SUMATRA TRIBUTE 2022 - Re-tracking the Camel Trophy Sumatra 1981 Route
in 1981 Land Rover was first used in camel trophy, the greatest adventure on earth, from 1980 to 2000 the 1600km adventure in Sumatra's tropical rain forest started from Berastagi to Jambi in 5 range rovers professional team of Indonesia4x4Expedition and Indonesia4wdTV who are also members of Land Rover Club Indoneisia try to recreate the trip as a tribute to 40th anniversary Camel Trophy in 2022 after being postponed for 3 times due to the covid19 pandemic, the journey is finally accomplished along with it 40 vehicles and participants from various areas. Indonesia has inherited 4 routes from the previous Camel Trophy event. It is always interesting to explore these routes. I love adventure stamina, long endurance I was there in Jambi when they arrived in 1981 Land Rover is about going on an adventure jungle expeditions going through some of the harshest route at that time 4 times in Indonesia looking for some experience various terrain, from swampy to mountainous areas we bond stronger with each other tough uphill and downhill slopes really cool although you had an injured foot, the off-roading must go on you can feel the team work and togetherness I saw the old movies of camel trophy the legend of camel trophy I have known since long time ago you can imagine how camel trophy in 1981 was like to be part of it, you had to get qualified it is a precious experience, you can't buy it this is the peak of it.. you can say it's the pilgrimage of the land rovers in the world and in indonesia the personnel and the vehicle have to be in top condition if you're not a roverhead or jobless like I am, it is difficult to be a part of this journey don't let Land Rover and Camel Trophy die out.. I'm hoping along with this journey, the legendary Camel Trophy will live forever our +/- 1000 miles journey is about to start the legendary route of the Camel Trophy 1981 few days before, the majority of participants is going overland from Java island to Sumatra island it was around 1 a.m the convoy started crossing from Merak (Banten - West Java) to Bakauheni (Lampung - Sumatra) in Palembang we were welcomed by Land Rover Bedulur and the next day was released by the Governor of South Sumatra to continue our journey heading to the start location in Jambi health Protocol is well applied because we are still in the pandemic situation all of us, participants, officials etc needed to take the test when we arrived in Jambi 6th February 2022 rain hasn't stopped since dawn loading gears and stuffs into the vehicles were done in the rain Alpha Group with all Range Rover type will be released first after that comes Bravo group and other type and then Charlie with Defenders and Discoveries I'm asking Saeful as the Leader of Group Alpha to form a convoy line up, I will be the sweeper whilst settling other matters our starting point is actually the finish location of the camel trophy 1981 flagged off done by the President of IMI (Indonesia Motor Association) and the Government this is a historic moment for all of us Camel Trophy Enthusiasts 4 times held in Indonesia Sumatra 1981 Borneo 1985 Celebes 1988 Kalimantan 1996 17 days ahead of us through 4 provinces Jambi, West Sumatra, Riau and North Sumatra in the beginning of the 1st day, we quickly entered the Offroad section most of the trails are oil palm and mining roads when we cross one of the oil palm plantation, few workers came to us they didn't want us to use that specific route because it was full of mud boggers already from before we came and seems like it was their main route for the oil palm trucks but it is not a problem at all they suggested other alternative route to reach our next way point we are back on our GPS route finally we are about to reach waypoint B-34 no need to be in hurry, take it easy keep in line please keep your GPS on to see where you are now going to B-34 the route was diverged in the oil palm plantation it was something for the 1st day of our journey red dirt and mud was what we had the whole day I don't really fond going in the dark (at night) at night, the route can switch from easy to challenging when it's dark navigating at night in oil palm plantation is not as easy as during the day there are many crossroads and intersections.. It's difficult to notice them in the dark
on our 1st day we drove as far as we can we had target to reach, but we had lots of challenging obstacles and problems along the way we couldn't avoid the delay I remembered the 1st night, we stopped at around midnight at some camp complex I think it was some camp complex for the oil palm workers how many more waypoints in the GPS ahead of us? still too many around 20 more to waypoint B-38 there were 3 oil palm workers we saw we wait for 1 more car to pass and then we push on forward that 1st night we were facing so many mud boggers if you're lucky enough, you can pass in just 1 try but majority got stuck and must winch themselves out broke the shock mount I hope we can continue after fixing this now to the river crossing tomorrow morning that night we were at the front of the convoy although it was late at night we kept on pushing forward to reach the base camp but many of the participants camped next to the boggers because it was very late already and they must be exhausted as well there's no use going