Tag: XMen Extreme Adventure

XXAV: Trans Amazon I

by on Apr.13, 2010, under XMen News, XMen Xtreme Adventure 5

Rebranding XXAIV into XXAV as ‘IV’ as it is not really ‘good’ in chinese! :)

Xmen Xtreme Adventure VStay tune. More to come.

Our video, in collaboration with 4×4 World Explorer….


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by on Feb.14, 2010, under XMen Extreme Adventure, XMen News

As you have read from New Sunday Times, this adventure of a lifetime is a no frills trip, where everybody have to chip in to do the driving to transfer the 7 trucks from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Cartagena, Colombia. However, we also want to experience the Amazon Jungle, so the trip will have time to absorb all the beautiful wonders of God’s creation.

We will be camping most of the journey, and at campsites, everybody will have to chip in to set up camp, do cooking, cleaning and also Night Guard duties on rotation while the other members snore away. Only when we are in developed areas and cities where locating a suitable campsite is not possible will we find a safe budget hotel for the night.

he whole group will be as “1 group” and decisions will be on “one for all & all for one” . Camaradie will be the key to the overall extremely enjoyable experience. Eventhough, the members will be from different age groups, backgrounds and personality, all will have to be totally co-operative and have perfect common sense. The group size will be between 20 – 25 people.

(continue reading…)

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by on Jan.29, 2010, under XMen Extreme Adventure, XMen News, XMen Xtreme Adventure 3

Confirm Adventurers
Rambeer Singh – Chucky Def 110 with portal axle
Stuward Garrow – T3 6×6
Wing Lim
Collin Webb


Dear Adventurers,

Here is it, the eagerly awaited XXAIII.

The adventure begins again for 2010 in the Tiger Trial – Pahang and this is going to be an adventure of a life time.


Date: 9th April, 2010(Friday) – 16th April 2010(Friday)

Place: Pahang , Malaysia.


Entry Fees: RM1,300.00 per vehicle of (Driver and Co Driver)

Extra Passenger: RM700 per pax.

Jumpers: RM1000.00 per pax (Food,Camp bed, Mosie net provided)

Food package: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner RM300 per pax. (Lunch will be light lunch or walking lunch)

Limited to 12 cars only. Please make ur reservation asap and pay your deposit at XMen hideout in KG Baru Subang or bank in to Jungle Expedition & Explorer, Maybank Account no. MBB 5121 5650 3739

or contact the below for further inquiries:

alynatai@gmail.com hp 012 3295 993

sesat88@gmail.com hp 012 2188 361

Be prepared for this adrenaline heart pumping adventure. Machine and Man will be put to the ultimate test.

Cars must have fully modified and able to withstand the ultimate forces Mother Nature has to offer. Be fully equip. All adventurers must be mentally and physically prepared.

Pahang is one of the oldest and most challenging rainforest in the World and we will be there to conquer it!

Following are the necessary entrance document. Please download, sign and pass back to Alyna.

Indemnity Form                                   Entry Form

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XMen Xtreme Adventure 2010

by on Jan.15, 2010, under Announcements

A very Happy New Year to all.

Our tentative events schedule for the year is as follows. Openings and seats as usual are limited. Please book and confirm early to avoid disappointment.

Event 1 : April 2010
XXA III: Tiger Trail
Event 2 : June 2010
XXA IV: Trans Amazon
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XXA1: Comments from the adventurers

by on May.17, 2009, under XMen Extreme Adventure, XMen Extreme Adventure 1


“As for me myself, I will return again and again to sample more of that magic, whether woven by Atek’s hands or the jungle beyond the trail where real magic calls the die-hard off-roader.”

<<Click here to read her story>>

~ Eliza/Tom (Malaysia)


“For the first time in my life, i have experienced the off road adventure and have caught on the X-Men fever all thanks to Atek, Alyna and in fact the whole convoy for making this extreme adventure a dream come true.”

<<Click here to read his story>>

~ Vignesh (Malaysia)


“I’m looking forward to the next extreme adventure trip, and would like to thank Alyna and Atek for inviting me on this last trip. It was great.”

<<Click here to read about Rod’s Adventure in the Mud Hole>>

~ Rod Caldwell (USA/Thailand)


“The exhilaration of travelling and working as a team lead by the X-Men teams are truly awsome. Furthermore; the satisfaction are enhance by an appreciation of their self sufficiency and leadership quality. Thus, we were able to shrugged off most challanges mother nature has presented… Its hard to conclude every single details but I feel we will remember the adventures we have been through.”

<<Click here for comments from Choon Meng & Peter>>

~ Tan Choon Meng & Peter Ng  (Singapore)


“…I’m looking forward to the next xmen adventure trip..”

<<Click here to read about her adventure>>

~ Wing Lim (Malaysia)


…I see a great power in team work, we were all there to have fun and play…

<<Click here to read more about KAMPUNG KU (My village in Malay)>>

~ Vigneswaran P. Karthigesu (Malaysia)


“Thank you for showing us the rainforest jungle and giving us the taste what 4×4 offroading is all about…

~ Eliza n Rosa Othman (Malaysia)

keith-mcgibbon“You won’t get the opportunity to go into the Malaysian jungle in such a challenging, remote, rewarding and organised package unless Ah Tek and Alyna organise it. It is a unique experience and you get the sense you are doing something special. You skip meals, drive all night, sweat it out in the sun with swarms of bees, join chain gangs, stand in rivers in the middle of the night digging a bank of mud; but we’ll all sign up for more which says everything about this trip. Roll on the sequel.”

