Twilight Zone Thriller
This year’s Rainforest Challenge (RFC) which was held in Malacca from 1-10 December has not been an easy task for the adventurers coming from 22 nations. With more than 100 times winching across 12 hills, it was an exhausting, nerve wrecking and energy sapping exercise, both for man and machine of the extreme kind all day round crossing a stretch of 12 kilometers in 36 hours. Those were the days of high adventure which needs to be told and retold as thriller in the Twilight Zone.
Nissan Navaras Provided Crucial Support
The Nissan Navaras, souped-up as RFC X-Edition accessories (Warn XDC 9500 ARB deluxe winch bar, OME shocks, Safari Snorkel, IPF spotlights, Maxxis tyres & Auto Diff Locks) thus, reinforcing their off- road capabilities, were at the entry and exit of the Twilight Zone (TZ) assisting in the crucial moments of supplying water and dry rations to the scouts and officials at the Event Headquarters campsite. These rations were then brought in by trekkers who resupplied them to the exhausted adventurers and media members struggling out of the TZ.
And so these frenzy activities of recovery, driving, bringing supplies continued into the wee hours. Adrenalin was at all time high and camaraderie was as thick as the jungle humidity in the longest 48 hours of the event. The Nissan Navaras played their role with distinction in the most dramatic moments of RFC 2012
15TH Year Anniversary in 15th Century Melaka
A week before, it was all systems go for the host state of Melaka, Malaysia’s most historical state dating back to the 15th century. It was rather befitting that RFC celebrated its 15th year anniversary in this iconic city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a history dating back 750 years to Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influence mixed with the local Malay Sultanate this is considered a place of living heritage.
The state which thrives on tourism was fully supportive of another branch of sports tourism brought by the RFC with its international appeal and legions of both local and foreign enthusiasts. On 30 Nov, approximately 300 4x4s comprising of supporters’ convoy made their way to the city escorted by the Royal Malaysian Police. These 4×4 enthusiasts were there for a good reason, the attempt to break our own record for largest 4×4 gathering in Malaysia, which stood at 721 vehicles, was achieved back in 2009.
The gathering of 4×4 warriors, participants, media and supporters for RFC 2012 came from Venezuela, USA, Austria, Australia, Poland, Russia (Moscow & Vladivostok), Vietnam, China (Hong Kong & Guangzhou), Brunei, Colombia, Bulgaria, Philippines, Thailand, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, India, Singapore. Host country Malaysia was naturally the biggest contingent with participating teams and enthusiasts.
Among the newcomers were Team Azimut from Venezuela who holds the record for the team that has travelled the farthest away, some 19,000 kilometers and the All Ladies Team from Malaysia. Both the Venezuelans and the Malaysian ladies, coming from different backgrounds have something to prove, that is, nothing is impossible if you dare to dream. For the Venezuelans, vast distance did not matter and for the Malaysian ladies, being a tough, male dominated sporting adventure posed no obstacles either, with the right mindset and passion, anything is possible.
4×4 Invades Melaka
By 30th November night, with the arrival of hundreds of 4x4s from various states including from Singapore, it was evident that the 4×4 invasion of Melaka has begun. By 1 Dec, D-Day was the start of the Prologue Special Stages (SS) at Pantai Klebang, a reclaimed seafront was the venue set for 4×4 action and the gathering of 4×4 hardware. Hot and humid as usual and heated up action from the contending 24 teams at the start of the Prologue SS watched by thousands of spectators, tourists and 4×4 enthusiasts.
The Record Breaking
At the Prologue SS, the opposite side of the SS, the challenge was on, to break RFC’s own record for biggest 4×4 gathering. A slight afternoon rain also showered down on the gathering. However, the gathering began to grow, from the first 100+ vehicles registered in the late morning, it grew to 300+ by midday, just after lunch, it grew again from 400 to 500+ by afternoon. It was hot day, but that did not deter the enthusiastic 4x4s owners and families from joining in and sharing camaraderie among themselves and the booth display owners (1 Comms, 4WD Equip rep Warn & ARB. ARAD, Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM), Wurth & Port Kelang 4×4). A slight afternoon rain also showered down on the gathering, by the afternoon, the 700+ vehicles was breached, but many more 4x4s began to rush in to beat the countdown. Finally the countdown started late afternoon with 972 4x4s in one venue. A helicopter shot from the air by Shapadu Holdings also recorded the gathering in the early afternoon.
The Days of High Adventure
From D-Day in the city, the adventure started with the Predator, Terminator, Twilight Zone and ended at the Beach Finale SS at Teluk Belanga on 10 Dec. 30 SS, 24 teams fizzled out to only 17 teams that completed the entire event, adrenalin pumping all the way across natural terrain of Bukit Asahan, Bukit Senggeh and the toughest of them all, at Bukit Sedanan (TZ).
Not For The Faint-Hearted.
The RFC jungle stages are not meant for the faint hearted, only those with the nerves of steel will be able to endure the rough and tumble of the Special Stages (SS) and the Twilight Zone, which is the ultimate route of RFC, to be feared and revered at all times.
The Nissan Navaras with extended accessories were fully capable in manoeuvring out of tricky situations and obstacles like slipping and sliding across rutted terrain, water, muddy stretches and gullies, thus providing the important life-line supplies at the most crucial moments of RFC 2012.
words: RFC pix: Ruddiee Khaw