Team Maxxis 4x4 Malaysia’s Hat-trick Win in 21st Rainforest Challenge 2017
Team Maxxis 4x4 Malaysia won this year’s Rainforest Challenge 2017 Grand Finals (RFC) championship title, which was in the 21st Edition, to claim a hat-trick victory. The RFC is rated as a top 10 toughest automotive challenge in the world. The team achieved a historical feat by winning 3 years back to back in 2015, 2016, and 2017, a significant milestone that was never achieved before in the 21-year history of this Rainforest Challenge.
RFC 2017 was held in Pahang from 23rd November to 4th Dec 2017 with participants from more than 36 nations including Russia, Hong Kong/China, Ecuador, Colombia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines and India. The team went through some of the most challenging terrain in the natural rainforest of Pahang; it started in Balok, Kuantan on 25th November and ended in Sebarau on 5th December. The vehicle carrying the competition number 119 driven by Chang Chiew Shen, who is also the champion driver for last two year’s RFC, and his new co-driver August Rambil proved to be champions again by beating one of the most highly respected Russian team, vehicle number 104, driven by Roman Kulbak and co-driver Pavel Kovalenko.
Morning showers meant that the opening Prologue leg at Pantai Balok was full of excitement, especially in Special Stage 7 (SS7). The downpour worsened the next day, leading to rising water levels at the entrance to the Predator leg in Sungai Lembing. As in day one there were some 4km speed runs and many challenging obstacles with walls and big non-static rocks. During prologue SS 8, one of the extraordinary highlights was a 30-feet vertical wall that required nerves of steel to overcome. The team chose to use winch ropes to surmount this obstacle.
This time, another Maxxis Team (vehicle number 120) with driver Wong Fook Sang and co-driver Jamal bin Jaeland was their team partner. The team did a respectable run in the night SS at Sungai Lembing despite having a long vehicle. In the ‘Twilight Zone’, they teamed up with vehicle number 117. They completed the twilight zone on 2nd December at 8.15pm at the place where the flag-off was done on 1st December at 10am, making them the most outstanding Twilight Zone team. At the same time they were the only team that successfully completed the twilight zone in the RFC 2017, claimed to be the toughest twilight zone ever in the event’s 21-year history. The 18 hours of non-stop hard work included winching, guiding, helping, encouraging and driving in the dark while being attacked endlessly by leeches and sand flies.
After the monsoon onslaught, muddy madness and much hardship in neck-and-neck battle with the Russians, Team Maxxis 4x4 Malaysia emerged the champion. Their achievement also signified the latest creation of M9060 Mud Trepador as a true winner in mud and rocky river battles. This also took into consideration its support team that provided relentless back-up and effort throughout the journey to help them become the winning team in the RFC.
The awards that Team Maxxis 4x4 won were the Overall Championship, Portal Axle Class - Champion and Best Petrol Engine 2,000cc–3,000cc – Champion.