~ Keith McGibbon (UK/Italy)


“Tough trucks, a motivated team. Spectacular location, a challenging set of obstacles and  the best possible leadership. This was one of the most fantastic 4×4 trips I’ve ever done and certainly the format which I would love to repeat”

<< click here for more of his stories>>

~ Stu Garrrow(T3 – Australia)


” of all the off-road places in the world the Elephant Mud Hole will instantly evoke stories of ’remember when’.
X-Man Rate de Silva and jungle woman extrodinaire, Alyna Tai, have the utmost trust and loyalty from their group of friends for any expedition, it’s no wonder we wanted to join him. It was the adventure of adventures, going in blind, no recce and taking what mother nature gave us. We made it closer to the EMH than any group for 3 years, ouldn’t have missed it for the world… I’ll be back for more……”

<< Click here to read the fantastic story from Liz >>

Elizabeth Lewis (United Kingdom)


” Elephant Mud Hole – The Offroaders Spirit of Adventure “

~ Thomas Foo aka Tango (Malaysia)


“Well was it worth flying half way around the world for just a few days in the jungle.   YOU BET !!!  will I be back??   Do Bears S… in the wood !    Yes I’ll be back.”

<<Click here to read Papa John’s Adventure>>

~ Martin Lewis aka Papa John (UK)


“I would like to say that this has been one the 7 wonders that I’ve done in my life…It was a tremendously nerve wrecking,bone shaking and mind blowing experience for me. 00 with his skills and ability to accommodate,assist,guide and rescue was extra ordinary. Not forgetting the whole team and all their guidance and hard work to make this whole event a successful one! The leadership is the one that makes the whole team perform beyond their call of duty.”

I would like to thank everyone especially Atek, Alyna and Rambeer for giving me this opportunity and introducing me to the world of “OFF ROADING”.

~ Majorie Peters (Malaysia)

“I caught Jungle Fever!! and I have Ah Tek and Alyna to thank! Amazing 4×4 Experience.”
~ Linus Liew (UK)

shaharul-zain“The last time I passed through the mudhole was in RFC 2005 and the time last through places like Rocky hill and piece of cake was 2000…long ago now it seems. So this time around, I felt a lot of anticipation to revisit them again. While we did not make it through the entire route, it was more due to lack of time than lack of spirit. I think for me, the trip was made truly special by the presence of many old friends – going four wheeling just like how we used to do once upon a time. Thanks to 00 and 01 for inviting me on an event that Malayan Safari is proud to support”
~ Shaharul Zain aka Mike Sierra (Malaysia)

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XXA1: Comments from Martin Lewis

by on May.01, 2009, under Comments, XMen News

Papa Johns Return.

martin-lewisRecently, I suprised everyone in Malaysia, by e mailing (yes even papa john has learnt how to join the electronic age !!). One of the first major news items to come back to me was the impending xxa1 trip.

My initial reaction was to wish everyone a good trip. BUT that night whilst I lay awake, memories came flooding back………….. Along with Kosong Kosong, I’ve spent many weary days hacking  a way through the impeneterable ferns, being led deeper and deeper into what seemed never ending undergrowth, towards the zenith…………The Elephant Mud Hole!!

I should have turned over and gone to sleep!!  instead I e mailed back to the x men team and said Papa Johns coming out of retirment and returning to the jungle !!!!!

During the long 12 hour flight, I could hardly contain my excitment. Talking to an elderly chap and trying to explain what the jungle meant, he  was Malaysian and had never been to the jungle!! Even after my enthusiastic outpourings I did not expect to meet him down at the bottom of Terminator Hill.

It was great to see so many old freinds at the flag off. It was almost as though I’d never been away (allthough 2 years is a long time !!). So many questions, where have you been ?, what have you been up to? The truth, I,ve spent a lot of time sailing. During an Atlantic crossing, I spent many long hours alone on watch…………….. not one day went by, that I did not think what was happening in MY.

One thing that I did not miss during my sabatical was the horendous KL Traffic!!!!! and it was a relief to be heading up towards the Genting tunnel and away from chaos.

Even after the long drive up to Terrenganu and the Tasik Kenyir Resort, there was no rest, a phone call to Ahtek and the first upset, the local filling station near to the saw mill at Lalong, (where some of the vehicles were unloaded from the car transporter trailer), was closed down. That meant the nearest fuel was a 30 km drive away.  Peter and I left the resort immediatly to go and help Ahtek, he was busey fueling up all the cars………………… by gerry can!!!!! loads of them. 11/2 hrs later we arrived to find an exhausted Ahtek still ferrying gerry cans around.

That guy is amazing, he has so much energy.

Work finished and bellies full of Nasi Goering, Tek and I left Peter with the vehicles and we headed back to the resort. By 3 am I finally slumped onto a bed and promptly fell asleep fully dressed. 6am and up again, swapping road tyres for the off road ones. Returning to the resort dining room for breakfast. I finally met up with Rod and Colin from Thialand, I’ve not seen either of them for many years.

Anticipation was building amongst the participants, this was heightened by Ahteks briefing, we all wanted to be off, and soon we were.

