Green Offroad Lembata 2013 challenges the rough tracks on remote Lembata island

Monday, 11 November 2013 | 1884

The Green Offroad Lembata 2013 challenge is solid proof that a combination between an automotive sporting event and tourism can be an ideal fusion. Ongoing from 19th October to 2nd November 2013, and featuring a series of activities, the event is held on the charming small island of Lembata, located at the east-most tip of the island of Flores in East Nusatenggara. Lembata is otherwise better known as the island where its indigenous inhabitants hold traditional whalehunts standing on fragile boats, using simple spears.

The Offroad car races took place on Tuesday, 22nd October 2013 using the Black Stone Circle at the beautiful Wolor Pass Hills. Facing the Lewoleba Bay, the circuit offers magnificent views of hills and mountain ridges complemented by astonishing coastal lines. Adding to the wonders of the spectacle is the breathtaking sunset on the edge of the horizon.

The races were divided into three categories: the Speed Offroad, Extreme Offroad, and Adventure Offroad. Each containing different challenges including steep rocky descending and ascending tracks, mud pits, and other obstacles. The circuit was designed by Rony Sukarsono from IOF Bali and took three days to create.

Each contestant (drivers and navigators) must master the skills needed to control the four wheeled vehicles across rough terrains so they don't stray from the course and record the best time. Special techniques such as engine braking and the use of low range 4x4 gear ratio were among some of the skills needed for the race. Drivers and navigators also needed to make sure that their vehicles were in good condition and have proper equipment.

Driving offroad is certainly very different from your daily drive in the city. Drivers need to assess and analyze the condition and every obstacle of the course. Drivers and navigators must truly become one with their vehicles. This is why offroad driving is often described as an activity that combines technical skills with a touch of art.Roy Sukarsono explained that offroad activities already attract a huge number of fans in the country. Almost all provinces have their own communities and associations.

Timor Leste's Offroad Aming Chan emerged as Champion for the Extreme Offroad category followed by Alexander Jong (also from Timor Leste) as runner up. The third place went to Johny Pol who represented Lembata. A touch of humanity occurred as the winners donated part of their prize to the tourism village of Leuwayan, Lewolein, and Pasir Putuh Mingar. Totaling IDR45 million, the donated prize money willbe used to buy school equipment and tourist facilities.

The Timor Leste's offroaders, led by Secretary General of Timor Leste's Ministry of Youth and Sport who is also Head of Timor Leste's FATIL, mentioned that their participation in the event was aimed to strengthen cooperation between Timor Leste and Lembata, Indonesia, in the years to come. It is expected that the Green Offroad Lembata race will open possibilities for other kinds of cooperation between the two neighbouring countries, including in the field of tourism and the fishing industry.