The Taprobana 4x4 Challenge will be held for the seventh consecutive year from 15 to 21 October 2010. This annual 4x4 event gained momentum after last year’s championship programme enabled the top three Sri Lankan teams to compete in the International ‘Rain Forest Challenge’ in Malaysia.
This event was supported by Neomal Perera, which gave Government assistance to elevate the event to international standards.
The Four Wheel Drive Club (FWDC) has successfully organised the event annually for the past seven years and has been able to represent the Sri Lankan presence in the international arena. In the recent past, the event has attracted foreign participation for this niche adventure sport where Sri Lanka has the natural terrain for. Following are some achievements of the Sri Lankan 4x4 teams in the international arena;
• 2006 – Rain Forest Challenge, Keddah Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Indika Sanjaya/Naveen Marapana Second Electric Winch Category
• 2006 – Rain Forest Challenge, Keddah Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Osanda Maligaspe/Malith Kannagara – Most unique 4x4
• 2007 – Rain Forest Challenge, Terenganu Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Indika Sanjaya/Naveen Marapana – Second Diesel Category
• 2008 – Rain Forest Challenge, Terenganu Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Sean Hameed/Rushiran Silva – 11th Overall
• 2009 – Parla Challenge Chennai, India – Sri Lanka – Sean Hameed/Darshan Maralanda – First Best Performing 4x4
• 2009 – China Sanya International 4x4 Challenge, China – Sri Lanka – Sean Hameed/Rushiran Silva – Seventh Overall/Second Electric Winch
• 2009 – Rain Forest Challenge, Johor Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Indika Sanjaya/Naveen Marapana – Third Overall
• 2009 – Rain Forest Challenge, Johor Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Indika Sanjaya/Naveen Marapana – Winner Electric Winch/Diesel
• 2009 – Rain Forest Challenge, Johor Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Raveendra Rathnasiri/Harsha Kumara – 12th Overall
• 2009 – Rain Forest Challenge, Johor Malaysia – Sri Lanka – Suresh Chathuranga/Raveendra Sanjeewa – 18th Overall
• 2010 – Parla Challenge, Chennai, India – Sri Lanka – Team Indo Lanka – Sean Hameed/Ushantha Keerthisinghe, Basker Keshavalu (Bangalore)/Prashan Wijenayake, Zubin Shahul (Cochin)/Tariq Abiden – Second Overall
• 2010 – China Sanya International 4x4 Challenge, Sanya, China – Sri Lanka – Sean Hameed/Warner Oorloff Third Electric Winch/Team Spirit Award
Sean Hameed, Event Director of the Four Wheel Drive Club together with the FWDC Committee, put together a 4x4 Championship Programme in 2009, and within the allocated budget, Sri Lanka for the first time in motor racing history shipped the podium winners of the Taprobana 4x4 Challenge – 2009 to participate in the largest internationally represented 4x4 event in Malaysia. The International Rainforest Challenge was held in Johor from 5 to 14 December 2009.
The Sri Lankan presence in the International 4x4 area has got the attention of the Rain Forest Challenge (RFC) Chief Luis J.A. Wee who visited Sri Lanka in 2009 for the Championship inauguration. From this year on, the Taprobana 4x4 Challenge will be part of the International 4x4 Calendar.
The RFC Chief Organiser will be in Sri Lanka for this year’s event together with five senior officials to conduct the event, giving it the official endorsement to be part of the International RFC circuit. Luis J.A. Wee, founder (since 1997) and creator of RFC, has won the Top Ten Tourism event award by Tourism Malaysia.
Zawalan Razak – Senior RFC Marshal, since 1997. Event Advisor for RFC – Malaysia, Event Scoring and Results come under his purview. He is from Terenganu Malaysia, which has the ultimate 4x4 terrains in Malaysia.
Siddik Khan – Member of Camel Trophy Team. Has been part of RFC since 1997.
Jeremy Teh – RFC Event HQ Manager since 1997. He’s an active member of the “Jeep Club” in Malaysia and is from Kaula Lumpur who posses vast experience in Convoy Management in the most demanding situations.
Low Chee Kai – RFC Marshal Johor.
Azizuddin Adnan – RFC Marshal.
Stiven Sim – Top Organiser of 4x4 events & expeditions. Trans-Peninsular 1994 (TransPen). Trans-Peninsular 1994: Inner Mongolia Expedition-1996. Teaching Academy for 4WD Club in HK 1998. Malaysian Representative for World 4x4 Council. Organising Committee and Participant – Petronas Passage to Tibet in 1999. Petronas Indochina 2000. Petronas Silk Road Adventure 2001.
Foreign media attending Taprobana 4x4 Challenge
Ruddiee Khaw is a renowned photographer from Penang with more than 20 years of experience in the world of photography. Appointed as the Brand Ambassador and Official Photographer of Canon, Ruddiee and shares his life experiences as a photojournalist and photography tips with many, across Malaysia and Asia.
Being a passionate outdoor enthusiast allows him to take some of the most stunning shots of nature; from beautiful landscapes, insect close ups, animals, plants and skies. Motor sports runs in his blood, being a competitive 4x4 driver himself gave him the advantage of knowing what and when to capture the best moments in motor sports. Ruddiee will also be one of the Judges for the Amateur Action Photographer competition sponsored by Cannon Sri Lanka.
Elizabeth Lewis is a freelance journalist from the UK and was involved with the RFC for 10 years from 1998-2007 as both Press Manager and twice as Competition Secretary working with the Organising Team. Elizabeth has also been participating in off road 4x4 motorsport for 24 years covering speed safaris, navigation competitions, road rallies to winch challenges. Liz Lewis as she is known publishes articles for Land Rover Owner International Magazine and Auto India Magazines and is looking forward to report on the Taprobana 4x4 Challenge in order to step into the international spotlight.
Kaushik Mahadev from Chennai will cover the event for Jeep Thrills India where action video footage will be edited for 4x4 programmes in India. During 2009, Kaushik was in Puttalam and Kalpitiya with the Indian Team for the Taprobana 4x4 Challenge 2009 as their media representative.