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 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 in 1988 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 event was getting popular among four wheel drive enthusiasts, both Sidhu and Gideon initiated to get the club registered with the Registrar of Societies so as to make it a legal entity. They eventually got the club registered, which is still called KFWDC and put up simple advertisements on local dailies for interested individuals to register as members. Presently, the Club has grown tremendously and has gone international with ever-growing new members.
On the 31st of March, 2012, under the leadership of 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.
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 Borneo Safari International OFF-ROAD Adventure is an exclusive and upbeat Eight-Day 4WD expedition through Northern Borneo, covering 1000 km of some of the most challenging and varied OFF-ROAD terrains in the world.
"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 a 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 not 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, have an equal chance of winning.