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In search of Borneo's 'Last Frontier'

  • It was not a rumor after all. The Last Frontier is for real!
  • It was not a rumor after all. The Last Frontier is for real!

On August 13, a convoy of seasoned 4x4 adventurers set off on a 15-day never before attempted expedition in search of Borneo's "Last Frontier".

It was a rumor that got their adrenaline pumping, according to Anuar Ghani, the expedition chairman.

So he rounded up eight hardcore off-roaders, including Harry Sanusi, president of the Indonesian Off-Road Federation, to look for the route.

The rumor was that there is a jungle trail from Malinau in North Kalimantan, to Ba'Kelalan in the remote highlands of Sarawak close to the Indonesian border.

These men, including Voon Foh Jin, a veteran from the inaugural Trans Borneo 29 years ago, set off in six heavily modified 4x4s.

They drove from Kuching to Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan and, Balikpapan and Samarinda in East Kalimantan, then to Tanjung Selor in North Kalimantan before proceeding to Malinau.

After days of searching, they found a local guide named Lapinus who confirmed there was a track into Ba' Kelalan through deep and remote jungle.

It was not a rumor after all. The Last Frontier is for real!

They set off and found a track built by the Indonesian army but which has since fallen into disuse. They had to build numerous timber bridges to cross some washed off sections of the track.

The team had to cross three rivers, where at one stage they had to be pulled across by an excavator.

They also encountered steep hill climbs, one in particular, Bukit Seribu (One Thousand) Hills). And indeed their vehicles had to use a three-point winching technique to be hauled up the hills a thousand times!

It took them three days and three nights of hard driving to make the 260km crossing into Sarawak.

It was one of the greatest 4x4 adventure and experience of their lives. Altogether, they drove 4,500km to make the round trip to find the "Last Frontier".

Trans Borneo 2017 is supported by the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu, Indonesian Off-Road Federation, Kementerian Pelancongan, Kebudayaan dan Alam Sekitar Sabah, and Kementerian Pelancongan, Kesenian dan Kebudayaan Sarawak.

The convoy comprising specially prepared 4x4s and off-roaders was flagged off in Kota Kinabalu on August 13, and would travel from Sabah through North Kalimantan into Sarawak and ending in Brunei.

The Trans Borneo is the mother of all 4X4 events in Borneo. It was started in 1988 by 4x4 Adventure Club Kuala Lumpur.

This year's Trans Borneo is jointly organized by North Borneo Explorers Sdn Bhd headed by Anuar Ghani and P.T. Java Adventura (Indonesia) headed by Harry Sanusi and his son Reza Hariputra.

 

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