Another long drive to the saw mill and the start. Along the way we passed over the imfamous Bridge to Nowhere. Now just another bridge on the highway, but to me a catalist for some very happy memories………… 99 RFC, it was a lengthy jungle drive just to reach the bridge and immediatly back into jungle at the other end. During the rescue mission after the rains we used the bridge as a base camp, whilst the Austrailian team and myself ferried fuel and food in, and brought people out, Big Olie’ manned the base camp. OH Happy memories……………………….wow 10 years ago!!!!

I digress.

Late morning and we were off, as sweeper I had to wait for Rod who had suffered a puncture, on tarmac!! Then we spent an hour or so chewing his dust. By the time we caught everyone up at the river, lunch was nearly finished but Alyna always looks after Papa John so I did not go hungery!!

After crossing the river the fun began, no more main logging track, back to jungle tracks. Now, those that know me, know I like to be in the thick of the action, and well, at the back in sweepers position I’m feeling a bit left out, but then just after another river crossing the 109 Land Rover of Che Mat, rips the fuel bung from the ageing fuel tank and looses almost a tank full of petrol. So what to do??? Vicky and I rig up a tempory fuel tank, mounted up in front of the grill, this proved so successfull it lasted all the way back to KL.

With all the hold ups along the way we were behind time and Ahtek wanted to push on, we passed a lovely big camp site by an even nicer river and inched deeper and deeper into the  jungle. Darkness began to take hold when it was decided to stop on the track. Peter and I negotiated the two 110 Land Rover Chuck Wagons into positin. The fly sheet went up quickly with practised ease and dinner was soon being prepared. Cold Tiger beers apeared and the world was a happy place. Good food, cold beer, a bed and great friends.

The next morning and off again, more river crossings, bridges, gaps. …………………. When I go jungle, things blurr, I live the moment, I cant remember in the afternoon what I did in the morning, so now many days later what chance do I have of remembering what happened in what sequence?? All I know I was happy, Happyer than I’ve been in years

I know it rained one night, just after Keith said, oh we could do with some rain……………… thanks kieth!!

One morning Ahtek said we’ve got a bit of digging to do, so armed with chunkells and a need for some action I set forth off up the track, when I got to the little obsticle, even I took in a deep breath. But then as others joined me and mutterings grew, I bravely said oh not so bad!! Tek gave me one of the chain saws, pointed at a few trees and left. My own fault for moaning that nothing ever happened at the back. HHUUMMMMM.

With everyone working as a big team, we built a new track wide enough to drive, it was a knife edge with a 15/20 m sheer drop into a wash out one side and a steep drop the other, by lunch time all the vehicles were passed the obsticle. I was delighted at the way everyone worked together, everyone so keen, for such a big group to pull together……….. special. I think some of them thought it immposible but thats the power of X MEN. By that I mean Ahteks quiet confidence flows in abundence and just seems to infect people, if Tek says, can be done, then it happens.

We pushed on and on, I remember having to strengthen Tokyo Bridge with some large uprights, and the drive across was a bit  daunting, especially in the Pink Elephant, thats what I called Alynas defender that I was driving………….well it was red and it was so heavy it was like an elephant!!

We eventually came to a nasty little river crossing, driving parallel to the river and droping down into the bed. A few vehicles got across, then we opened up a new exit. As we were running out of sequence I was about mid convoy, Tek told me to go on to the next river and set up camp, by now it was raining and the light was fading. By the time we arrived a few vehicles were parked up in the small camp site. A call over the radio informed us that the other chuck wagon had flipped into the river!! but everyone was ok. Kieth and Vicky went back in Two Blue to help out while we set about setting up camp, With everyones help the tarp went up, most of the cooking gear was in the other chuck wagon but with a small gas stove and a big kettle, the girls got hot water going, noodles were found and people were fed with hot food. Eventually Tek and the others came into camp, a few bruises and cuts for those inside the flipped vehicle, they’d uprighted the truck and it was winched onto the bank.

A bit of a subdued night but relief that  no one was hurt. Early the next morning Tek and I surveyed the damage to the chuck wagon. Looked worse than it was. We left the boys to clean out the engine and see if it would run. We went back and surveyed the next river crossing. Oh dear!! major work. So decision time.

A discussion between all assembled. Tek pointed out that to carry on was another 5 days to reach, cross the mud hole, climb the Terminator and carry on out. Pussy’s or Adventurers!! Not really, a lot of people were on time limits, with flights and work commitments. The general concensos was to come back out. Even before the reality of our dessision had sunk in, mutterings of mud hole 2 were circulating. For me my heart was in my boots. I was gutted!! Tek caught my eye and unspoken words between us, we both knew that this was not the end.

Everyone was glad to be moving again, not necessarilly in the direction we were going but……………… The boys had got the chuck wagons engine running ok and had even pulled the roof up, a bit of polish and it would be ok!! hmmm.

The trip out was another adventure, with team work the bridges and gulleys were crossed, the knife edge pass negotiated and the big drop winched down. Long before Rocky Hill the 109 slamed its fan into the radiator. Everytime we filled the rad up with water it looked like a gang of small boys peeing in the hedge….. little spouts of water in all directions. We towed and draged the 109 for hours until darkness fell. I got a message back to Tek to let him know the 109 was staying behind while we pushed on to the main camp site, as we had the food on board for everyone. Hours later we limped into camp, most had fed themselves, tarps were up, beds were out and the beer was flowing. Tango took pity on me and thrust a cold Tiger into my hand, that was the sweetest beer of the trip, it just hit the spot.

