In 2018, the convoy set camp at the beautiful seaside of Taburan Village, Kota Belud after the grand flag off on October 28th 2018, from Kota Kinabalu City. The 8 days 7 nights journey brought the participants through lush and beautiful hills and tropical jungle of Kota Belud to Kota Marudu and then retraces itself back to Kota Marudu. For the first time ever, the convoy breaks into 2 groups travelling on different routes to reach the same destination each day. In the same year, thanks to wide coverage the event received, competitors from Russia arrived for the first time to join in the event whom also participate the competition category.
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 Supreme Authority of the Borneo Safari is the Event Committee appointed by the Organizer.
Other Committee not pictured above are:
This year two Russian teams made a decision to participate in Borneo Safari, race that was covered in shadow for Russian competitors for a very long time. First time I heard about Borneo race was three years ago, during another international auto event that I was covering for Russian press from colleague of mine – Mr. Mohd. Reza Bin Tan Sri Haji Mohd. Bakri. And from that point on the goal was set.
When I got back to Russia I mentioned about the possibility of participation in Borneo Safari for Russian teams, but at that time this idea seemed too radical and it took three long years to finally assemble a crew that was eager to visit a race with such a high reputation.
We knew that never before Russian teams participated in Borneo Safari, so we had to work on new logistics and team travel routes, build new cars. Hardest part was to find out how to ship our competitor cars to the island of Borneo, but all issues were solved thanks to our Malaysian friends. We resolved all organizational subjects and now are ready to take part in the race that was dazzling our minds for such a long time.
Based on the information that we gathered, we decided to put best offroad ideas into action and build two completely new sport cars for Borneo Safari. Even though teams themselves are experienced international participants who had seen action in Russian and international races, many ideas for car design were based on Malaysian experience with adaptation to local rules of game. For instance PTO was almost never used until we started to prepare our cars for this event, now both competitor vehicles are equipped with mechanical winches. Only future will show was this plan righteous or not.
I strongly believe that participation in international competition expand the horizons not only for sport teams but also for the race itself, and hope that next year there are going to be much more participating teams from my country. I definitely will do my best to put highlight on Borneo Safari in Russian 4x4 community and magazines where I write for.
Russian group for 2018 Borneo Safari:
By: Evgeniy Shumal (Rapax)
The decision for the Car of The Year in each Borneo Safari is always an impossible task for the organizing committee unless a very standout car appeared out of nowhere and became an instant hit in the Borneo Safari convoy with its interesting mods and rarity. That is exactly how this Land Rover Defender 110 stormed into action as a Competitor's Support Car in last year's Borneo Safari; fully transformed with incredible 4WD goodies, looks like a Mars' transporter, built like a decathlon athlete and confidently took home the prestigious Car of The Year Award.
The new life for this Defender MY2001 model started in 2015 when the owner bought the car from JUPEM. As a stock car, this Landy (nickname for Land Rover in Sabah) hardly qualifies for Borneo Safari let alone performs as a Competitor’s Support Car. A total transformation is what this Landy needed and true enough, the owner wasted no time when he finally took it home.
First things first, everything has to be stripped apart until all that's left is the vehicle’s empty chassis and body. The body is then repaired and repainted in Land Rover's Firenze red. From then onwards, things went north with exquisite mechanical upgrades such as a 15BT engine taken from a Toyota Mega Cruiser, Volvo portal axles, King absorbers and Bushranger 12,000lb winch. Structural integrity and safety are enhanced with ARB bullbar, ARB roll cage, customized roof rack, handmade tyre carrier and custom made side steps.
The interior is not designed for luxury but rather for practicality to carry spare parts and food for the five members' competition team. The only comforting item worth mentioning is the ARB fridge freezer for cold drinks 24/7 in the hot jungle of Borneo. For proper and safe storage of parts, the rear cabin features extensive compartments with metal barricade for the occupants' protection against fallen objects during extreme manoeuvres.
In short, this purpose built Landy is a dream support car that could deliver the special advantage to the competition with its mobility, capability and credibility. Special thanks to 'Borneo 4WD Sdn. Bhd.' , 'Lozai Engineering' & 'Chong Chai' who have helped the owner built a unique Landy as a support car that goes anywhere its master goes, the Pinky Competitor.
