This world event is one of the toughest challenges you could ever face, the 4×4 off road challenge Malaysia offering thrills and spills on an epic scale.
The biggest internationally represented 4×4 jungle adventure action event takes place annually from end November to early December. With competitors and press coming from 30 countries, this assembly of 4×4 vehicles and enthusiasts from North and South America, Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe will be sharing friendship, teamwork and camaraderie as well as giving their best to win the prestigious Individual Champion, Team Champion, Team Spirit Award, Jungle Man, Most Unique 4×4, Environment Award and Special Awards.
The event format is to test the drivers and co-drivers skills and ability to overcome various obstacles to the maximum along the nearly 800 kms of logging tracks during the rainy season, the North East Monsoon. It will mean overcoming muddy stretches, slippery uphill ascents and equally tough downhill descents, crossing rain swollen and fast flowing rivers, landslides and deep ruts. Conquering all these and completing the entire journey is in itself, an achievement, let alone winning the various awards.
Apart from these, one has to contend with the high humidity, which drains the strength from bodies and legs already soaked with rain and sweat for long hours. One has also got to be self sufficient for the entire 10 days as well as able to take the hardship and beating from whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Everything and everyone going into the RFC must prepared to the maximum possible or they would not be able to complete the journey.
For the competitors, they have to endure the hardship of the transport stage as well as being able to take the rigours of the Special Stages (SS). At the SS, they will be especially tested for their driving and recovery skills to the fullest, and thus earn points that will add up to the championship at the end of the event. These are the very difficult parts of the event, selected by the organizer to test the teams to their limits and beyond.
The rest of the convoy will have to travel the transport stage from beginning to end. Under rain soaked conditions, even an easy track during the dry season can be transformed into an awesome obstacle which can take hours to go through, even just over a few kms. These include the print and electronic media following the event as well as officials, observers and touring adventurers. They all know the score, nobody is here on holiday, everyone has got to work and assist their fellow adventurers to go through from one place to another, come what may.
For all of the above, the RFC has also earned the recognition as the greatest teambuilding exercise of the 4×4 kind in the world from the foreign media. It is an opportunity for all “true blue” outdoor lovers who wish to live out a jungle adventure to the fullest as well as an opportunity to get to know liked-minded people from around the world.
This is definitely not a rally event, where competitors will have to speed over long distances during the SS. Accelerator and engine power do not rule supreme in a challenge adventure 4×4 competition, but recovery and thinking power to overcome the obstacles in the fastest time to earn maximum points do make a big difference.
A tropical secondary jungle environment is such that the existing and/or disused logging tracks can turn into formidable obstacles during the rainy season. A single day’s thunderstorm of high water intensity will make sure of that. Furthermore, the environment is a non issue here as heavy rain will obliterate whatever tyre tracks left behind by the convoy. There is no broaching into virgen jungle. And, last but not least, the adventurers are at the forefront of protection of the eco-system, a strict jungle code of ethics is enforced and everyone looks after the environment as we pass through leaving “nothing but footprints and tyre tracks.
So, come this November, when the wind and rain of the North East Monsoon will be at their height, spare a thought for those extra ordinary breed struggling through endurance and hardship, but in their pursuit for adventure. The Rainforest Challenge is a time to live your passion in 4×4 adventure to the fullest.