By afternoon most vehicles were out, we set off back to the resort.

Well was it worth flying half way around the world for just a few days in the jungle.   YOU BET !!!  will I be back??   Do Bears S… in the wood !    Yes I’ll be back.

Its made me realise just how much I’ve missed all my friends. To Ahtek. Alyna. Vicky. Tango and everyone else I would like to thank you all, for making this a real homecoming for me.

To the organisers, 00, 01 once again, you’ve pulled off another amazing trip. I thank you both. Further more I’d like to thank everyone on the trip, for making it unforgettable.

Papa John.  aka Martin Lewis (UK).

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XXA1: Liz’s Story (unplugged)

by on May.01, 2009, under XMen Extreme Adventure 1

“X-Men Xtreme Adventure”

Piece of Cake, I don’t think so!!

For five days life was a far removed from the luxury of

Lake Kenyir Resort & Spar as was possible …

Martin Lewis said “The words “ELEPHANT MUD HOLE” blinking from his computer screen conjured up so many memories and with his interest aroused he couldn’t go to sleep, he just had to tell Ahtek he was on the way to Malaysia”.  It was just the same for me and the other invited internationals, all of us members of Land Rover Owners Malaysia.

Is it “strange” to think that we would travel half way across the world for just a few days with the intention of visiting a muddy river bank deep in the Malaysian Rain Forest, winching up the toughest Terminator Hill going without sleep, being eaten by bugs and leeches.  No & No!!

The news came as a shock, they were flooding the Hulu Terengganu valley. This amazing segment of jungle sits on the border between the States of Terengganu and Kelantan in the North East of Malaysia and is one of the largest areas of uninterrupted jungle left in peninsular Malaysia, the “Elephant Mud Hole” lies somewhere in the middle.

Jungles are a world’s most valuable natural resource and have a unique atmosphere and an unbelievable amount of wildlife. There are not only the very rare Malaysian Rhino & Tiger, Elephant, Tapir, black cats, bears and lizards in this area but thousands of other species, monkeys, spiders, snakes and many more. And, there is nothing we all enjoy more than taking a trip into it in our trusty Land Rovers.

Rate De Silva (Ahtek) legendary “Jungle Scout and X-Man” and his amazing companion, jungle woman Alyna Tai, had sent out the word to the old gang they were putting together a trip to the Elephant Mud Hole area to say goodbye. Over the years Ahtek and his “X-Men team” have visited this remote region countless times, finding routes for the RFC and just for the fun of it, but no body has made it into the Mud Hole for nearly 3 years, and definitely nobody had been in since the great flood of ’07. We had just 5 days to reach the Mud Hole, cross the river, up Terminator Hill and out the other side. Just to make it more difficult we’d be going in blind, no recce, there was only person we all trusted to lead us in and out again, the X-Man, Ahtek.

After a flag off by the Group Editor from the leading Malysian daily paper, The New Straits Times, Datuk Syed Dadzri, a high honour for this small band of adventurers, the 11 expedition vehicles – which comprised of a Land Rover SIII 109, SII 88″, Defenders 2 x 300tdi and a V8, a LR TD5,  a Classic Range Rover bobtail, a hybrid Land Rover/Volvo C33 6×6, a competition spec Pajero, a shorty Toyota and the competition spec Toyota driven down from Thailand by Rod (USA) and his Thai co-driver Tak – all rendezvoused at Lake Kenyir Resort Hotel.

Next morning we took the the trail past the wood yard at Laloh, passing Kampung Miak via bridges that had totally disappeared in ’07, ripped away by the swollen rivers, but when we left the 26 kilometres of good logging trail behind and pushed into the overgrown jungle track it became apparent that we were in for a drive of a lifetime.  Thick bushes, bonnet high grasses and overgrowth made rocks and gullies hard to spot, the track would suddenly narrow to hardly a car width or drop away altogether. Navigators were in and out of  vehicles guiding their drivers up and down the many obstacles and winching up (and down) the hills. Which were many …

After crossing Sg. Miak we encountered our second problem (the comp Toyota had a puncture before we even got off the logging track !!). A large rock had punctured a hole in the fuel tank of the 109. A “jungle fix”, using a plastic jerry can strapped to the front grill and extra tubing from the fuel pump, the car was soon up and running and we pushed on to Sg. Ebay (aka Sg Cable) It was now around 40 °C and we were hot, thirsty and it great spirits. Over lunch we reminisced on the last time we’d been here, when the swirling river of brown muddy water was 3 metres higher. This was the river RFC participants had to swing over on a winch cable, the only means to cross.

As we set off again the going got even tougher, winching more, frequent work parties with machete and chunkle to make the track passable. The shorty Toyota bounced it’s way up a deep rutted section of sunken road before falling over on it’s side, not 15 minutes later the Pajero made three attempts at the same climb before falling over at exactly the same spot…. Mmm … something to be said for the slow and steady approach of the Land Rovers. We’d already lost time due to the difficulty of the tracks so, having passed on a great riverside campsite, Ahtek pushed us further down the trail.  But, as dusk fell we came to yet one more obstacle that would require a great deal of manpower, Ahtek decided we’d had enough and made camp on the track. Wasn’t best of locations but no problem, with speed that comes from familiarity the tent was soon up, dinner cooked and beds up, there was a small brook to get a wash then a cold beer to end the day. We’d made 8 kilometres. Tired but happy we went to bed.

