3145KM: A MEMORABLE YEAR-END DRIVE

Published on January 10th, 2012

Day 1

As usual, every when it’s a Blue Jackets’ drive, it will start in the wee morning. This time around we grouped up at Bestari restaurant in Solaris Dutamas for a quick brief, distributing the walkies and making a move. Fingers crossed, without any hiccups, we should arrive at the border of Bukit Kayu Hitam/Danok by 11.00am and lunch would be by the beach somewhere in Thailand. That was the initial plan according to Erwin and Ray, founders of the Blue Jackets Society.

Participants were not as much as anticipated with quite a number of ’em cancelled last minute due to obligations to work and family. Even Ray had to back out as the dates clashed with his company’s holiday trip to Hong Kong.

It was quite a small group of only 7 cars, Erwin’s driving his dad’s GT3RS (his own had a gear failure two days before the drive), Dato’ Azizi’s Scuderia, Tony Lim’s GT3RS, Garry’s Porsche GT2, Mr. Zack’s driving Naza’s Quattroporte and me driving Erwin’s FD2R. As for Dato’ David, he’s driving his Challenge Stradale. It was bought just for the drive as his Lambo was still in the workshop due to an accident during one of the Sunday drives a few months back.

The early departure saw only 6 cars from Bestari as David was only gonna get his Stradale in the afternoon. Disaster struck early right after we passed the Bukit Beruntung exit as Gary radioed in distress. As it was a small convoy and sticking to the principle of “No one gets left behind,” we stopped by the road side about two kilometers ahead of the Bukit Beruntung exit.

Turned out that Garry’s right front tyre suffered a puncture. After a failed attempt of fixing it there and then, the rest of the convoy proceeded to Tapah R&R area. Jeo our designated photographer cum videographer waited by Garry’s Porsche while Garry, Jart (the mechanic) and I exited the highway and made a U-Turn. As we entered the highway zooming at 215km/h, our left tyre made a decision to burst, hence the second disaster.

After awhile, Garry came up with a solution of calling his workers at his factory in Bukit Beruntung to help us out. An hour passed and the D-Max driven by the worker arrived… overheated first time ever for the particular D-Max after years of usage. Nevertheless, since the exit was only about two clicks from our stop, Gary and Jart went on, changed to another pick-up truck at the Bukit Beruntung exit and proceeded with two tyres to change at the workshop.

As for the rest of our small convoy, they’ve arrived at Tapah… waiting for Garry and I. By now it’s already 11.00am and time was running short. The last ferry from Don Sak to Koh Samui is at 7.30pm. The tyres arrived closed to 12.00pm. Once it was fixed on both cars, we sped off to rendezvous with the rest at Tapah. As I touched 243km/h trying really hard to catch up with Garry, the rear right tyre burst as we passed the Tanjung Malim exit about 10 clicks further up.

As we’re driving about 20km/h, trying our best to preserved the remaining tyres to exit Tanjung Malim, Garry managed to catch up with the rest of the convoy and they went ahead towards the border. We’re lucky as Ariel of EPMC agreed to bring the new tyre to us once the tyre shop send it to him all the way from KL to Tanjung Malim. Ariel, you’re a life saver!

Jart and I met up with David who just got his Stradale delivered after lunch. We met up with David in Tapah along with Jeo as he stayed behind while the rest proceeded to the border since his passport was in the FD2R.

From Tapah, it was a relax drive for David, his wife Satwant and the three of us. Heavy rain restricted our speed to 170km/h. We reached the border Bukit Kayu Hitam/Danok at about 8.40pm Malaysian time. From there we headed to Phatthalung and straight to Don Sak only stopping for a late dinner and pee stops. We arrived in the wee of the morning at 2.30am. As for the rest of the convoy, they managed to catch the last ferry at 7.30pm and arrived at Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort & Spa in time for dinner. The from from Solaris Dutamas – Sadao – Koh Samui took us to a total distance of 895km.

Day 2

Since we arrived extremely late, our only option was spend the night at Don Sak and take the ferry to Koh Samui at first light. Turned out, we’re a bit late and so we took the second ferry and managed to arrive at 11am. From the pier in Koh Samui, Erwin guided us to Anantara Lawana to get our much-needed rest as we drove more than 12 hours the day before.

We’re told that the puncture incident continues with Mr. Zack and Erwin being the next victims. Mr. Zack’s rental bike and Erwin’s GT3RS were literally screwed by the tyres. Apart from that, it was quite a relax day for us all and dinner was sumptuously  satisfying. Koh Samui is truly paradise on earth.

Day 3

We made our move early in order not to arrive at the next destination at night. Nevertheless, we missed the first ferry out of Koh Samui only to arrive at Don Sak close to 12.30pm. Tony headed back to Malaysia as he had a wedding to attend and so leaving the convoy of 6 cars heading to Hua Hin. It was a relax drive with a number of speeding here and there without any close shaves at all.

Entering Hua Hin, we’re greeted by quite a congestion since due to the flood, the Thais made their way out of Bangkok to a retreat and Hua Hin was one of their best bet as it’s only about two and a half hours travel… minus the traffic jam of course!

