Borneo Safari International Off Road Challengers is South East Asia's biggest extreme off-roading event. Every year it attracts over 800 participants with 300 vehicles from various nations around the world. The 4×4 action usually kicks off the week before with the Borneo Outdoor Show. It's the ideal opportunity for off-road enthusiasts and visitors to get a glimpse of the action that awaits during the Borneo Safari International Off Road Challenge.
The main event normally kicks off with a grand flag-off in the heart of the Kota Kinabalu. The crowd and participants are big enough to attract major media attention and the event is even marked in Sabah Tourism's diary. Vehicle with extreme modifications and decorated with hundreds of stickers offered from Sponsors filled the roads almost throughout it's intended destination. Every year, different destinations are planned well-ahead and the state of Sabah, North Borneo offers almost unlimited new challenges for its participants, thumbs-up guaranteed. Participants can either compete in the Special Stage category or join the Expedition category for the adventure.
The inception of the Kinabalu Four Wheel Drive Club (KFWDC) was indeed a humble beginning way back by two local off-road enthusiasts; namely Doctor J.S. Sidhu and Tuaran-born, Mr. Gideon Mosito. These two founders initially organised few off-road outings among families and friends, purely as a family outing to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life during weekends and public holidays. As the activity became more popular among four wheel drive enthusiasts, both Sidhu and Gideon initiated to get the club registered with the Registrar of Societies with the assistance of Mohd Anuar Bin Abdul Ghani to make it a legal entity. They eventually got the club registered, which was called KFWDC with founders David Ling, Sarjit Ramday, Dr Teoh Siang Chin, Chow Kam Ping, Joseph Tham as the founder members. The KFWDC was engaged to assist in the organization of the Trans Borneo events, the first and original 4x4 series of events in Borneo which ran from 1988 to 1990.
From the lessons and experience learnt from Trans Borneo, the KFWDC, with encouragement from some senior government officials, started the first Borneo Safari in 1991.
On the 31st of March, 2012, under the leadership of past president Ir. Edward Lingkapo, another milestone was made with the upgrading of KFWDC as a club to an Association which now called SABAH FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ASSOCIATION (SFWDA).
From 2012 and beyond, SFWDA is the main organiser for the annual BORNEO SAFARI INTERNATIONAL 4x4 CHALLENGE. First staged in 1990, it is the oldest and offers the most gruelling Off-Road expeditions in Sabah. Being internationally recognised, we have been fully supported by the MINISTRY OF TOURISM through the Sabah Tourism Board and the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board under their calendar of events that are being marketed globally through their aggressive marketing strategies. Every year, it saw increasing foreign participants taking part in the challenge and competition. Covering the event includes foreign print and electronic media beside Malaysia’s own Radio Television Malaysia (RTM).
Following the founders' aspiration, SFWDA has all along continue to savour in organising charity and community services for the rural poor, while at the same time stages the annual 4x4 Jamboree for members and friends in the outskirts of the city or deep inside rain forest with crystal clear rivers. Members with their families and friends are encouraged to take part in several activities specially designed during the 2-day outing.
The Association has a dynamic team of trained and qualified professionals in executing the various 4WD outings, expeditions and endurance test held locally and internationally. The club also has a pool of vehicles that can withstand the most challenging terrains Mother Nature has to offer. Needless to say, the Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) is a full fledged body with adequate resources and experienced manpower capable to organise the annual Borneo Safari International 4x4 Challenge.
To complete the expedition is an achievement by itself. Participants will have to help each other to complete the route. Along the way, you will endure the hardships and challenges, trade yarns at the campfire, make life-long freindships and enjoy the outdoor.
Participating teams will compete for awards, which are presented in recognition of driving skill, innovation in vehicle recovery, obstacle clearing, and of utmost importance, cooperation and team spirit. Points will be allocated for many special stages set during the event. Tasks include deep-driver crossing, map reading, bridge building and mud side clearing. Points are deducted for over-speeding, dangerous driving and vehicle equipment abuse.
"The concept of the Borneo Safari Expedition, unique in motor sport, is that of an adventure track with 4WDs through some of the world’s most incredibly beautiful yet most agonizingly difficult jungle terrains."
The Borneo Safari is designed as both competitive and non-competitive expedition to bring out the spirit of adventure, teamwork, skillful and safe driving and to bring out the very best in man and machine. It is neither a motor rally nor a race! The participants will travel through the mountains and valleys and cross the streams and rivers; they will have their endurance, stamina and skill tested to the limit.
The Borneo Safari is a unique adventure where all participants, whether men or women enthusiasts or professional, competitors and non-competitors are all winners.
Sabah is on the northern tip of that mystical Island of Borneo, the world's third largest island. Also known as the "Land Below the Wind", Sabah lies below the typhoon and monsoon belt, and is thus sheltered from the more dramatic caprices of tropical weather. In the South, Sabah borders its neighbouring Malaysian State Sarawak, and the Indonesian State of Kalimantan. Sabah's West Coast is flanked by the South China Sea, and the North and East Coast by the Sulu Sea.
Sabah has an area of 7,362,000 ha and measures roughly 1700 kilometers along the north-south axis, from the very Tip of Borneo to the deep interior south of Long Pa Sia, and about 2100 kilometers on a west-east axis.
Located just below the typhoon and monsoon belt at equatorial doldrums between roughly 4° N and 7° N, Sabah boasts a fine tropical climate, with uniform temperatures averaging from 23° C to 33° C and a mean humidity of about 90% for town and plain areas. Rainfalls are copious, accounting for Sabah's lush vegetation, and generally two seasons are distinguished: the rainy / wet season, and the dry season.