Next morning it was straight into bridge building, the gully wasn’t wide but too deep to negotiate. A few hours later we pushed on deeper into the jungle, Rocky Hill more than lived up to it’s name. It was so overgrown pot holes and deep wash outs were hidden under lush vegetation, even with the navigators out on foot we crashed and bashed our way up with frequent winching. Each car helping the next. A bit different from  2002  when I’d last been her and the hill had been almost 20ft wide, now it was steep banks and touching vegetation. Eventually we reached the top only to discover a huge gorge with a 30 ft wall at the head, this used to be the road, the sandy soil had eroded and subsided and the monsoon rains had literally washed it down the mountain. Ahtek walked a round for a bit, pointed to a steep bank and said “we go up there!“.  With his hybrid Range Rover in the lead he made a road up the bank. Unfortunately as he pushed his way out of the trees he found himself perched on a knife edge with the landslide to the right and a bamboo covered hill dropping 100 foot to the ravine on the other. He came to an abrupt halt! Everyone was told to halt and form a work party – well it was Labour Day! (we call it May Day holiday). Martin took one look and said “not so bad” bravado’s a great motivator. We worked together, digging off the top of the hill, pulling out rocks and piling it all up on the logs we’d winched and pulled into place against the bamboo a few feet down the hill. Eventually we’d dug and moved enough soil that it was wide enough to cross. “Labour Day Highway” had take 4 strenuous hours under 35°c sunshine to construct.  It was slow but continual progress until it was too dark to go on.  Night camp was strung out, made where ever on the track we could stop. We’d lost a lot of time today and covered only 3 kilometres. Dinner had just finished when it rained, very hard. After only ten minutes the track became a water way inches deep as the monsoon rains ran through the camp, the tarpaulin roof filled with puddles and almost collapsed under the sudden weight … good time to take a shower, which I did…

Next morning the track was slippery as hell and tyres became slicks in the glutinous mud, but we pushed on to “Tokyo bridge”. (Built during the recce for RFC ’07 by Ahtek and his X-Men the bridge was substantial enough to hold many cars)  As Ahtek inched his trusty Range Rover, Jedi, towards the centre of the bridge there was a loud sound of cracking wood, uh uh … that’s not good!!. Slowly he reversed off.  The bridge was checked for rot using a machete, guys clambered down into the ravine and check out the underside and decided it was only the edges that had wood rot… it just need some supports! Picking a straight tree within felling distance of the bridge (Ahtek chooses quick grow trees and cuts them in such a way that the tree isn’t killed but will re-shoot) measurements were taken then the tree cut to 2 lengths which were then lowered into the ravine then winched in place, tight under each side of the bridge. For safety Ahtek also strapped the buttresses in place until the cars had passed over. The Bridge didn’t move an inch.

The sun was out and the going was extremely hot, while we were all in one place we munched our way through some Mee Hoon (noodles) Alyna had “rustled up” for lunch before all crossing the bridge. Off again we continued to climb ever upwards till we hit another landslide and washout. Nothing else for it but make a bypass, this one would be one very steep climb. It was all manpower to the hillside with ground anchor, chunkles and machetes, the resulting winch hill of loose earth was at least 45° and more. Using the PTO and electric winches it took single, double and even triple line pulls to get the vehicles up onto the narrow track with a steep drop on the left and a sheer landslide drop to the right. The little Series LR had fuel starvation problems due to the steep angle, with typical bush technology (definitely one NOT to try yourself) the guys took a 1.5 litre water bottle, filled it with petrol, took the pipe off the fuel pump and forced it through a small hole in the bottle cap then cable tied it to the car, once at the top of the hill they put it back to normal!!  By now the convoy was out of running order and had split into smaller groups, dusk was falling, thunder and lightening lit the sky and as the rains moved in Ahtek instructed the first group to push on and set up camp by a river a few kilometres ahead.

Guiding a vehicle over obstacles during daylight is one thing, doing it at night using torches to see where the wheels are positioned takes time and extreme trust between driver and navigator. I was the navigator … so spent most of the time out of the vehicle!  As we came out of the bushes we saw we’d approached parallel to a small river, Ahtek, and the hybrid Range Rover were already across and waiting to winch us up the far bank. Vicky (from the LR V8) had also crossed and was standing in the river to guide Peter off the bank, Wing and I stayed put as Peter was slowly positioned towards the angled drop off into the river. Suddenly the heavy rear end started to slide slowly sideways on the track, just as the front wheels went over the edge, the sandy bank gave way and we knew we were going over. We braced ourselves as best we could as the Land Rover rolled sideways off the bank and ended up on it’s roof in the river. The windscreen popped out whole, my side window had smashed on the riverbed and water flowed in and around us. Within seconds the guys were there to pull us out. Pete and I untangled ourselves from each other and cushions, straps, shackles, machetes, and were dragged out by the willing hands. We said our prayers the river had been shallow and we were all ok.

Within 15 mins the vehicle had been winched over and onto the bank, the driver’s side roof was caved in, the steering wheel was now oval, and none of the doors could be opened. The following vehicles still climbing the hill, radioed they were staying put setting up camp where they were. Wing, Pete and I grabbed rides to our camp only 500metres away. We’d only covered 3 kilometres all day.

We were a rather subdued camp that night.

