Tomorrow morning I’ll guzzle a thermos of Kroger brand coffee, eat a wholesome complete breakfast and putz out to Dirt Fish rally school where the Northwest Auto Press Association will be testing 2011 sport/crossover utility vehicles. They call it Mudfest for a reason – many a young man has sullied the seat of his trousers at the prospect of navigating the world-renowned off road trails of Dirt Fish in the best utility machines the world has to offer. From the NWAPA:
“Sport-utility vehicles are a mainstay of the Pacific Northwest automotive market, and journalists from this region are among the most knowledgeable critics of this segment.
Mudfest is the most widely recognized event of its kind in North America. This annual event allows member journalists to test the performance, handling, and braking, as well as the on-road and off-road demeanor, of each competing SUV. Vehicles invited to participate include all-new and recently updated models. The previous year's winners are also invited to defend their title.”
Once the dust clears and the goop hardens, the NWAPA will release 2011’s prestigious list of winners in the categories of:
-SUV of the Year
-Best Affordable SUV
-Best Family SUV
-Best Luxury SUV
-Best Off-Road SUV
To keep my automotive blogger credentials clinging to the bottom rung of legitimacy, I’ll be taking extra special care not to test the airbags on press cars generously provided by Land Rover, Mercedes, Cadillac, Acura, Jeep, Ford, Subaru, Honda and even Kia. Then again, during these uncertain economic times it’s highly unlikely any automaker would lend one of their new vehicles to an event entitled Mudfest if they weren’t prepared to gamble with the prospect of fun occurring.
More than just an intriguing band name, DirtFish sports over 300 acres of rally courses just 30 minutes from Seattle in rural Snoqualmie, an area where the true heartbeat of the Northwest has avoided the Emerald city’s bum-rush of yuppies and hipsters with beautiful scenic living and forgotten cold-case serial killers from the eighties and beyond. When the NWAPA isn’t testing brand-spanking new SUV’s on DirtFish’s playground, the school treats their students to 300hp Subaru Impreza’s designed especially for the rigors of those dirty roads less traveled.
The DirtFish fleet is painted up in an orange scheme that appears suspiciously like that of the General Lee Dodge Charger. They're built to serve as competition cars by Vermont Sports Cars - the same guys that build and run cars for the likes of Travis Pastrana and Dave Mirra for use in the Rally America series. Professional upgrades include Tein suspension, rally tires and OMP safety equipment for those times when you don’t land on the bouncy part.
2010 MudFest Winners:
-SUV of the Year: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged
- Best Affordable SUV: 2011 Subaru Outback
- Best Family SUV: 2010 Acura MDX
- Best Luxury SUV: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Supercharged
- Best Off-Road SUV: 2011 Land Rover LR4
About the NWAPA:
NWAPA (www.nwapa.org) is a professional trade organization of automotive journalists
from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Founded in 1991, NWAPA includes
38 voting members, representing more than 100 newspapers, magazines, radio and
television stations, media groups and online resources. Non-voting members are
comprised of representatives from automotive manufacturers and related industry