The Land Rover Owners Club Malaysia (LROM) celebrated its 20th anniversary with a jamboree which saw approximately 40 Land Rovers, Discoveries, Range Rovers and other 4-wheel drive vehicles converge at a campsite in the jungle fringing Karak town in Pahang on the weekend of 29 April – 1 May 2017.
The Land Rover owners turned up in Land Rovers of various ages, from the Series 1, which was launched in 1948, the 88 Series 2 (so named because its wheelbase was 88 inches long), launched in 1958 through to the Series 3, launched in 1971, and the later 1983-launched Land Rover 90 and the 110. The Land Rover 110 was renamed the Defender in 1990.
The Land Rover Owners Club Malaysia is run strictly by enthusiasts and gets what is described as ‘a little’ support from Land Rover. LROM is a club for off-roading enthusiasts in Malaysia. There is no requirement to own a Land Rover, just a love of the outdoors and 4×4 off-roading.
I first heard about this jamboree through a fellow motoring journalist, Yamin Vong, who also happened to be at the very first 4×4 gathering I attended in the mid 1980’s in Batang Kali – the memory is quite vivid as I recall that he tipped over and got stuck in a huge ditch on the way out the next morning. To cut the story short, Yamin got me an invite to the Jamboree through Alyna Tai, who is one of the key members of the club. Through this club, one can get to meet other Land Rover owners and also owners of other 4 x 4 vehicles and exchange notes with each other. (www.lrom.com.my)
The event was held at the Petai Lodge, about 3.5 km by dirt road just off Karak town – getting there was a small adventure in itself, with some parts requiring 4WD engagement due to rough terrain. I missed the main convoy that started on the Saturday morning from the Land Rover office in Petaling Jaya but drove up there myself in my own truck – being the May Day long weekend, the traffic on the Karak Highway was quite heavy, and as usual, the occasional oblivious-to-the-rest-of-the-world-around-him driver would be the root cause of a long line of traffic, only clearing up when everybody stuck behind starts to get impatient and begins to overtake him on the left. Finally I got to the Karak exit, and turned off into an area of relative calm and serenity – for a short while.
By the time I got into camp, it was close to 3.00 pm, but the site was a flurry of activity as participants were busy putting up their tents for the duration – you could either opt to stay in a communal tent, or bring your own. The seasoned campers were very well equipped, and some of the tents were actually quite impressive. One particularly outstanding one was like a living room perched on top of a 4WD vehicle, with everything but the kitchen sink in it – perhaps the kitchen sink was there, but I didn’t notice it.
The event is for the whole family, and many of the participants brought along their entire families – everybody seemed to be having a good time. Although it was an organized event, there was plenty of free time to do your own thing, including lounging in a ‘common’ pool, which is an ‘expanded’ area of a mountain stream. The water was crystal clear, while being cold enough to chill beer.
As for me, I joined one of the communal tents put up by the organizers for the various outstation representatives – there were contingents from Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, and even a group from Indonesia led by the colourful ‘Pak Hari’, an avid 4 x 4 fan and a prominent figure in Indonesian 4-wheel drive events. Sarawak was represented by Paul Si, an ex-media colleague and his 4 x 4 partner simply known as ‘Ah Foo’. Since we did not need to spend time to put up our ‘residence’, the afternoon was spent catching up with friends, making new ones, and just plain shooting the breeze.
The participants all share one common interest – 4×4 off-roading, plus a love for anything Land Rover – I couldn’t help getting caught up in it, as I looked around me and saw all those wonderful machines, some of which are between 20 to 30 years old, in various conditions of upkeep – what impressed me were some of the units, that despite being two decades old, look like they left the showroom just a week ago.
That first night, LROM celebrated its 20th anniversary with a cake-cutting ceremony – the large cake had a ‘Land Rover’ on it – not a good likeness, but the symbolism was there.
On Day 2, there was a ‘special stage’ at the campsite – a couple of driving tests over an obstacle course – a friendly competition open to whomsoever wanted to participate – it was fun to watch as the participants fought against the clock to see who would be fastest through. Yamin won the ‘leaf spring’ category in his Series 1 Land Rover, while Paul Si and Ah Foo won the coil spring category in a ‘borrowed’ Land Rover Discovery.