Need government support to spread RFC in India: Founder Wee

Panaji, July 30 (IANS) After two successful seasons in India, Rainforest Challenge (RFC) founder Luis J.A. Wee said he is looking forward to government support to spread the off-roading motorsport event to other parts of the country, adding that he ranks RFC India among the top three in the world.

“We can have RFC in other cities as well. Most important is government support with which we can hold it anywhere and people will get to experience it live. If I am to rate RFC India, among the other RFCs in the world, India would be in top three, considering it is doing so well,” Wee told IANS.

Started by Wee in Malaysia in 1997, the RFC has previously been held in Italy, Russia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tunisia, China and Australia. Malaysia is considered to be the mother event which is held every December.

The second season of RFC India is being held from July 25 to 31 in different parts of Goa. Twenty three teams from across the country, including two from Goa, are competing for the trophy.

Participating teams, each with a driver and co-driver, have to fight rain, mud, steep slippery slopes, deep ruts, gullies, flooded rivers and landslides to earn points for the win. They have to compete in 24 Special Stages (SS) which are divided into — Prologue, Predator, Terminator and Twilight.

“I wanted to bring 4X4 All-Terrain Vehicles from around the world for people to enjoy in one place in Malaysia. This is how I started RFC,” Wee said.

Speaking about RFC coming to India, the Malaysian said, “It came to India after Ashish Gupta (director of Cougar Motorsport, the organiser of the event), came to Malaysia in 2013. He participated in the event in Malaysia and in December we met up and decided to bring the event to India.

“We selected Goa because the south-west monsoon is around this time. So it’s ideal during the monsoons to have it in Goa. The conditions are wet, muddy and it’s perfect time to play off-road; make it tougher and competitive.”

Wee explained that RFC is one of the toughest motorsport events in the world.

“RFC is tough compared to other sports because of it’s mental and physical strength. The drivers do that in water, rain, mud. So you are wet all the time plus you need to drive. Then you are camping at night and in the morning you race again,” he said.

“This really tests your endurance, mental and physical. In the Malaysia event, it happens for 10 days. It’s a test of man and machine in difficult environment. RFC is expanding to all parts of the world. Next we will move to Portugal, South America, North America, Central Europe.”

Asked about the level of Indian drivers, Wee said, “They are coping very well with the challenges. In India you already have a base for off-roading. They know how to drive off-road. Here it is more extreme but they are ready to face it.

“Their learning curve is very fast. But you got to upgrade the software, that’s it. Gurmeet Virdi, Kabir Waraich are two Indian drivers who are very good and are ready to challenge the top drivers in RFC,” Wee said.

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