Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Memories of Lanun Darats past ...

I feel sad. Not because of anything bad, but because of so many good memories, so it is a good kind of sad. 
Nearly 17 years have elapsed since I first became a part of the Ford 4X4 Adventure Team, more popularly known as "Lanun Darat" (that would be "Land Pirates" when translated from Bahasa Malaysia into English).
Along the way, I have made many friends, many of whom are still my closest buddies to this day. I have learned much about 4X4s, how to operate them, how to look after them, and how to enjoy them. 
Over those years, I have been on more than 30 expeditions with the Lanun Darat family, including several offshoots in Cambodia, and I have been privileged to have led the latest one in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on 7-8 February, 2015.
It was a resounding success (even if I do say so myself), judging by the participants' happy faces after a day of light offroading in scenic Kiulu and Tamparuli before gathering on beautiful Dalit beach for a gorgeous sunset BBQ dinner and a great night's rest at the luxurious Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort. 
And followed by more 4X4 action the next day at the sight of the Borneo Safari 2014 Prologue Special Stages in nearby Sepangar.
But, amidst all the happy moments, a tinge of sadness because this was to be the last Lanun Darat. Ever. No more.
Representatives from Ford's Malaysian distributor, Sime Darby Auto Connexion, made the announcement just before the flag-off. There would be other events for customers in future, they said, such as Ford's Driving Skills For Life, but no more Lanun Darat. 
Times have changed, and certainly much has changed in the automotive industry in the years since 1999. 
The future will come soon enough, and it is not my intention to do any crystal ball gazing. Instead, I want to look back at the wonderful times I had over the years, and share some of the hundreds of photos documenting those happy Lanun Darat moments.