What’s the Adventure?
I’m in Malaysia at the invitation of local Land Rover obsessive and off-road mogul, Rambo Liew. I’m here to tag along with the recovery crew of a five-day, 14-vehicle Defender expedition through the rainforest – the daring culmination of an intense off-road training programme that Rambo and his team have been co-ordinating in China for members of the Hong Kong Land Rover Club.
We first meet our fellow expeditioners at the Sepang International Circuit, where a row of Defenders is gleaming in the sun. They range from well-used Tdis to fully kitted TDCi 110s, and I’m amazed to see two modified SVX limited edition 90s among their ranks.
Greeting us warmly from under a floppy hat is Egor, lead instructor with Land Rover Experience in Moscow, with whom I’ll be sharing Rambo’s own Sandglow Yellow Tdi 110 for the next five days. Introductions over, we exit the circuit in a triumphant procession.
Our Favourite Bit?
‘Want some coffee?’ says an unseasonably cheery Egor. Good plan. We chat with the back-up crew until the cars ahead finally make it through, and it’s Egor’s turn at the wheel. Memorising the terrain ahead, he whacks the lights to full and gives it the beans. The 110 roars into a ditch but Egor is unfazed and maintains his momentum, crashing and lurching up the hill, refusing to relent. It’s awesome to witness, and I’m falling in love with the Land Rover Defender all over again.
Making it out alive
The driver of the first 110 to attempt the return river crossing miscalculates, flooding his air intake and drowning his engine. It, along with the SVX 90, will need to be towed back to Kuala Lumpur. Learning from his mistake, the rest of us allow the winches to do the work, and we make it slowly across. It’s high box from here on. Red earth gives way to a white bulldust. One TDCi 110 announces a transfer box fault with a grisly clonking noise. Removing the front prop lets it continue in two-wheel drive – no trouble thankfully, and with some sadness we reach the highway.
A triumphant dinner awaits us back in Kuala Lumpur, where we’re relieved to hear that Ah Seng and his rear guard have made it safely home. It’s been a spectacular adventure and the team and their Defenders have performed with a heroism that’s hard to match. Experiences like this live long in the memory.
The full story can be found in the September 2015 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.