on and on until sunrise right? so they decided to camp along side the route that night many of the participants were going individual last night, they didn't care to help the car around them that has resulted in some broken winch, overheated car and other sort of problems so please to all participants, your teamwork is needed every vehicle has to share manpower, every man must share his energy especially when we are facing an obstacle please get all off your recovery kit out starting today until we reach Bangkinang so once again no bad statements shall come out what is important now is to take care of your health and others safety as well recovery, team work and movement trash trash, trash, please do not litter anywhere! so once more, health, safety and environment we need to cooperate start from today just as what the Fion said after the river crossing, the real Sumatra Tribute starts we learnt some lessons from last night we really need to push to work together! those who will not work together will learn the lessons let's not repeat that and let's hope for a better teamwork next day we are now heading to river crossing the village is called Batu Sawar before river crossing the heat was like.. really hot super hot and humid and then we start crossing using a small boat.. one by one the boat is not a proper one either really half proper boat I would say but it was like camel trophy we are now going to cross to give some social service in Batu Sawar it was a personal satisfaction to be able to cross such a big vehicle in such a small boat while waiting for the rest of the convoy to finish the river crossing, we give some social service and donations to the locals especially helping children's education after the river crossing, we see the village was flooded it was quite challenging I don't know where to go because I can't see the road water everywhere yeah, there some poles planted by the officials to mark the way the car had to stick close to the poles if not then it will slip off the submerged wooden bridge the wooden bridge was only 2 planks but after many car has passed the poles were washed away from Batu Sawar we are heading to Bukit Duabelas there were many obstacles long mud ruts, steep slopes in order to reach Muara Bingo the next day, we had to keep moving for 24 hours non-stop this was the hardest journey on the 2nd day we reached Muara Bingo at 9 a.m the next day fortunately, in Swarnadwipa circuit they have complete facility we had the chance to clean up, shower and rest had some sleep too, because we hadn't slept all night touch those tires bump your car onto them we had a Special Task here that night we have Jernang For Life event a social contribution to the native Suku Anak Dalam we donated Jernang (plant) seedling to the Orang Rimba (natives), Jernang is very useful in their daily life and it is also a native plant in the jungle around there whoever is in front of the convoy, please decide whether you're going left or right if you take the right track, please notify the team at the back if Charlie goes right, then Alpha and Bravo must go left which route is tougher? it depends on your fate from Muara Bingo, we headed to Sitiung Border of West Sumatra and Riau I brought all spare parts axles, front propeller shaft, and almost everything! it's like a mobile store making our car very heavy too but in Sitiung my rear propeller shaft twisted twisted and broken into pieces too and we thought out of all parts that we brought only one thing we didn't bring... the rear propeller shaft! small plates and what ever we could find I think we also took the flag pole and cut it and we weld it that's the best we can do in that moment, and we install it back for safety reason my car was towed because it was impossible for me to go up in a hill, alone, with a propeller shaft like that some of the river crossing is actually not a big river but time consuming because the terrain itself and also some vehicle also experiencing problems that night our campsite was separated some camped before the river and some after the river car going up the slant I remember it was around 6 p.m and then the leader of alpha group reminded us that it has passed 5 p.m already
according to the event director's instruction, we have to stop now I was surprised because my car's position is still in the river at least we can get this last car out of the river first my car was just about to winch out of the river it was a very slanted position, it was impossible for me to camp there finally the guys helped my car out and found a campsite about 20-30 meters away from the river when off-roading, where ever you camp as long as your friends are around, it is mostly comfortable especially when the birthday boy is around this is the track as what we've discussed last night we are going to use straps to go down straps to hold the car going down slowly Hendra's car will use the rear winch when we are ditching the river, the car must be attached to the other car at rear using the winch I was scared I also used the hand brake incase the winch line fails I can probably still hold the car a little bit it happened to one of the car, where the line snapped that was ridiculous we were in other river obstacle when all of a sudden I was starting to get some traction and suddenly something snapped and the throttle was gone I notified