In the morning Ahtek & Martin checked out the 110, wasn’t as bad in daylight. Leaving Peter and the lads to, change the oils, check her out and get her running they went to recce what was up ahead. A steep banked river crossing that needed lots of work to make it passable.

Returning to camp they gave everyone a rundown and the options. Go on, Go back!!

Ahtek estimated, judging by the condition of the tracks so far (we’d only covered 15 kilometres in 4 days!!) and from past experience we knew just getting to the top of Terminator Hill from the Mud Hole could take between ½ hour to 2½ hrs per car, longer if it rained. If the ruts we’d already experience were anything to go by the Terminator’s ruts would be very deep, eroded by the monsoon rains as the water rushed down to the river below. We also knew there were a few river crossing en route and “The Gap”. and a days’ drive back to KL. God it was a hard decision to make, we were so close, just 6kl to the Mud Hole.  Going back was still 3 days to KL …. If only we didn’t have business and work commitments… the Mud Hole was there, drawing us nearer….

Reality decided it for us. No choice, time was against us., work and flights won out

With sad hearts we agreed to turn around. BUT as this decision was made there was already talk of the next attempt. We had to get in before the loggers and the monsoon.

Rod, who’d driven down from Thailand in his hybrid Toyota, was gutted, this was his third attempt to reach the Mud Hole, but never fear, he’d already signed up!!

But first we had to get out from this adventure, and the return journey would definitely be no picnic!!  Just because we’d already been through and cleared lots of the track it would be no advantage. Driving anything in reverse direction can sometimes be even more difficult.

While the camp had breakfast and packed up camp Martin, Ahtek, Peter and Vicky all worked on the LR 110 (which had rolled off the track into the river the night before and ended up on the roof), and soon got her up and running – we’d be able to drive her out under her own power. Bottle jacks had lifted the roof to a reasonable height and there didn’t appear to be any steering problems despite the oval steering wheel. Peter, Wing and I sorted through the bags of our sodden belonging that had been pulled from the river. Luckily our clothes, sleeping bags and camp beds had been secured behind the dog guard with the food boxes and fridge so had remained in place, albeit a bit damp and battered.. Amazingly the windscreen had been found completely in tact on the river bed, probably wouldn’t be that way by time we got out the jungle so we peeled off the road tax and left the screen behind.

Two cars tried a new route to cross the river but the soft sand rutted out badly so the rest winched backwards down the bank into the river, except Ahtek, Peter and Martin who just reversed off the bank into the river… such faith! The V8 and T3 (LR/Volvo hybrid) waited to winch everyone up the opposite narrow sand bank, we definitely didn’t want anymore roll overs. It was late morning as we headed back down the track to our manmade 45° hill bypass around the subsidence. The shorty Toyota had been lowered down the 80ft steep slope by the Pajero, and with no following cars in sight, Chew Yang Yin was totally crazy and decided he’d drive his competition Pajero down the hill… Winching up was one thing, going forward over the edge was a totally different experience, his momentum increased rapidly on the rutted, slippery surface, brakes didn’t slow him down. It was not what you’d call a controlled descent!!  As the Pajero hit the bottom it bounced first into one set of ruts then into another and finally finished up in a deep washout to the side of the track which resulted in a 30 minute winch back onto the track. As we waited our turn to winch up onto the ridge then down the descent Ahtek came over the radio asking if there was a spare diff in the back of the V8. The very tidy Def 110 known as “Jackie” had broken either a diff or the shaft, great! As the parts were unearthed from below all the boxes piled high in the V8 Ahtek walked the kilometre to us then carried the diff back to the broken car. And it was only the shaft !! Stripping two batteries from the Range Rover and one from the 110 Ahtek linked them together and set to with his famous jungle welding. Quite a sight to see I can tell you, many a car has made it out of the jungle because of his amazing skills as a bush mechanic. (We once had a wheel bearing go and with no more than a penknife and a polypropylene bush Vicky and Ahtek crafted a bush to fit the bearing recess and we drove out 30klm on it, as it got loose they shoved in a washer and drove it 6 hrs back to KL)

Shah in his lovely 88 inch Series, the V8 and T3 worked together on the hill, once the Series had winched onto the narrow hill top the V8 followed and positioned to lower the Series down the big drop. T3 stayed and lowered 2 cars down before Rod took over and lowered the remaining cars before lowering himself down on his rear winch. A few hours had now passed and the convoy was now spread out along the trail, it would be late afternoon before we made it down Piece of Cake Hill, which proved to be anything but !!.