Last year's Borneo Safari was a memorable experience to Ah Lung and his co-driver, William Thien Shian Vun, who stormed into the final SS with grit and determination to finish in the top position for the exclusive Challenge Trophy. Hails from Keningau, Ah Lung or better known as the "fire breathing dragon" in Hakka, has been active in off road competition close to 10 years with outstanding performances in several 4WD competitions but winning Borneo Safari for the first time ever was the ultimate achievement for him.
His serious off road competitions started with a modified Nissan Patrol but after selling it, he laid low for 5 years before getting his hands on this competition-ready Suzuki in 2015 and began to refine the setups to suit his driving methods and preferences. Soon, success proved inevitable when he notched up first place in Kota Marudu, Kundasang and Tenom 4x4 challenges in prior to the 27th Borneo Safari International Off Road Challenge 2017.
His Suzuki 410 has undergone massive modifications with the help of several well-known workshops in Sabah. Incredibly, he relies on a Toyota 2JZ turbocharged petrol engine boosted with a Garrett A/R 70 turbocharger and its automatic gearbox which was custom fitted to BJ80 axles running on custom made air lockers. For flexibility in extreme terrains, he uses Ori Pro Engineering absorbers that operate with pressurized Nitrogen gas for height and rebound settings. A powerful axle winch together with a Warn 8274 winch as a backup ensure that this monster recovers quickly in extreme conditions. The rear quarter of this beast uses the A-Arm suspension setup to achieve long travel required to overcome huge obstacles. With a weight of only 2,030kg, this souped-up Suzuki proves that winning is not just pure luck but talent and muscles combined.
Ah Lung would like to thank Lozai Engineering, Leosey Workshop Adut, Fung Yuan Exhaust, David Lo (Zhu Chai), William Thien (Ah Vun), Koo Foi Kheng (brother), Ah Ngen, Stone, Keningau 4x4 Team, LVS Transport Sdn. Bhd. (Rayn Liew) and all his friends and family for supporting and helping him in his quests for off road glory.
On behalf of Sabah Four Wheel Drive Association and the Organizing Committee of the 28th Borneo Safari Intennational Off Road Challenge 2018, I'd like to welcome all the participants from far and near to the most exiting off road adventure and competition in Borneo!
This year, we will camp at the beautiful seaside of Toburon Village, Kota Belud after the flag off on October 28, 2018 and if you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the enchanting sunset in shades of red over the South China Sea. The 8-day 7-night journey will take us across the hills and tropical jungle of Kota Belud to Kota Marudu and then back again to Kota Belud. For the first time ever, the convoy will break into two groups travelling on different routes to the same destination each day. The main convoy (officials and competitors) and tag-on convoy are expected to regroup on the final part of the route before returning to Kota Kinabalu for the closing ceremony and award presentation night on November 4th 2018.
Ever since the first Borneo Safari made international headlines in 1991, the Northern Territory of Borneo, Sabah, is steadily gaining popularity in more countries than ever thanks to Borneo Safari and the countless exposures from the participants, media coverage and social network over the years. I am estatic to announce the arrival of competitor from Russia for the first time to give the local competitors and neighbouring teams from Brunei a run for their money. I hope the thrills and challenges in Borneo Safari will spur more interest from across the globe and attract more teams in the future.
My utmost appreciation to the time and effort toiled by the organizing committee over the last four months are beyond words, thank you very much for all your contributions. Most importantly, our heartfelt appreciations to all the sponsors especially Isuzu Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (DIAMOND SPONSOR), UMW Grantt International Sdn. Bhd. (PLATINUM SPONSOR), Borneo 4WD Sdn. Bhd. & ARB Australia (GOLD SPONSORS), Panway Auto Sdn. Bhd. (GOLD SPONSORS), Xtreme 4X4 Sdn. Bhd. & TJM (SILVER SPONSORS), Victory Poweramp Sdn. Bhd. & Varta Battery (SILVER SPONSORS) and ALL remaining BRONZE SPONSORS for the overwhelming support to ensure that the 28th Edition of Borneo Safari finishes meaningfully.
Last but not least, a big thanks to Sabah Tourism Board, Kota Kinabalu City Hall, Road Transport Department, Royal Police Malaysia, Kota Belud District Council, Kota Marudu District Council, SAFODA, Sabah Parks, head of villages and land owners whose approval and blessings have reignited the spirit of off-roading in Borneo Safari once again in The Land Below the Wind.
Good Luck to all the participants and may we meet again in another great chapter of Borneo Safari next year.