|Rainforest Challenge: Sri Lanka in the Global Circuit of the RFC from 7-14 Oct.|
Starting this year, a new era in 4x4 sports tourism has begun for Sri Lanka. The Taprobana 4x4 Challenge (TC), organized by the Four Wheel Drive Club for the 8th consecutive time, now comes under the international selection series of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC). Under the organization of Luis J.A.Wee, the Founder of RFC and who hosts the final event in Malaysia in Dec, the TC is now promoted as RFC Sri Lanka.
The RFC is the world's most internationally represented 4x4 extreme event, with more than 30 countries represented from Europe to Asia. With this collaboration, Sri Lanka is now in the radar of the world's adventure, motoring, outdoor leisure and extreme sports enthusiasts and media.
Thus, for the first time, the Taprobana 4x4 Challenge will witness the biggest "invasion" of foreign teams and off-road machines ever, with the Malaysians (currently the most well prepared and ranked teams in the world) making it to our shores this Oct. These Malaysians are represented by none other than RFC 2009 Champion (Team 161) of Loo Fu Shiong and Edward Benggon as well as RFC's number two team of Mervyn Lim (Team 129).
But, that's not all, joining their ranks will be another "battle proven" and formidable duo of Markus Oswald (Austrian) and Brett McNamara (Australian) - the number 5 ranked in RFC 2010 and Team 113 comprising of Roy Chandran and Jayakumar Thinakaran (Malaysians from Selangor),a fighting-fit survivor from RFC 2010's Twilight Zone (the most extreme).
Hot on the heels of our foreign competitor teams will be the "Dark Horse" entries from Malaysian Borneo, from the Land Below the Wind state of Sabah, a renowned off-road region with battle-experienced teams to match. Two teams from Ranau district (a highland region) of Sabah comprising Azree Ramlee / Yong Yee Lon and Jaslihan Salleh Haneh/Kaslihan Salleh Haneh will give the rest of the foreign contingent a run for their money, so to speak. Both in terms of their fully prepared machines, driving and recovery skills and will-power to match.
Facing the foreign 4x4 onslaught and heading Sri Lankans "defense and attack" strategy of this year's Taprobana 4x4 Challenge will be Team 105 of Indika Sanjaya and Naveen Marapana. They are also RFC 2009 2nd Runner Up team, an achievement feat indeed for Sri Lanka in the international arena of 4x4 extreme sports. Together with other local teams, they will give their best shots at the podium too. However, as in all RFC events, win or lose at the podium is not everything, finishing the event together, is everything. The camaraderie that binds and experience gained will augur well for Sri Lanka in this type of genre.
The Malaysians are currently the masters in the 4x4 extreme sport, who are quite at comfort to contend in mud as their tropical terrain, is similar to Sri Lanka, but one has to wait to see what the Sri Lankan tricky landscape will throw at them, and it would be interesting to see our local competitors with the thorough knowledge of their own back yard measure up against these "giants in 4x4." Both the locals and internationals will battle in their upgraded Toyotas, Land Rovers, Jeeps, Nissans and Mahindras.
The Event is officiated under the international Rules and Regulation of Rainforest Challenge, where the scoring is based on safety and environmental impact consideration, and will be officiated by the RFC Marshalls, along with the local counterparts from Four Wheel Drive Club (FWDC).
With the RFC entourage coming to town, so will the world's adventure, motoring, lifestyle and leisure publications such as S4M Magazine, Cars, Bikes & Trucks from Malaysia, Off-Road Magazine from Thailand, Action 4x4 from France, Land Rover magazines from UK and France, QuattroxQuattro from Italy, 4x4 Action Video from Austria, 4x4 Professional Magazine from China and Auto India to name a few. Coverage will also be in the new media renowned portals like marathonrally.com. All in, publicity and coverage in more than 20 countries.
Sri Lanka will definitely be under the international 4x4 media focus, and spotlighted as a 4x4 adventure sports destination in the region. With the year 2011 dedicated to tourism, this event will be one of the most exciting events that will showcase Sri Lankan bio diversity to the rest of the adventure / outdoor leisure world.
The Event is set for spectators and public viewing on the 8th of October, where the Prologue will be at Korothota, Kaduwela, in the suburb of Colombo. The event briefing will be a day earlier at Field View Hotel. The day's Prologue SS is set at a rock quarry where the obstacles are plenty, also the hilly terrain will give the shutter bugs a good opportunity to cover from some high angles.
After the Prologue SS, the stage 1 jungle stage will begin from Khambana village - the last point of civilization and end at campsite Radhana Wewa (Lake). From 10-12 Oct, the stages will be around Sengala rock hills, Kotiyagala grasslands, Nambana Oya, Kumbaukan Oya in the wild countryside.
By 13 Oct, the convoy will roll out of the jungle and back to Colombo and by 14 Oct, the awards ceremony ending this year's Taprobana 4x4 Challenge. This will be a historic event for 4x4 off-road extreme sports tourism for the country with its new collaboration with RFC. A new era in 4x4 for Sri Lanka has begun.
2011/09/13 | 13:42 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/WEE