Tony sticks with us for awhile before heading back to KL

Regardless to our effort to arrive early, we arrived at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa almost 9pm due to the rain along the way. We checked in, freshened up and dinner was by the beach. It was quite a treat. After dinner, some of us went for a drink and chatted the night away at Good Idea Wine and Bistro up to 5am in the morning.

Day 4

It was free and easy for everyone. Mr. Zack and Dato’ Azizi went for golf early in the morning while the ladies went shopping before some of the guys joined the fun in Hua Hin. Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa was about 7km from Hua Hin central and the best way to travel there would be by tuk tuk. We learned it the hard way as we’re stuck for an hour looking for lunch.

Once we got back, we went for a swim at the beach and swimming pool before dinner. It’s good to see Garry was recovering from his fever and enjoying the sunset by the beach with Kak Eda. Dinner was again by the beach but this time around it’s out of the hotel. The food was incredible!

Day 5

We’re still haunted by the puncture monster as Mr. Zack’s Maserati Quattroporte’s rear left tyre was punctured by… a screw. Seems like we’re lucky as a tyre shop about half a click form the hotel was open and it was only 9am in the morning. 20 minutes afterwards, we’re all on our way to Phuket only to come to a halt after I noticed a gush of water coming out of the Quattroporte about 88 clicks from Hua Hin. A quick stop and inspection revealed that the Quattroporte suffered from a broken radiator hose.

Jart's imitation of a cat sleeping underneath a car

Again, we’re halted and stayed by the roadside trying the best to resolve the problem. Jart and Erwin made a U-turn and head back to the nearest town which was about 20 clicks from where we stopped, looking for a workshop. The mechanic made their way there only to find there was no tow hook… and so they custom-made a tow hook and towed it back to the nearest petrol station waiting for a flatbed truck to tow it all the way to Phuket.

From the petrol station, we continued the journey towards Phuket while Jart waited for the flatbed truck. After three hours of wait, Jart and the Quattroporte made their way to Phuket via a flatbed truck moving at an average of 80km/h. Mr. Zack and wife jumped into our car instead. As for us, we get to enjoy the B road that stretches about 140 clicks towards Phuket despite the torrential rain.

'em boys enjoyed the attention...

...before the ladies stole the limelight

Our Thai friends waited for us from 3pm and we only managed to meet up with them close to 5pm. From there, we were escorted by our Thai friends towards Phuket. Our journey was slowed down by a number of accidents which caused a massive jam from Phuket town to Patong Beach.

We managed to arrive just in time for a much-needed dinner at the KEE Resort and Spa as all of us were starving and exhausted. Come to think of it, we arrived at all three destinations at night instead of in the evening during this trip. Right after dinner, we went and checked in at Nicky’s Handlebar while the rest stayed at KEE Resort and Spa.

dinner is served... NOT!

I waited to pick up Jart and he managed to arrive in Phuket, about 12 clicks from Patong Beach at 3am in the morning. Since the headlights were switched on all the way without realizing it, the battery went dead and so getting the Quattroporte down from the flatbed was quite a hassle. After a number of failed attempt, we gave up and made the decision to continue the next morning. Thanks to Ah Huat who owns the service centre, the flatbed truck driver had a good night sleep at Ah Huat’s.

Day 6

Being in Phuket was heavenly for the ladies as they get to shop and shop. It was not that bad for the guys as well since almost all around was eye-pleasing to say the least. Erwin and I washed all the cars ourselves while Jart and Jeo made their way to fix the Quattroporte at the service centre in the afternoon.

Once the cars were squeaky clean, we went for a walk with David and Alex for coffee at one of the many coffee shops in Patong Beach. Afterwards, everyone went for drinks while enjoying the picturesque sunset of Patong Beach on top of the Kee Resort & Spa before going for dinner at Nicky’s Handlebar.

Jart's making out with the Quattroporte

By 8.00pm, Jart and Jeo was still at the workshop. It’s either get it fixed or we’re gonna spend another day in Phuket as Maserati’s mechanic from Bangkok only managed to get a flight to Phuket the very next day. After two cups of coffee, Jeo arrived and I drove to the workshop while Jeo stayed at Nicky’s to provide video coverage of the dinner.

When I arrived, Jart told me it’s only a matter of screwing the hoses and the rest will be taken care of by the mechanics at the workshop.  Instead, we’re the one who got screwed as we only managed to get it done by 3.30 in the morning. I’d say we’re really lucky as to fix the hose, it’s either taking out the intake or the gearbox according to Maserati experts.

Jart's all happy fixing the car just on time!

It was all fixed by 5.30 in the morning, with only about one and a half hour of sleep before departing to Kuala Lumpur at 8am, all the way from Phuket. We arrived at the border by 6pm and managed to arrive in Kuala Lumpur close to 10pm. As of now, this drive was definitely the most problematic with all the mishaps and incidents along the way but then, that’s what makes it the most memorable Blue Jackets Society’s drive ever!

words & pix: Hage’  pix: Jeo

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