Sunday, November 19, 2017

Borneo Safari thrill for adventure seekers

IF there was any doubt about the popularity of the annual International Borneo Safari Off-Road Challenge, the 27th edition that ended last week would have quashed it.

Not only did it draw the biggest number of participants (with 412 four-wheel drive vehicles and 1,168 hardcore adventurers, including a handful of journalists, including yours truly), this year’s Safari showed that the thrill was not gone!

The eight-day expedition took us to the highlands of Kimanis, 60km from Kota Kinabalu. The route moved the convoy of vehicles and adventurers to Kampung Ovai, Papar, and Kampung Mandalipau before disappearing for five days into the so-called hardcore session, and from there to the final checkpoint in Kota Kinabalu.

Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun, the Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, flagged off the event at Tong Hing and Sabah Customs Department.

Also present were Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association president and event director Faez Einstein, Isuzu Malaysia chief operating officer Masayuji Suzuki, and UMW Grantt Sdn Bhd general manager Amri Hashim.

Right after the lunch, the convoy headed for a construction site behind the Benoni Commercial Centre in Papar for the special stage, or “prologue” of the Borneo Safari.

Already a major sponsor of the Borneo Safari since the last decade, Isuzu Malaysia came on as strong as ever this year. As of last year, it reserved three models for the journalists: the seven-seater Isuzu mu-X SUV, two 2.5-litre Isuzu D-Max (Red and Black Monster), and the 3.0-litre D-Max V-Cross (White Monster).

The three modified Isuzu D-Max “Monsters” have been the ride for the Isuzu media team for four years now. And as a result, some believe, the D-Max “Monster” was declared Car of the Year twice in the Borneo Safari.

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