One of the common misconceptions about car clubs and car meets is that they are participated by youngsters in their modified cars and ends with a drag race at the end of the night. However, don’t let one rotten apple spoil the whole bunch as some respectable car clubs are simply car enthusiasts gather to share their passion.
Car clubs come in many shapes and sizes. There are larger groups that umbrella over a brand such as the Ford Owners Club Malaysia and there are model specific groups such as the Malaysia Ford Ranger Club (MFRC). Both clubs are not funded or managed by Sime Darby Auto Connexion but they maintain a close relationship with Ford’s sole distributor in Malaysia.
Besides sharing the passion for the brand, car clubs are also a good source of information for maintenance and modification of your vehicle. On top of that, having a mutual interest serves as a good foundation to foster new friendships. To experience the energy, vibe, and what goes on at a car meet, MFRC has kindly invited me to join them for their Mega Gathering 2016 drive to AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort happened last month.
It was an early morning for the rangers as traffic briefing at the rendezvous point happens at 7.30 am before flagging off at 8.00 am sharp. I suppose this will be one of those rare moments that Jalan Dagang, Sepang (an empty stretch of tarmac leading to a dead end) will ever be crowded by more than 200 vehicles. Owners from far north of Penang to far south of Johor Baharu gathered here to spend a weekend of fun-filled activities with friends that share a common passion whom they would otherwise would not have met in person if it wasn’t for this MFRC Mega Gathering 2016.
Fortunately for the participants, the organisers have reached out to the traffic law enforcers to assist with the coordination of the drive. Truth to be told, with 215 Ford Rangers in a convoy, getting some form of support from relevant authorities is a sensible choice to make, plus it adds some flare to the whole event. After the safety precautions were conveyed to all the drivers, it’s time to depart for AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort.
Thanks to MFRC’s official fuel partner, Shell, participants filled up their respective vehicles with Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5. The 33km journey to the resort with a mix of highway stretch and scenic B-roads will give first time users of Shell Euro 5 diesel to experience not only the benefits of a Euro 5 grade diesel but also the Active Efficiency Ingredients that helps improve engine and fuel efficiency.
In a single file formation, we set off at a pace set by the leading officer. With Ford Rangers of different generations, colours, and trims driving together in an organised manner, the Hyundai Sime Darby Tucson media car I was piloting stood out like a sore thumb. Well, at least both brands are under Sime Darby’s management.
The hour-long journey was relaxed and smooth thanks to the responsible driving style of the MFRC members. When passing the local villages, MFRC members were extra considerate as to not disturb the local community by driving sedately through the village without causing a commotion. The Ford Rangers also did not leave a heavy carbon footprint thanks to the ultra-low sulphur content of Shell’s Euro 5 diesel (10 parts per million) which significantly reduces the black smoke from the exhaust.
Upon arriving at AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort, the carpark was immediately filled with Ford Rangers all lined up in an orderly manner. Participants temporarily adjourn to the family park of the resort to participate in activities such as go-kart, archery range, paintball target, and ATV experience among others. Some decided to put on their tourist hat and set off on a hunt for the best local delicacies the town of Bagan Lalang has to offer.
At the family park, I realise that the friendship built upon a shared passion goes far beyond just cars. Folks from different race, religion, and gender were spending their afternoon together in good fun and harmony, depicting the true colours of the multicultural melting pot that keeps our nation together as one. Who says car clubs are just a bunch of men with their fast toys?
As we approach lunch time, the gathering was graced by the presence of VIPs to express their gratitude to MFRC for choosing Sepang as their destination of choice for an event of this scale. Royal Family representative YDM Tengku Dato’ Dr Jamaluddin bin Tengku Mahmud Shah Al-Haj D.S.I.S., J.P., Orang Besar Daerah Sepang, Orang Kaya Maha Bijaya and Sepang district leader, Tuan Muhamad Azaarin bin Alias took the opportunity to share the history and places of interest with everyone present.
Unfortunately, I was unable to stay on with the fine people of MFRC throughout the weekend. Hearing stories from the organisers, they had a delightful weekend getaway with their families and fellow club members as they put up a night at AVANI Sepang Goldcoast Resort. Lucky draw prizes ranging from premium shock absorbers to car coating packages were also given out to lucky individuals.
This experience has opened my eyes to the true nature of a car club. It’s not only to meet like-minded enthusiasts but also to be part of a community that supports and appreciates the burning passion you have for cars., ultimately providing a sense of belongingness in this less than ideal world. Car clubs, give it a try.