Ha Long hosts all-terrain race

The first intHa Long hosts all-terrain raceernational competition for off-road vehicles to be held in Viet Nam under Rainforest Challenge (RFC) rules kicked off in Ha Long City’s Tuan Chau in the northern province of Quang Ninh on Saturday.

RFC is a sports, adventure tourism event with this year involves 40 all-terrain vehicle teams, including 12 internationals from South Korea, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore and Laos. Two women from Ha Noi are also in the lineup.

Locally called the Viet Nam Challenge – Ha Long 2013, its demands each four-wheel-drive vehicle has at least two people: a driver and a co-driver. They have to work together to pass the tests on 18 different terrains, with steep, tilt and bog tests, driving through water, climbing rocks and driving through forest terrain.

The 4WD vehicles are equipped with a full range of safety equipment such as anti-sway frames, fire extinguishers and seat belts. In addition, vehicles must have winches and a snorkel exhausts so they can negotiate deep water.

They are inspected by experts who check all systems, machinery and safety equipment, along with the course and special tests.

On the first day of competition, the teams underwent uphill, tilt and bog tests. Several thrilling situations occurred as vehicles overturned, broke water tanks and caught fire. However, the rescues were fast and efficient. The race continues today.

“I love this sport and have taken part over more than 17 years,” said Sidik Khan, one of the Malaysians.

“In so doing, I have had great experiences and made friends all over the world with the same passion.”

It also helped RFC Viet Nam strengthen friendship with Malaysia, he said.

Khan said the RFC competition in any country followed the same rules and guidelines. The terrain in Viet Nam and Malaysia were also the same.

“What can differ is the weather,” Khan said. “Rain is king in the RFC. The teams have to act so quickly, and have the talent and control to overcome the problems they encounter.

“I believe in the Vietnamese teams, it’s very difficult to guess who will be the winner.”

However, Khan said, Viet Nam RFC had only been involved in the competition for two years and were less experienced.

“Give them a few years and I think they are quite capable of winning.” — VNS