THE Rainforest Challenge Malaysia Trophy and Jamboree got off to a roaring start in Seremban recently with more than 500 vehicles participating in the event organised by the 4x4 Adventure Club Kuala Lumpur.
A fleet of 4x4 vehicles joined the 25km journey from the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi early on Saturday to Kuala Klawang, where the 17th edition of the off-road event was flagged off.
Event director Thomas Foo said the vehicles travelled along country roads to Kuala Klawang and then to Seremban 2 where several events and fun activities were held.
“The Rainforest Challenge Malaysia is part of a global series and considered the longest-running 4x4 rainforest challenge in the world.
“It is a huge event on the international 4x4 off-road calendar.
“This five-day carnival encompasses the Rainforest Challenge Malaysia Trophy, a competition to select participants to represent the country at the Rainforest Challenge Malaysia later this year, and a jamboree for 4x4 enthusiasts,” he said.
Participants, however, had to pass several pre-selection stages to qualify for the Rainforest Challenge Malaysia Trophy.
The pre-selection stages, held at a makeshift off-road circuit in Seremban 2 here, included challenges such as the bog pool, slalom, winching and rock and roll.
A total of 45 seasoned competitors participated in the pre-selection event but only three from the group would go on to represent the country at the Rainforest Challenge Malaysia, slated to be held in Negri Sembilan from Nov 30 to Dec 9.
Foo said participants included Malaysians and expatriates from Argentina, Australia, Russia, Philippines, Vietnam and the United Kingdom.
“With only three spaces up for grabs in the actual challenge, the pre-selection is essential to ensure only the best of the best make it.
“Participants who do not make the final cut would still be involved in the event as part of the support services,” he said.
While the trophy event brought together serious 4x4 competitors from around the country, the jamboree attracted hundreds of off-road vehicle enthusiasts - members of 4x4 clubs nationwide and new owners of such vehicles.
To encourage novice 4x4 drivers to get involved in the activities, the 4x4 Adventure Club Kuala Lumpur, which has over 2,000 members nationwide, together with sponsors, also organised rookie events.
“When we first started, we did not have many activities for new 4x4 drivers, but today, with help from our sponsors, there is plenty of fun to be had.
“Rookies do not have to be mere spectators.
“During the event, they can participate in our off-road driving school and time-trial challenge to put their newly-learnt skills to the test,” he said.
Among those who participated in the convoy and rookie events were members of the Malaysia Ford Ranger Club.
Club member M ichael Wong said a total of 45 Ford Ranger pick-up trucks, driven by club members joined the convoy.
“This is the first time our club has joined this event and it was very exciting to be part of the 6km-long convoy.
“It was a great eye-opener and a chance for us to gain exposure and experience,” he said.
Wong said the event afforded club members the opportunity to learn proper road handling techniques for such vehicles.
“Most people who are transitioning from a regular car to a 4x4 vehicle may treat it like they do a car.
“They think they can just step on the pedal and go.
“But that is not true and at the event, we were guided by knowledgeable and experienced 4x4 drivers who took us through the basics on how to properly handle our vehicles,” he said, adding that learning proper techniques was essential before participating in more difficult off-road challenges.