the guys outside my car the throttle cable snapped and the position was about to go up the slope we do something with it but the car position made it difficult for us to replace the cable we used small strap and I pull it from outside my window creativity and innovation in sticky situation if they can't do that, it will delay the journey much longer when off-roading you need to be smart and creative use your brain I'm adding some power steering liquid when the oil is not enough, it is noisy keep them oiled to silence them we had enough rest last night had shower at the river, some cars also had some repairs according to the event director during the morning briefing the most challenging situation today will be lack of winching points and luckily that morning we had no rain but it doesn't mean easy journey for everyone because there some cars in the group that couldn't be properly repaired due to many factors we reinforced the wooden bridge because one of the plank is about to break we need to use the sand ladder tie it to the plank to reinforce it slowly, slowly not too much power I told you to slowly follow my instruction, please, just listen to me follow my guidance, trust me looks like he snapped either the front or rear axle, he's can't move yeah we have some problem now happened just at the last uphill slope when I shift into the 1st gear and start traction there's a weird clunking sound from underneath the car I guess it's either the front or rear axle now we are going to fix it but first find out where the problem is usually it happens to the right side because it is shorter before entering Ciliandra track we camped at RAPP the river was not very friendly, so nobody showers there it rained all night long so the river is dirty with washed away dirt etc it would be nice if we shower actually the route was nice it was a scenic route we are heading to Lipat Kain Equator Monument took some pictures we find another river.. it's a creek actually little water but enough to make the crossing quite challenging to ditch the river the car had to go around the trees we had to avoid the dense trees this Ciliandra track was actually quite challenging what makes the difference was that most of us have known each other quite well after awhile so we have a good understanding of how we all should work together as a team so the recovery process is real fast compared to the beginning of this journey there are 3 doctors in the convoy the 2 other doctor were in a vehicle that have other crews I was only with Bule, just the 2 of us that means I was also the navigator, as a crew I am doing everything, beside being a doctor it was an extraordinary experience that day we tried to push forward as far as possible before dark hoping that the whole convoy can cross the river bravo team had their turn to be in front of the convoy this day they need to clean up the tracks while the rest are still crossing the river it was quite a work, last time we were here was 2 years ago and no one has ever been using this route, so its reclaimed by the jungle our target today is reaching Bangkinang the natural jacuzzi is waiting for us there what's important now is you're healthy and your car also healthy and your mental also healthy when off-roading in the jungle, it's important to have one dedicated doctor in each group all personnel now let's go up there and see what's coming next it's quite tricky, it took the earlier group awhile going through the obstacle if necessary we will use all of the sand-tracks and ladders move away, move away some dirt got in came in from the side the tire was totally flat now we are cleaning the dirt we will pump it as soon as its ready we reduce the tire pressure when pressure is reduced the tire is deflated and it's easier for dirts to get in when the tire is soft we go in, one back up behind me winch up hill using a snatch block up there and then pull and don't let your tire deflated we are at another river crossing small river but challenging log of woods are everywhere we even had to use 2 tracks on the 1st track, the mud is just too deep 1 car has taken too long already here right under the equator line the heat was just unbearable, so hot many of us were shirtless some also using the river to cool down one of the Freelander had problem around the rear axles we need to help them evacuate but we need to work it out first some welding was needed we tried to do our best to get the car out from that track when you try to repair your car in the jungle, you just don't have all the stuff that you need, so you got to maximize anything we are taking off the propeller shaft now the spring mounts broke off from the axle we went all night long and this morning on 7 a.m we made it out people have different activities while waiting, some like to sing too it's nice, and entertaining too the heat is real! 35 degrees Celsius probably even hotter in condition like this, especially where no trees around there, the heat is just Crazy! it's 11 p.m now we are still working to get the Freelander out we are preparing for tomorrow's journey, Padang lawas 2nd Leg tomorrow we have a long drive hopefully we will made it safely at last we're here! what happened yesterday? we broke our differential 1st Leg ended in Bangkinang. Entering 2nd Leg with a long tarmac drive