The deep ruts and gullies negotiated on the way up were even harder to navigate on the way down. After the night rains the surface was still slippery, vehicles were constantly sliding into gullies or off rocks, navigators spent a lot of time out of the vehicles guiding and watching their drivers. Winches were in full use either lowering or dragging vehicle through the ruts and out of gullies. I was thankful that on the way in we’d fitted the Dyneema Bowrope to the rear winches on our 110 and Dusty.  The 109 was seriously struggling under it’s own power and Ahtek decided to put it between the Def 110 Martin was driving and his Range Rover Hybrid. They could ensure it made it up and down all obstacles. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before Martin was constantly dragging the vehicle on a long strap.  We’d been told to go on at our own speed as we each navigated the obstacles, as Martin dropped further back our 110 was now going it alone, not the best situation should anything happen. By the time we’d crossed Tokyo Bridge, Labour Day Highway and reached Rocky Hill dusk had fallen. Wing and I were constantly in and out of the car, when stuck in a gully she just climbed out where the windscreen had been, no worries. We’d got a good rhythm worked out, I dragged out the winch cable, she brought the tree straps, shackles and pulley blocks. As I guided Peter over rocks and gullies we both used torches to see where the wheels were. If you’ve ever stood in front of a car in the dark with it’s lights on you’ll know it’s almost impossible to see where the tyres are, we tried side lights but Pete couldn’t see my hand signals !! One particular “stream” made our hearts beat, a 3 ft drop into a rocky river bed only just wider than the car with a “waterfall” drop off to the passenger side then a 3ft climb up the opposite bank. After three shunts Peter eventually had enough power to mount the opposite bank, give a rather large bounce then stop on the edge of the track … 2ft from a side drop into the valley which had been completely hidden in the dark by high vegetation.  Wing and I cut down long sticks tied them with white rag and stuck them in the ground as a marker to warn those behind.

Eventually we reach Sg Miak and the front runners who’d already set up camp for the night in the grassy field along side the clear river, a place of many leeches!! An hour laterthe radio crackled to life, Martin was telling Ahtek he was leaving the 109 at the side of the track to be collected later. He was picking up the Eliza and Roza and Vignesh was staying with the 109. Apparently, we learnt when Martin pulled into camp an hour or so later, the 109 had rammed into the back of his Def 110 on a down hill, the fan had been shoved hard into the radiator which now leaked like a watering can, spurting out in all directions. It was topped up and they tried to continue, Martin still towing. Then Whack!! As Martin got stuck in a gully the 109 had rammed into the back of the 110 again!  Enough was enough! Martin  took of the strap.

Ahtek and Alyna with the very tidy 110 known as “Jackie” sweeping from the rear eventually reached the parked109, everyone was too tired to continue, it was close to midnight so they pitched camp on the track and got some much needed sleep.  Next morning we waited for a radio update from Ahtek, he was going to slowly drag the 109 out, we were to head out. We broke camp, the Series took the lead as we bounced our way out to Sungai Terong and the start of the logging track. By now it was almost noon and it was bath time!! For humans and vehicles alike. As the rest of the cars piled into the river behind us we relaxed and messed around. There was only 26 kilometres of logging trails left to navigate before we’d hit tarmac, why rush, give Ahtek time to catch up. Eventually, leaving T3, the V8, Martin and Rod still washing up in the river the Series and our 110 headed out. With no windscreen or side windows we needed to get to the hotel before the evening rains came.  At Kampong Laloh we grabbed lunch outside the roadside café (Thomas, Peter and I had pitched our camp beds under their porch the night we’d escaped the floods during RFC 2007 – bit déjà vu). The others were still out of radio contact so we headed for Tasik Kenyir Hotel just over an hours drive away. Travelling the trails at 15 miles per hour with no windows is one thing, driving down tarmac at 60 miles an hour is something else entirely… the wind rush was so bad Pete couldn’t keep his sunglasses on and had to endure streaming eyes. We all tied t-shirts and rags round our faces to catch the bugs and insects that normally ended their lives on the windscreen.  Dark clouds were gathering on the mountain and we all said a few prayers to our different gods, now was not a good time for rain. They must have been listening because as we came around the mountain the downpour had just stopped, it had been heavy, we were SO lucky, and our luck held. After reaching the hotel we’d just tied a tarpaulin over the car and as we checked into the hotel the heavens opened and the monsoon rain poured down for the next hour.

In dribs and drabs the rest of the group rolled into the hotel, all tired but very happy, but it was 0100 before Ahtek & Alyna arrived. They’d continued to drag the 109 all the way from the jungle to Laloh.  I said at the start of my story, if there was one person you could trust to get you in and out of the Jungle it was X-Man Rate de Silva, aka Ahtek…… I rest my case.

We knew when we signed up for this ultimate adventure there was a chance our attempt wouldn’t make it through. However, our group of international drivers, navigators and hop in passengers from Land Rover Owners Malaysia club led by the X-Men had made it to within 6klm of the revered Elephant Mud Hole, we’d made it further into the jungle and closer to the EMH than any other group had been for nearly three year. At least 10 klms of the trails had definitely not been driven during the last 2 years. How far will the second attempt get??  You will have to wait and see….

………As we all made our way to Kuala Lumpur, Ahtek and Alyna couldn’t resist going for a look at the exit road from Terminator Hill, after loading the cars onto the transporter for the seven hour drive back to KL, they set off in their standard Discovery.  What a shock.  Loggers were already pulling out the wood (surely this was ahead of schedule). They drove for nearly an hour on logging tracks passing big trucks hauling out the felled trees. For 26 kilometers they pushed in. Luckily the entry track to the top of Terminator Hill was to the south of the logging tracks, there was still time to make the last attempt to get though, but it wouldn’t be long before the logging companies were moving down the mountain and the track would be lost.

As we said our farewells over dinner in KL and received the news of the logging, the X-Men Adventurers agreed … the next trip would be over only when they’d broken through the Mud Hole and made it out from Terminator Hill!! It really was going to be the last chance to visit this magical valley and say goodbye and thank Mother Nature for letting us visit for so many years and to apologise for mans need for electricity that would result in the flooding of her rivers and drowning of the trees and wildlife to build the hydro dam. This may sound a bit mushy to some of you reading this story, but for those of us who have travelled the jungles of the world, we know that they are magical places and we have to give respect to Mother Nature. The Orang Asli of Malaysia, the North American Indians, the Aboriginals of Australia, the various Tribes and old civilizations knew how to respect the land and learnt to live with it and its creatures. Modern civilizations are sometimes the exact opposite of the word.

