1,500 taking part in Borneo Safari International Offroad Challenge

0

Hajiji (second right) flagging off the Borneo Safari 2023 participants with Christina, Joniston, Fairuz and Faez.

KOTA KINABALU (Oct 29): Around 1,500 local and international off-road challenge enthusiasts are taking part in the 31st Borneo Safari International Offroad Challenge from Oct 29 to Nov 5.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor flagged off the participants involving a total of 530 specially modified off-road vehicles at the Sabah Tourism Board building here on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters after the flag-off, he expressed his excitement about the week-long expedition which will see the participants venture into the jungles around Keningau, Telupid and Ranau districts.

Hajiji said the event had received good response, which shows that not only it is held for recreation but also allows the appreciation of Sabah’s natural treasures which offer beautiful sceneries.

“And I was made to understand the participants are not only from Sabah but from abroad including India, which shows this sport is very popular. We welcome their presence in Sabah and hope everyone is able to enjoy this event,” he said.

Sabah Four-Wheel Drive Association president Faez Nordin said aside from Sabah and India, overseas participants include from Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Brunei, Thailand, Philippines, United Kingdom and Australia.

He said this year’s Borneo Safari expedition will provide new challenges and improvements for the participants, such as the introduction of three different routes for the renowned annual competition.

The introduction of the three-route system, he said, is aimed at providing a smooth running of this year’s convoy whereby two routes are each designated to both competition and tag-on groups for Day 2 onwards.

“The third route will see a special group of 80 vehicles comprising around 180 participants, mostly from the media convoy group, venture into the restricted Trus Madi Forest Reserve after branching out from the main convoy before Day 1 campsite at Kampung Sook.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for local and international journalists to experience one of Sabah’s unexplored jungles which is home to thousands of different flora and fauna. We would like to thank the State government and Sabah Forestry Department for this opportunity,” he said.

The centerpiece of every Borneo Safari is its hardcore off-road competition, where this year there are 27 competitors vying for the Borneo Safari Challenge Trophy as well as the lion share from the RM250,000 worth of prizes awaiting the teams that are able to successfully conquer all 18 Special Stages (SS) during the week-long event.

The expedition this year will venture into the villages and jungles around Keningau, Sook, Telupid and Ranau districts, taking the participants through Sabah’s natural beauties, where Mount Kinabalu will be Day 7’s campsite view.

Faez also expressed his appreciation to all government agencies and sponsors whose contributions created a win-win advantage for both parties in terms of product branding and awareness in tandem with the success of the event at the end of the day.

This year’s main sponsors are Isuzu Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Diamond) and UMWGrantt International Sdn Bhd (Platinum) as well as Gold Sponsors ARBCorporation Malaysia, Borneo 4WD, Pedders Suspension (M) Sdn Bhd, Powergine Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Asli 4X4, TJM 4X4 Equipped, AmadaXtreme and Life Water Industries Sdn Bhd.

Also present at the flag-off ceremony were State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew, her assistant who is also Sabah Tourism Board chairman, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, as well as Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Fairuz Renddan who is expected to officiate the closing ceremony at Hakka Hall here on November 5.