The unique site of the DirtFish Rally School once belonged to a much different company – a lumber company, in fact. Where now Subaru rally vehicles shred mud and gravel, Weyerhaeuser operated a booming lumber business. For almost a century the land was utilized for lumber operations, and even today several of the original buildings still stand. In 2010, however, the site was purchased by Snoqualmie Mill Ventures, and shortly thereafter DirtFish was born. No more would the land be used for lumber. Instead, the Snoqualmie location would be used as a professional rally school, teaching professionals and novices alike to own a course in any conditions.
The history of DirtFish makes its dirt tech unlike anything else in the country. DirtFish courses wind their way through everything from an original warehouse to deeper into the property’s wild reaches. The material that DirtFish relies on is unique, as the land sits on an old riverbed. A few inches of rock on top of unforgiving boulders provides a surface that makes dirt tech more challenging – and more rewarding – than most. The Pacific Northwest climate doesn’t hold any punches, either. It rains frequently on the DirtFish courses, and as water makes the ground soft, it’s a Course Technician’s number one enemy. Furthermore, the sheer amount of traffic the roads receive from daily instructional classes means they’re heavily abused on a regular basis.
It takes a dedicated team of professional, enthusiastic Course Technicians to keep DirtFish’s tracks operational. And the DirtFish team? They have what it takes to keep the tracks alive. While some rally schools have their own rock quarries and extensive maintenance crews, DirtFish does what it does with the materials they have on hand and a crew of no more than six people. On class days, they divide and conquer by spotting ruts and holes made by students and using machinery like graders to keep the courses smooth. During off-days, the team identifies roadway problems such as bumps, washboards, torn-up sections, and overhanging brush, and additionally uses things like rollers and tractors to make the courses new again.
It’s not an easy job. Think of a Zamboni clearing the surface of ice for hockey players at every break – then multiply the difficulties of that job by a power of ten. But the Course Maintenance team at DirtFish remains vigilant and optimistic, preparing the course roads for students every day to make sure that every class gets a fresh start with an optimal surface. The DirtFish Course Maintenance crew possesses both the necessary knowledge and equipment to give you the rallying experience you’ve dreamed of. Visit our Driving Programs page to learn how to book a rally driving program to see and enjoy, firsthand, their work.
Article by Taryn Ziegler