Ahtek and Alyna will be coming to England for the first time in July – they are coming especially to visit the LRO Billing Show. Even within the Malaysia Land Rover Club, Billing is know as one of the best Land Rover shows, and there is absolutely nothing like it in Asia. I hope you will get the chance to meet these two amazing Jungle Adventurers.

Me – I’ll be working – perhaps you’ll visit us at the OEC International stand.

Story by Liz Lewis

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XXA1: Comments from Wing Lim

by on May.01, 2009, under XMen Extreme Adventure, XMen Extreme Adventure 1

For the past two years, because of the nature I cant reach the Elephant MudHole. When Alyna told me about this adventure trip, the first thing I did was applied leave.

This adventure trip was impressiveness. We were not a large group and no need to worry about not getting enough of information, no one were left behind. We were respect and took care of each other in the whole trip.

I remember that night, due to Peter quickness we avoided what could turn out a serious accident, Stu Garrow pulled me up from the river bank, Alyna warm hug and fraternal greeting, Satren and kaven who sit in the car worried about us as well.

Due to lack of time we cant reach Elephant MudHole, but we can see each other privity and coorperation during the journey. This is the highest value of ADVENTURE!

I’m looking forward to the next xmen adventure trip. Last but not least, thanks for accompanying me to spend an unforgettable birthday in the forest.

Wing Lim

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XXA1: Elephant Mud Hole Trip by Rod Caldwell

by on May.01, 2009, under XMen Extreme Adventure, XMen Extreme Adventure 1

rod_caldwellAs for this last trip all I can says is that it was a blast. We do not get this kind of hard core adventure trips in Thailand where you have to build bridges, clear land slides and major obstacles.

It was a very fun and interesting trip with a very good mix of fun hard working people, and that’s exactly what you need for that kind of trip, everyone working together and helping each other out and having fun doing it.

For these type of trips or events to be successful you need good leadership (which we had the very best) and you need a good group of people that know what to expect ahead of time and are fully prepared to do what ever it takes to accomplish the mission. (We also had this group of special people)

Although we did not accomplish the mission at hand it was not from the lack of trying, or lack of enthusiasm, every single person did there part as I have never seen before in any event, and it was truly a spectacular effort.

That was my 3rd attempt at getting to the famous elephant mud hole, and I hope to give it another go before it is gone.

I’m looking forward to the next extreme adventure trip, and would like to thank Alyna and Atek for inviting me on this last trip. It was great.

Rod Caldwell (USA – Thailand)

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by on May.01, 2009, under XMen Extreme Adventure, XMen Extreme Adventure 1

KAMPUNG KU (My village in Malay)

vickyThere is many reason why people choose their kampong , for the EMH ( elephant mud hole) 1998 RFC recovery official, there is a special reason we call EMH our 4×4 kampong. Since the discovery of EMH from the Trans Peninsular days many have been there and taken the adventure their own way. RFC 1998 lead scout officials just show the Land Rover recovery team the way leading to EMH. We arrived there after the KLCC flag off on our own adventure and see EMH on foot for the first time. We swear that we will never put our loving Land Rover through EMH, but this did not last long as we need to bring Janda (Alyna first Landy) down EMH and rescue the Yellow elephant( Toyota BJ belongs to late Tan King Ai). Since then I have been to EMH many times. Once i had a very special trip in one of the reccee with 00(world famous). We drove only two Land Rovers. 00 was alone in Janda and me with a co driver in Old man (00 first Land Rover).

We enter from Tasik Kenyir and took escape junction and when all the way pass EMH hill and out back in Tasik Kenyir. It is a trip always fresh in my mind for the adventure we been through together (simple but we made through after five days delayed).

My last visit to EMH is in year 2000 RFC (London bus trip). Some years ago I join the LROM trip to EMH. We manage to get EMH only by foot with our own adventure. There were some new faces on the trip, for them they see the tame part of EMH. Some of the RFC members knows how will the real EMH look will during the monsoon season and also how adventure it would be once a group of 4×4 gone through. On the LROM trip we were lucky to get to EMH. We all very well knows that, there is no promise that you will reach EMH even if you set of with a good team and strong cars. Mother Nature always holds the trump card. So many adventures can be thrown to you.

The Extreme Adventure trip with the X-MEN this year is special one for me. It is very much like a big reunion for me and set of to Kampung Ku. Thank you very much to the organizing team for the great effort. This trip make me relies how much the terrain has change from what I use to know. Lots of campsite stories (some old replay and some new entries). The team which set for this trip is a very strong and ready to take the challenge. In all off road trips team work is a key element. This trip I see a great power in team work, we were all there to have fun and play. Our target is EMH and we tried our level best. All the adventure on this trip was a great fun for me. It is shame that we got to turn back (time factor) not that we were weak and not ready to face the challenge. All in all it was great event, good to catch up with some old and new friends.

My personal happiness is Two Blue were there on the trip, (what a car) wrooooom wrooooom Rover V8 3.5 twin carb power, never turn us down once. I must also say T3 with six wheels is something special too.

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