Monday, 8 August 2011

Borneo Safari - Jungle Challenge in Sabah

Borneo Safari 2010: Eight-Day extreme Offroad Jungle Challenge.

October is the time that the really enthusiastic hardcore offroaders prepare their battle wagons for one of the prime events of the year, the Borneo Safari. The event now entering its twentieth year is organised by the very capable Kota Kinabalu Four Wheel Drive Club, more familiarly known as KFWDC.

KFWDC was founded in 1988 by Dr.J.S.Sidhu and Tuaran born Gedeon Mosito. The club is a legal entity having been registered with the Registrar of Societies. Under its current President, Engr. James Wong, the club has expanded, developed and continues to thrive with the Borneo Safari being its key event.

The Borneo Safari is an eight day extreme off road challenge. A combination of pristine jungle and crystal clear rivers makes Sabah the ideal playground for off-road enthusiasts. This year, 2010, the event will be held from 24th October until the 31st October.

The event itself can be likened to the Rainforest Challenge of Peninsular Malaysia with a similar track environment and the opportunity to introduce technical Special Stages along the route. Many Sabah offroaders have participated in the Rainforest Challenge including the President James Wong.

In fact the first Rainforest champion in 1997 was Liew Siak Kiong , 2004 champions Cheng Ket Kiun/Chang Ket Viu, 2008 champion, Wong Kock Phin, are all from the State of Sabah. This is an indication that the local events provide a tough breeding ground for future champions. Loo Fu Siong, 2009 RFC Champion, is also a regular participant and past winner of the Borneo Safari. 2010 could therefore see four Rainforest Challenge champions competing but the opposition will be tough with other strong teams vying for the title.

The Borneo Safari is a competitive expedition with Special Stages, around twenty in number, fought out as the convoy moves along a difficult transportation route. As with any event the degree of difficulty is governed by the prevailing weather conditions. However it is not uncommon to encounter landslides, the need to repair or build bridges and cross fast flowing deep rivers. 2009 saw heavy rain and long stretches of axle deep mud that necessitated winching, winching, winching.

When coming up against such obstacles they are usually overcome by the team effort of all those participating. The enthusiasm shown engenders camaraderie and team spirit.

KFWDC has a large enthusiastic membership with many qualified personnel who put their professionalism into making this a first class event. Some of the participants qualify at local selection trials held in the districts of Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan, Kudit and Keningau. Teams from overseas have competed in the past with regular entrants from Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia and Japan.

In 2008 there was strong representation for the first time of members of the International Press Reports Group. The event impressed so much that it was considered a greater media effort was needed to encourage more International competitors to give this event a try. Organisation, safety and hospitality are top priorities for the KFWDC team.

Without a doubt the Borneo Safari stands alongside the more well known events such as the Rainforest Challenge, the Magam Trophy and the Croatia to name but a few.

For those that would like to pit their skills somewhere new then the Borneo Safari must come top of that wish list. The more International teams that enter will pave the way to making this event worthy of inclusion on the International 4X4 calendar.
For those that consider it is a long distance to bring their own vehicle then do not let that become an obstacle, There are local competition vehicles for rental that are fully prepared to cope with the conditions to be expected on the event. These vehicles are offered at a reasonable rate.

The Malaysian State of Sabah has much to offer so extra days should be allocated to take in the scenery, view the abundance of wildlife and take the opportunity to climb the famous Mount Kinabalu. Sabah Tourism can provide programmes for visitors to the State. 

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