How DirtFish graduates fared on Ojibwe Forests Rally

Our alumni performed superbly as always on round seven of this year's ARA National series


When you take a class at DirtFish, the final classroom segment goes over just one thing: what now? You’ve just gotten a masterclass in rally driving, so what do you do with these new skills?

Well, while the knowledge of vehicle control can be helpful in adverse daily driving conditions, the best way to utilize them is to, of course, start rallying!

At DirtFish, we are super proud of our alumni. We love to keep tabs on what our former students are doing, as well as staff, and former team members who have kept rallying.

To celebrate our alum, here are some key performances from them on the recent Ojibwe Forests Rally, as part of the American Rally Association presented by DirtFish.

Nathan & Elliot Odle

1st driver & co-driver National L2WD


The father-son team of Timewolf Racing has been travelling around the ARA National championship piloting River City Rally’s rental Lexus IS250. Father Nathan has taken DirtFish classes behind the wheel, while 16-year-old Elliot Odle has taken co-driving classes under the DirtFish and Oz RallyPro partnership with Alex and Rhianon Gelsomino to get in-car experience.

The pair have been growing together in the car, and Ojibwe this year marks the first rally they’ve done twice together – as well as their best finish!

While they won the L2WD class last year, they managed to break the National top 10 for the first time with a ninth place finish overall.

Fantastic effort!

Jacob Despain

2nd driver Regional NA4WD


Another father-son team, this time son Jacob is in the driver’s seat while father Michael Despain navigates. This pair started out as recently as 2020, but have been improving their pace at an impressive rate.

In fact, if you follow the ARA closely, you’ll know they just picked up their first overall win after blowing a tire and moving up from 20th to first at Rally Colorado.

Ojibwe was a continuation of that pace, and would have been a solid silver, but unfortunately, according to a stewards inquiry, reversing one foot at time control to remove a rock that was stuck between their brakes and wheel landed them with a 10-minute penalty.

Still, second in class and fifth Regional? Not bad for having 10 minutes added to your time!

Drew Staples

2nd co-driver Regional O2WD


Drew Staples is no stranger to the ‘Fish. Having taken multiple driving classes, Staples knows how to handle a car, but it’s the Oz RallyPro training he got at DirtFish that was put on display this past weekend.

In only his second rally, Staples stood on two podiums! Not only did he get second in class alongside his driver Jordan Haberer (behind only an AP4 car), but the pair also took third overall in the Regional rally!

While only a short rally career so far, Staples shows promise of a long, successful future in the ARA.

Michelle Miller

3rd co-driver National O4WD


Our much beloved Michelle has been sat next to Lucy Block all year in their Rally3 Fiesta, racing for the Hoonigan Racing Division.

Miller and Block ran this rally once together last year, and it was the first experience they have had togehter getting to modify and perfect an already built set of notes together.

The preparation paid off, and the pair were able to improve on their career best from just one round prior, now landing on the O4WD podium with a humble Rally3, and finishing sixth overall in the National standings.

You can read more about Michelle’s efforts in her exclusive column here.

Brandon Semenuk

2nd driver National


While Brandon Semenuk is a big name in the rally community, and has proven himself for years, he’s also not a stranger to DirtFish classes.

Be it in his Vermont SportsCar WRX STI, or one of our own Subarus, Semenuk has taken private classes to keep his skills in top shape and get extra seat time in his pursuit of the ARA National championship.

While second isn’t his best finish this year, Semenuk’s rally was highlighted by pressing on in the face of multiple punctures, the loss of a trunk and wing, and a dominant win on the would-be powerstage over Block – only for points to be taken away due to an SOS on stage.