long tarmac right? from Bangkinang to Berastagi, is about 600km to Sidikalang we have to go through this all tarmac road the Camel Trophy 1981 went along this very route but the situation now is very different compared to back then because the road now is tarmac it was not my favourite I didn't enjoy it, especially because it was so long we will arrive there most likely at night if our movement is same as yesterday yesterday we had many delays because many cars broken down along the way the next 340 km, the road is bigger there's a shorter way actually through Simalem, Merek but we will not go there, we will go through Sidikalang Sidikalang then Kutacane from there we head to Kabanjahe it was really cold last night 3 layers we're cooking noodles.. it was so cold complete! we had hot and cold weather today we are in Siosar right under Mt. Sinabung around 3 or 4 a.m we were freezing, it was so cold I think the next 2 days we will freeze my axle the cv joints I think it is wearing out from total 37 vehicles only 11 decided to go into the Siosar Forest everyone is getting ready and soon we will have morning briefing with Event Director from Puncak2000 we are heading to Siosar forest the last Offroad section in 2nd Leg many of us decided not to go into the Siosar forest many of them decide to do so because their car need proper repairing Siosar forest is very different to the previous tracks the weather is chilly there and the terrain also different the first obstacle was river crossing it took us a while in this river because going in and out from the river was quite steep also it was full of big and slippery rocks it gets tougher and tougher the deeper you go in I will notify Fion I will let him know that few cars are going to help you get out I'm going to inform him so that he knows what's going on at the back crazy, the ants are everywhere we are trying to get this car out, back tracked we managed to cross but we crossed back again to return to the previous basecamp the car had problems in the 4wd system and the winch is getting weak as well thanks to the Sumatra Tribute friends this is the real brotherhood of Land Rover going solo in this track is not recommended we all have gone pass the ridge our target today, we have to reach Bukit Kubu by 1 p.m
please inform to Haji Minto that if he's going to go solo here, it is risky but if haji Minto can contact Dian and Alex, he can get a clearer picture of the track as long as it's not raining, technically it can be done he can go in and meet Alex and the last 3 cars Charlie group, please gather for a briefing, we're almost done here, lets enjoy the rest of the trip last day in Siosar forest but its not that easy, winching all the way until the end of the track the soil here is wet and slippery once we're done winching, we find another winching point up up and up, never-ending uphill slopes Jelatang leaves, you find them in the jungle it burns like fire this taro stem is the cure how many river we passed? there were 2 rivers back there 1 more to go and 3 more V gulley cool right? real cool we were in an obstacle I got carried away there was a weird sound abnormal sound we stopped and check what's wrong the camshaft broke, we replaced it and it's all good now bring lots of spare parts good weather, elevation varies from 1500 - 2000 m still craving for more but.. we are very happy and I think it's enough it's the 3rd week now already Wisma Bukit Kubu is place where the home base of Camel trophy 1981 they stayed couple of nights there before starting the journey a journey to Jambi we met mr. Sebangun a guy who works as a front office in Bukit Kubu also met mr Alex who was one of the son of the hotel owner Sebangun told us many stories as we entered the hotel area we showed him all type of Land Rover that we had and he directly pointed to the Range Rover classic that proved that he witnessed the start of camel trophy 1981 I remember now, I'm so moved, I'm happy, I remember when I was young then faces came up just now I'm remembering all of them in this lobby, it was here that we gather they all parked along here the gathering was there while majority of us were safe and sound at the hotel there was still a group who just came out from the forest late that night the weather was spot on.
not too cold, not hot in Sumatra, we know that the mighty lake Toba is there we know that camel trophy 1981 didn't pass through lake Toba nowadays Toba has been one of the main tourist destination in indonesia for that we are in cooperation with ministry of tourism, Disbudpar North Sumatra and BODT thank you for all your support, we are committed to make something we made a special task called Toba Geotag Challenge everyone involved in Sumatra Tribute must visit 16 geosites and other point of interest around Toba and Samosir capture moments and stories to be uploaded onto their social media and this has become one of the most interesting special task it has become the character of Tribute to Camel Trophy we in Indonesia have to bring out the tourism potential to be exposed to the world this activity is not just about one community but from one community for the world for all camel trophy enthusiasts for all explorers this is an extraordinary phenomena it was a super volcano erupted the crater has now become this Lake Toba we are here now from geology point of view it extraordinary the eruption has affected the earth