motorsports Program implemented by DirtFish. Michelle Miller (right) is a double threat in rally. She is proficient on both sides of the car and is an ace instructor at the school as well. Both of them, along with Sara, are gaining advantages because of the new light being shone on women in motorsport.

SP: Also, the support they provide to women in motorsports is incredible. Women in the racing world are getting more and more opportunities but it’s still not there like the men have. What I mean by that is in a room of 100 Men there is 1 female and most likely that female hasn’t had the same amount of seat time as the others. That is changing and it is such a great thing to see and be a part of in this era of racing!

DirtFish Summerfest 2023 Offered Good Times And Fast Cars

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About the author

John Elkin

John Elkin was born into an off-roading family. Most vacations were spent exploring Death Valley. Later, John found off-road racing, then rally. His competition career spanned 35 years, mostly navigating. John lives in Vancouver, WA. with his family.
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