| 08/11/2013 | 0 Comments

This year is about returning “home,” so to speak, for the Rainforest Challenge (RFC). The event’s association with the state of Terengganu on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia goes back to the very beginning of RFC in 1997, where we travelled partly on routes from Hulu Terengganu to Tasik Kenyir.

RFC_8The Origin
It’s a state not only with a fearsome reputation for its demanding tracks, but also one, which faces the direct onslaught of the North East Monsoon. The punishing terrain plus the unpredictability of the monsoon makes the going in and out a very arduous task for both man and machine in the years 1997 to 2000. It was also in this state that the foreign media dubbed the RFC as an “extra-ordinary event for extra-ordinary adventurers, set in an extra-ordinary season… the monsoon.”

RFC_6The Legend
This reputation was further strengthened into legend in the world of 4×4 with the “infamous” 2007 RFC where the relentlessly monsoon rains rendered the terrain impossible and when the water level of the river rose dangerously, helicopters were called in, teams had to race across hastily laid pontoon bridges and eventually boats were called upon to evacuate the teams.

RFC_9The Great Escape aka The Monsoon War
It was the 10th anniversary year for the event then, which turned out to be the longest, wettest and toughest RFC in a decade. Th“getting out of the rain” episode turned out to be the Great Escape of a lifetime. It also left the 4x4s stranded in the jungle like driftwoods after a deluge, for two months! It was a “monsoon war” where high tech and technically superior hardware proved no match for Mother Nature. The participants went home minus their vehicles and with the route uncompleted. It was the most dramatic of times but one which earned high distinction in camaraderie and teamwork among the adventurers with the members of uniformed agencies (Army, Police, Fire & Rescue Dept, Civil Defense Corps) and the authorities.

RFC_7The Unfinished Biz
RFC again chose Terengganu in its 2008 edition for its “unfinished business,” this time using a pincer strategy to take Terminator Hill, but that remained unachievable when massive landslides blocked the way. It was also the year where we faced the fury of a 48-hour Tempest. The elusive Terminator Hill of Hulu Terengganu remained since then elusive to this day. This time that part of the route submerged in the waters of Tasik Kenyir. When RFC returned in 2011, a new “battle ground” was chosen from the southern sectors (Dungun and Kemaman). To date, Terengganu has played the official host state in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

RFC_12The Top Ten
With the RFC entry into the league of Top Ten World’s Toughest Motor Races, it will be bringing along both new and seasoned campaigners in extreme off-road along with their respective media in lifestyle, motoring and adventure for an experience of Terengganu in the coming 10 days from 30 Nov to 9 Dec.

RFC_13The Changes
In tandem with the aspirations of emerging “young blood” and OEM vehicle manufacturers out to prove their point of having taken on the RFC, two new classes have been created in the competition category. The Production Pickup 4×4 and Modified Pickup 4×4 cater for this purpose. Both classes will be stock standard vehicles with factory fitted parts only with further upgrading allowed in the modified class. They will be taking selected Special Stages (SS) suited to their category. Another new format will be the Presentation Day in Kuala Lumpur in which all competitor teams must be assembled for media and public viewing. The event officially starts in the capital city of Malaysia on 28 Nov. The official opening ceremony will take place in Kuala Terengganu on 30 Nov followed by the Prologue SS on the same day and spilling over to 1 Dec.

RFC_2The Grand Finale
The Malaysian RFC is the grand finale in the RFC Global Series of calendar for 2013. It is the mother event in the series. Earlier in the year from April to Oct, we have held a series of affiliated events from Europe to Asia, and now everyone is here for the ultimate showdown.

RFC_4Visit Terengganu Year 2013
This time, it’s Visit Terengganu Year and RFC is proud to be back to its roots to help in the promotion of the state as a sports tourism destination. The state authorities too, will be putting up a great show of colors and culture for sure. With culinary delights, picturesque seashore and landscapes coupled with charming and hospitable people plus the awesome tracks to contend with, it will be something to remember for all participants. And, last but not least, of course there will be the monsoon; that’s exactly what draws these adventurers from 30 countries, coming to have a piece of action here in Terengganu.

Tags: , ,

Category: NEWS, SPORT

Leave a Reply