Starting eight years ago primarily as an off-road motorcycle enduro challenge between a group of dirt bikers, Rimba Raid has grown into Malaysia’s, and some say ASEAN’s, largest enduro race. For those who have never heard of this event, the 2019 Givi Rimba Raid is an off-road motorcycle race for dual-purpose/adventure bikes, which this year saw a field of 150 riders – capped simply because there wasn’t enough space to hold any more racers – spread across three classes.

Divided into ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ classes depending on type of motorcycle and engine capacity, there were two categories in each class, ‘pro’ and ‘novice’. A multinational field participated in Givi Rimba Raid this year, drawing entrants not just from ASEAN, but 16 nations as far away as the Americas and Europe, including Givi rider and Dakar Rally racer Jeremias Israel, who hails from Chile.

This year’s course was halved from last year’s Givi Rimba Raid in Mat Daling, 120 km to 60 km, but the race route was not easy. If anything, it was more challenging, including a section known as “Green Hell”, which in the words of Malaysian racer Gabit, speaking to paultan.org in a telephone interview after the race, “this has to be one of the hardest races I’ve entered. The Green Hell was hell.”

Challenges included several river crossings, each more difficult than the last and severe hill climbs with the route rutted and split by flowing water. The difficulty was compounded by a surface made slick by constant rain over the previous week with an entire hill climb becoming a river of mud.

In fact, out of the 150 entrants who started the race, only 47 managed to complete the course with the rest giving up or suffering mechanical failure. This was the fate of Israel, seen as a prime challenger to Gabit, who had the misfortune of a race mishap causing a DNF.

The 2019 Givi Rimba Raid was won by Muhamad Habibullah Mohd Saleh, better known to fans as Gabit, successfully defending his 2018 Givi Rimba Raid title on a KTM Adventure 1050 with a time of 48’40”. In second place was Wong Chun Hing, known in Malaysian riding circles as Bee Wong, with a time of 50’37” while his sibling Wong Chun Fah come in third 28’39” behind.

In class B, Shamsul Azhar Abu Hazim won the race in a time of 1h 04’31” followed by Wan Nor Fahmy Wan Nashar and Iskandar Rabu with times of 1h 12’44” and 1h 36’56” respectively. Brothers Muhammad Hazlami Mustapha Kamal and Muhammad Hazzim Mustapha Kamal come in first and second in class C with a time of 56’55” and 57’28” while Muhamat Hairy Muhamat Omar Zuki was third with a time of 59’09”.

All timing was verified by transponders attached to each bike and racers were flagged off in time trial fashion with a gap of about 15 seconds between riders. The Givi Rimba Raid this year ran through a forest reserve adjacent to Janda Baik, Pahang with permission from relevant authorities on the proviso conditions along the route would be returned to ‘as before’ condition within six months.

Aside from the efforts of race organisers led by Captain Nik Huzlan and title sponsor Givi, a mention should be given to the untiring efforts of the organising crew, course marshals, medical staff and spectators, who helped racers who were injured, stuck and/or too tired to continue. paultan.org’s Durrani Shahrom rode the course in its entirety to bring you the gallery of photos below.