Situated in the foot of the mountains, less than 2 hours drive from Kuching City, Bengoh Resettlement Scheme – or BRS – was the location chosen for the Padawan International 4X4 Off Roaders Extreme Challenge 2015.
The Bengoh Resettlement Scheme was at first set up in order to relocate villages hailing from four village affected by the Bengoh Dam Project, namely Kampung Taba Sait, Pain Bojong, Rejoi and Semban.
For more information about some of these villagers, read my previous article on the Bidayuh Bangle’s user: http://asianitinerary.com/a-journey-in-search-of-the-bidayuh-bangles-users/
The Bengoh Resettlement Scheme has a lovely and perfectly preserved nature and a great challenging terrain, an ideal place for extreme sports such as four wheel-drive.
Padawan International 4X4 Off Roaders Extreme Challenge 2015 was organized by the Padawan Municipal Council, creating interest in the area on those who made it to the event.
44 years old Agnes Timot from Kampung Sirak said the scheme area was amazing: “The scenery here is suited to hold activities. The atmosphere is quite beautiful”.
According to event participant Dayang Majalifah Awang Mustafa, from Sarawak’s Ironlady team, the event achieves a good exposure both for people and for the state: “For me, this is the best place to promote tourism. They get see the wonderful area with such an original black earth like they have here; I am a local and I had never seen this in Borneo, this is apparently the only place in Borneo to have this”.
Meanwhile, participant Atiqah Abdullah from the Brunei Team said: “The place itself is quite okay; looking at the terrain, it is so different in terms, so soft”.
36 years old Mario Vicardo from the Team Asia Perkasa, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, asserted that Padawan should be developed more towards this sport as it is beautiful, and also because he was fully satisfied with the challenging terrain.
State Assemblyman Datuk Dr. Jerip Susil intervened to say that the sport will be a platform to promote the scheme towards tourism from outside and within the country. He added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem also supports the efforts made by the various parties in the international class sports organization. This is because the sport can indirectly entertain and enlighten people in the scheme; the state government will assist them in turn, organizing a variety of activities that will also benefit the local population.
“These resettlement schemes are part of the government program to promote the area, and it aims to make resettled people understand that there can be lots of things that can be installed for them”, stressed out Datuk Dr. Jerip Susil.
Organizer Wilfred Yap told us that due to the competition being at a national level, the recognition is important so that participants who follow the sport can be recognized as well. “I mean, in the past only four wheel drivers to a club level could join the competition. Now, all participants have the chance to get a recognition “.
The game includes 3 main categories: Category A – very rugged or hardcore, totally modified vehicles. Category B – rugged and semi-modified vehicles. Category C – medium-rugged vehicle that has never been modified.
“We have 13 special stages and participants have to go through 13 challenges. One of the challenge is hill climbing the hill” said Wilfred Yap. He also added that this will be one of the annual events as it is part of Padawan Municipal Council goal. Therefore, he hopes, more participants will join next year.
Participants and the public also welcomed the idea to make this into an annual event. Mario Vicardo told us that “off-road events like this are excellent and professionally managed: marshals, medics, master track, they all work really well”.
Regulatory aspects need to be improved, according to participants, so let’s hope this can be achieved in next year event. The Sabah team has often been the winner of these events at various places like the Rainforest Challenge 2014 in Negeri Sembilan. They firmly believe that Padawan is an excellent place that can be expanded towards this sport.