A: That depends on you, your abilities and your comfort level. However, speeds above 80 MPH are actually very rare in rallying, given the nature of the roads. We can tell you that you will feel the thrill of driving on dirt and gravel faster than only a few people get to do, but do so in a way that is always within your abilities. Overall, the purpose of the course is to allow you to experience driving on gravel and dirt, learn, and have fun. Your top speed will almost be a non-issue, although it will get your attention!
Q: What if I'm not comfortable driving as fast as others in the class?
A: Our instructors are well-trained to help you stay in a zone that is comfortable, without being too comfortable, and you will never be pushed beyond what's safe for you and the others in the class. In fact, we like to say that you'll get "comfortable being just slightly uncomfortable." If you're ever too uncomfortable doing something the instructors are asking you to do, just say so.
Q: Will I have my own instructor riding with me?
A: You will always have an instructor in the car with you. Throughout the day you will have more than one instructor working with you, allowing you to learn from multiple instructors. Having an instructor ride with you is critical for two reasons: First, the instructors can see what you're doing, and give you instruction and feedback in real-time. And second, rallying is all about having a co-driver riding with you, giving you instructions.
Q: What kinds of things will I do during my course?
A: Driving on a skid pad to learn car control skills, on a handling course to tune those skills further, on a slalom to develop the skills to turn the car by changing its balance, and on real rally stage-type roads. All of these driving experiences are in special areas of our 315-acre custom-designed facility - a facility developed specifically to help drivers learn about and experience rally driving.
Q: What about classroom instruction?
A: There is a minimum amount of classroom instruction - just enough to give you the knowledge and background to do what you really came for driving on gravel and dirt. Yes, the real classroom is inside the car. However, you'll enjoy the time you do spend in the classroom, as we've developed what we believe is the most up-to-date, interactive and fun classroom training.
Q: What if the weather is poor - raining, or even snowing?
A: Perfect! Rallying is all about dealing with varying conditions, and our facility is set up to handle them all, from hot and sunny to cold and raining, and even snow. In fact, because the conditions will change how you drive, some drivers will want to experience a course in the summer, and then again in the winter.
Q: How many students are in a course, and how many instructors teaching us?
A: A typical class size is no more than 9, with a 2-to-1 student-instructor ratio.
Q: What happens if I damage the car I'm driving?
A: While it is very rare that damage occurs, and our instructors are trained to help ensure it doesn't happen, it is possible. As in all forms of motorsport and performance driver training, you are responsible for any damage that occurs to the car assigned to you while you're driving it. To help limit your responsibility, we do offer an optional insurance policy. If you choose to purchase it, you will not be liable for any crash damage.
Q: Can I use my own car?
A: No. Our cars are specially prepared for what you'll be doing.
Q: Do I have my own car, or do I share it with someone else?
A: You will be sharing a car with another driver. During the course, while you are debriefing with your instructor, the other driver will be driving, and vice versa. You will also be able to compare to, and learn from the other driver. It is an effective and efficient method of learning.
Q: What about meals - do I need to bring my own?
A: We provide lunch as part of our 1-Day, 2-Day and 3-Day Programs, and refreshments are available. However, feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks. If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us well in advance of your scheduled course.
Q: Are there any basic requirements or prerequisites I need?
A: You must be in good physical health, and hold a valid non-restricted drivers license. (Under special circumstances, we will accept a driver who does not hold a driver's license - Contact us for more information). It's most productive if you're already comfortable driving a manual transmission, so we don't have to take time to teach you that technique. Other than that, there are no other prerequisites. You will be required to sign our Waivers and Releases, so if you're a minor we'll require a parent or guardian to sign for you.
Q: What days of the week are DirtFish courses available?
A: Currently, courses are available Monday through Saturday, year-round. If there is a specific date you're looking for that isn't on our website, please give us a call to discuss.
Q: What if I need to re-schedule a course I've already booked?
A: No problem, as long as we have more than 30 days notice. If it's within 30 days of your scheduled course, we will work with you to re-schedule to a mutually convenient date - you will be charged a $50.00 re-scheduling fee.
Q: Can I purchase a gift certificate?
A: Absolutely. Just give us a call.
Q: What should I wear to the course?
A: First of all, wear clothes that you're okay with getting dirty. Other than that, wear clothes that are comfortable for driving in. We recommend wearing a shoe that is good for driving, such as a tennis shoe. Of course, we provide a helmet for you to wear, too. We also recommend bringing clothes appropriate for all sorts of weather conditions - sunglasses, warm jacket, boots we never know what weather we'll be faced with. Oh, we have change rooms with lockers and showers.
Q: How much time out on the course?
A: Between 8:00 and 4:00 on our 1-Day Intro to Rally Driving course, we schedule a little over an hour for classroom (split up into a couple of short sessions) and one hour for lunch. The rest of the time is on the course, behind the wheel, or debriefing with your instructor. The schedule for our 2-Day Essentials of RallyCross and 3-Day Ultimate Rally Driving course is similar, with even less classroom time on the second and third days.
Q: Can I bring a friend or family to watch?
A: You bet. They will be required to sign a Waiver/Release, and where they can watch from will be slightly restricted, but they're more than welcome.
Q: I'm coming from out of town - where do I stay while attending my course?
A: Accommodations are your responsibility, although we can recommend hotels that offer a discount to you as a participant in our program. Upon registration, we will send a confirmation package to you that include a list of recommended hotels.
Q: What else can I do when I'm not at DirtFish?
A: Lots! We're fortunate to be only 30 minutes from downtown Seattle, with the Space Needle, Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market and everything else the city has to offer. We're about 20 minutes from Bellevue Square, where there's world-class shopping; 35 minutes from Pacific Raceways, where you can make your trip here the ultimate driving experience by driving a car on a road racing circuit; 20 minutes from Snoqualmie Pass ski resort; 10 minutes from all sorts of hiking trails; 10 minutes from Snoqualmie Casino; numerous golf courses; and just 5 minutes from being pampered at Salish Lodge Resort. If none of those activities suit your style, give us a call and we'll be happy to help you find what you're looking for.