Tough field challenges in Gua Musang

THE Rainforest Challenge (RFC) in Malaysia once again served as the grand final of the RFC Global Series, a worldwide off-road track spanning 22 countries and 45 events.

The 2018 edition was also the 23rd Rainforest Challenge (RFC), which was first held in Kelantan, a state that faces monsoon anger every year.

This time, there were two champions in the overall standings: one in the prototypes category and one in the modified production category.

The 2018 RFC Grand Final Tour took participants in 150 vehicles first from Kota Baru to Tumpat, then to Tanah Merah in Kuala Krai and into the deepest jungle of southern Kelantan, ending the event in Gua Musang - for a total of 12 days (instead of the usual 10 days).

Due to the long off-road stretches beyond the reach of towns or villages, all racing and support vehicles had the added challenge of carrying enough fuel from day three to the end of the event.

The stages of the race were aptly named Predator, Terminator and Twilight Zone, reflecting the progressive difficulty as the days passed for 300 participants from 30 countries including Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea, the United States, Poland, India, Ukraine and Ecuador.

For the racing teams, the obstacles they had to overcome included negotiating endless steep descents and climbs, negotiating narrow log bridges, driving through swamps, keeping control of treacherous slippery terrain, and crossing the mighty Bering rivers in the interior.

This year's stage of transport was a long and arduous journey beyond civilization for eight out of 12 days.

"The jungle area is unlike any you've ever experienced," said Rainforest Challenge and RFC Global Series founder and creator Luis JA Wee.

“Here, on just 2 km of track, you will find many kinds of natural obstacles that would take hours to overcome.

“Programs and schedules are only guidelines once ground operations have started. In the jungle, tracks can go from easy to extreme hardcore in a matter of hours of heavy rain, causing landslides, erosion and flooding, ”he said.

For all those who made it to Pos Gob, contact with the indigenous people of Kelantan's innermost aboriginal settlement was an experience.

The awards ceremony was held in the jungle for the first time in RFC history. This night was also the crowning achievement for Team 104 (Russia), a three-time champion (Prototype) and for Team 117 (Malaysia), who was declared a six-time champion (modified production).

Finally, the stage of transportation back to civilization was hampered by monsoon rains lasting between 24 and 41 hours.

All in all, it was another Rainforest Challenge that was remembered and powered by Petron, an event partner for fuels and engine oils.

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