What DirtFish Women’s Summit meant to those who were there

A big effort by the organizers and a big attendance worldwide contributed to a brilliant day for those who took part

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For the last three days I’ve watched Josie’s coffee go cold. Don’t get me wrong, the coffee’s good here – we’re talking Seattle, home of Starbucks.

It’s more a question of time. For the woman putting the women into DirtFish’s Women in Motorsport Summit, the past week has been something of a whirlwind. And when I say week, I mean month. And when I say month, I mean since 2021 became 2022.

Thursday was the eye of the storm. The Summit.

Like any summit worth its story, getting there and then sitting back for a moment to take in the achievement was something very special.

American broadcaster NBC arrived and wanted to talk to the person who’d made all this happen. Step forward Josie Rimmer.

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The applause had barely died down since she closed the panel, where some of the world’s most influential women had – either in person or via video link – inspired, entertained and informed a packed McRae Room in DirtFish Rally School as well as a virtual crowd counted from the earth’s four corners, when it was time to step before the camera and talk national television through her thinking.

The moment caught up with her. Rally cars were being fired-up for thrill rides, pizza ovens stoked and the band was kicking off with ‘Jolene’. The festival atmosphere was taking over from the day’s serious business.

A second to catch her breath had brought the realisation of what she’d achieved.

“Wow,” she said, “I feel really emotional…”

And that emotion carried her through another interview where this 22-year-old outlined the reason why this work is so important. DirtFish’s guest editor Michèle Mouton would have been immensely proud of what Josie had to say.

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Extreme E racer Sara Price provided a classic all-American take. Walking past the interview in progress, she grinned in Rimmer’s direction and said: “Josie’s a real badass.”

In this part of the world, that’s a good thing. A very good thing.

The effort that went into Thursday was immense, but when you bring together women who are inspired to work alongside Mouton, women like Sami Dallas, Kelley Clausen-Walters and Michelle Miller, anything and everything is possible.

As a company, Women’s Month is a massive part of our year and the Women in Motorsport Summit was a big chunk of that. It means heaps to us.

But what did it mean to the wider world? Washington resident Naomi Watnick put it all into perspective.

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“It gave me chills to be in a room filled with such strong, amazing, accomplished females – they are the names I’ve read about for years. I got so excited, I got a little bit fangirl-ish and love the fact that I’m surrounded by these amazing women.

“It’s a unique opportunity and I’m so proud to be part of it. I’ve been looking forward to this event for weeks and weeks and to come here and join such a supportive group of women who have the same love of motorsport as I do and the same drive to be the best at it.”

Price felt exactly the same.

“It’s awesome to bring females together from all different walks of motorsport,” said the 2019 Baja 1000 runner-up.

“It’s great to talk about the goals we have and to get our heads together. One day we won’t have to have these meets, it just won’t be a thing and it’ll be half the field are females on race days. But we’re not quite there yet. In a room of 100 male competitors, you’ll see one female. But that’s changing.

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“When you put on a helmet, the helmet knows no gender, you’re a racer: male or female, I just want to be the best racer.

“Days like DirtFish’s Women in Motorsport Summit are helping to change that – events like this one are critical right now. Women aren’t at the forefront and we’re not the majority of the field. Until we see 50% of the field as women, days like today are crucial.”

Days like today help deliver a more equal tomorrow.

And with today done, maybe Josie will get to finish her coffee tomorrow.


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