Monday, October 28, 2013

DirtFish Rally School - Part 1

While I have been mulling over a few different Driving School options such as Skip Barber or Bob Bondurant, I thought about some different options.  Perhaps something like a Rally school, offroad racing or Baja experience.
Well, as luck would have it we were planning a weekend getaway to Seattle where one of the best Rally Schools - Dirtfish - calls home.  Even more coincidental, about 1 week before we were leaving, the show Top Gear aired an episode where they visited Dirtfish as well!  Crazy.  Watching it got me totally stoked for the 1/2 day school I had planned. 

The 1/2 day experience fit into our schedule pretty well and I showed up a bit before 8am on Saturday Sept 21st less than an hour from the Seattle airport.  I would have loved to do the 2-day or 3-day of course, but there's only so much time on a 'vacation' to enjoy some racing! 

I got signed in and once the other attendees showed up - 8 in all - we headed into the classroom section for some quick overviews.  There's a few cars inside you can check out and the hallways are lined with driver's suits which is pretty cool.
The classroom instruction was pretty high-level and short really.  They explained the basics and I was the only one of the group that had ANY driving experience.  The problem being that off-road Rally is much different than tarmac racing so I was prepared to do learn! 

We divided up into 2 groups of 4 and hopped into the 4 Subaru STi's that we would rotate between.  First up was a rocked skidpad where the instructor drove around 1st explaining that the steering wheel is really just a 'suggestion' and we'd be turning the car with the pedals with the concepts of weight transfer.  While this wasn't new to me, it was pretty freakin wild how things worked!  A round with the instructor was followed by 2 rounds with us behind the wheel!
Next up was a short slalom course where again the instructor ran 1 round and then we were up.  Below is a vid of my first runs in the car on the slalom course:

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