NIGHTMARE @ TWILIGHT ZONE
The Saga of RFC 2017 Grand Final.
The Hills of No Return
Brutal struggle for 24 hours, non-stop nerve wrecking winching from day to night, twists and turns in extreme soggy terrain, sucking man and machine like quicksand and then face-off with punishing uphill upon uphill with 70 degrees gradient. Once you are up into the hills, turning back is not an option!
Not for the Faint Hearted
Living through those brutal and dramatic times is certainly not for the faint hearted. You have to rely upon your last remaining instincts, nerves of steel, technical expertise, camaraderie and sheer will power and, last but not least, pray that your 4x4 does not break down as you descend into steep darkness until the final exit to campsite of Hulu Pukin. Those were the days of living out the nightmare at the Twilight Zone (TZ) from 1 to 3 Dec, not only for the race teams but also media members who joined them.
No Escape Route
While the race teams took route I, the rest of the main convoy comprising of support crew and media vehicles took the supposedly escape routes I & II to campsite of Hulu Pukin. But even here, the going in and out was like the TZ, some reached while others didnt and those who went in came out late for the closing awards night
Anything can break and will break in the Rainforest Challenge especially at the Twilight Zone (TZ), so be prepared for anything goes. That was what RFC Founder (Luis J.A.Wee) said at the briefing both in Da:Men mall in Kuala Lumpur (23 Nov) and at Swiss Garden hotel (24 Nov). Welcome to mother event RFC, the finale event of RFC Global Series, not called the Rainforest Challenge for nothing.
Bracing for the Monsoon
Technical inspection day at Da:Men, the upmarket shopping mall was interrupted by heavy showers and thunderstorms. The harbinger of monsoon season for the next few days in the east coast, thats where the RFC convoy will be heading.
Welcome to Kuala Lumpur
But first, on D-Day flagging off at Lake Titiwangsa hosted by City Hall of Kuala Lumpur city, there was a lull before the storm, just perfect for a warm send off for the 4x4s and motorbikes of the RFC, a perfect welcome to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia.
The Bravest of the Brave
At the line up were participating race teams, media members and support crew from Russia, Colombia, Ecuador, China, the Philippines, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Poland, India, Vietnam, Georgia, Belarus, Italy, Bulgaria, Czech Rep, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. These are among the bravest of the brave to take on the 2017 edition of one of the toughest races in the world.
Royal Malaysian Police: Ground & Air Support
For the entire operation of RFC 2017, communications, security and monitoring of the event from the ground to air was handled by the Royal Malaysian Police which came complete with a Tactical Operations Base set up at Bukit Galing camp, Kuantan. The air support came from the Police Air Wing based at Sg Besi (Kuala Lumpur).
Cross-Over Daily Radio Coverage
The highlights of each day of RFC 2017 (powered by Petron Turbo Diesel Euro 5) were reported live over Hitz Fm the number 1 hits station in Malaysia brought to our nationwide audience by Petron Malaysia.
The Reign of the Rain
From Kuala Lumpur to Swiss Garden hotel, Kuantan, the rains took over. The reign of the rain had begun with continuous thunderstorms and heavy to light intermittent showers for the next few days till 28 Nov.
However, water of a different kind was most welcomed by all participants at Balok before the Prologue SS began, that came in the likes of AENO, the alkaline oxygenated water fit for warriors of the 4x4 kind.
Dramatic Start at Prologue SS @ Balok
The 8 Special Stages (SS) at the Prologue blasted off with full action which were challenging, exciting, hard and thrilling for both race teams and the hundreds of spectators at the beach, lake, rocks, gullies, undulating terrain, steep ascends.
The wet conditions added to the level of difficulty in the SS, resulting in some dramatic flips and overturns. However, neither the rains nor ground conditions hampered the fighting spirit of all the 40 race teams at the starting line at Mutiara Seafood & Bakticon quarry site.
Battle Lines Drawn
Right from the start, the leading contenders have their own agenda and have already planned their strategy to score maximum points. Current champion team 119 (Maxxis Malaysia) and team 104 (Vladivostok, Russia) aimed for their hattrick victories as both have won twice before. However, they are not the only ones aiming for the top spot, team 117 (3-time champion), 105 (Ussurisysk, Russia), team 103 and 107 (Sakhalin, Russia) also have ambitions to take the crown.
In the 10-day event like the RFC with many SS along the way, anything can happen to upset the top teams. Thus, for everyone, it was fast, furious and taking as much points as possible at this opening action day.
Ladies of Steel
Taking on the macho man and machines were the entry of 7 ladies, coming from the Philippines (team 199), Brunei (mix team 191) and Malaysia (team 196 & 116).
Most Unique 4x4