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4x4 Borneo Safari Off-Road Challenge 2005

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 Tip of Borneo along route

By FRED LEONG ( July 11, 2005 ) ( )


 KOTA KINABALU: The route for this year’s 15th edition of the International 4x4 Borneo Safari Off-Road Challenge has been tentatively identified by Kinabalu Four Wheel Drive Club (KFWDC) – this time targeting to reach the Tip of Borneo, Sempang Mengayau in Kudat.

Scheduled for Oct 23-30, the eight-day off-road expedition convoy is expected to experience a similar response from members and foreign participants, maybe again beyond the limited number of 130 vehicles, including local, Peninsular Malaysian and foreign competitors.

KFWDC President James Wong said yesterday, the organising committee would stage the first Special Stage (SS) in Kota Kinabalu (venue yet to be confirmed) immediately after the flag-off on Oct 23.

The tentative route needs to be assessed before any final decision is made, with its recce team chief Hiew Min Kiyun preparing to carry out the recce task next month to ensure the tracks identified are still passable because some of these former timber camp tracks have long been abandoned.

He said they would only know the condition of the tracks after the recce has been carried out, but the convoy would certainly come out in Kudat by Day 6th or 7th, where participants would proceed to Sempang Mengayau for a two-day camp.

James added, based on hearsay information, the ultimate off-road stretches might be expected along the Poring-Marak Parak-Sorinsim Park in Kota Marudu, where the convoy would need to set up base camps along the way at least for three days or so depending on the condition.

From Kota Marudu, the recce team would find alternative off-road tracks to Kudat and maybe into Paitan area, which would give participants some good off-road experience.

“I think if everything goes well with the recce team’s successful outing next month, we should be able to know exactly where our route is, but Sempang Mengayau would always be our main campsite for two days, because we have received numerous suggestions both from local and foreign participants to at least pass by the famous Tip of Borneo this year,” he said.

“While there, we would have a few SS to give the local Kudat populace an opportunity to witness the thrills and spills of men and machines competing against each other and at the same time supporting their local teams in action.”

Several foreign teams, participants and journalists such as from Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and those from Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak have already indicated their interest to join in the fray this year and some have confirmed their entries too.

In fact a few Peninsular-based participants and Rain Forest Challenge competitors have been flying in of late to meet with KFWDC officials and local contacts as advanced teams to gather all the vital information they need.

The event, like in past years, has been highlighted and aired over a Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) channel, while those who have competed before have given information to their friends and the Borneo Safari is getting more popular among Peninsular Malaysian enthusiasts.

Apart from that, the Borneo Safari, since being placed under the Sabah Tourism Board and Tourism Malaysia calendar of events (and its website too) has assisted KFWDC in selling the event overseas, and that is why each year the organisers always see the number of competitors, participants and tag-along groups increasing.

In 2003, they saw a record number of 120 vehicles and last year, the record was again broken with 130 vehicles and this year, they hope to limit the total number at 130 to enable the convoy to run smoothly over bad conditions.

He said entries would be accepted on a first come first serve basis to avoid any last minute requests, like last year, where they had to close their door for latecomers with one or two local, foreign and Peninsular Malaysian teams affected

KFWDC has also decided to invite the RTM crew again to cover the event this year, while local journalists and foreign media would be given priority but they too need to confirm as early as possible because of the limited number of seats available in the media vehicles.

Meanwhile, James urged all local competitors to prepare their vehicles and form their teams for the forthcoming Borneo Safari Selection Trials, scheduled to be held in Tambunan from Aug 27-28, where the top three teams would represent Sabah in the event proper.

Interested competitors can contact Marylyn Chong at 019-8809223 for more information and registration.