Kota Kinabalu, Sabah to Kuching, Sarawak, 2nd to 12th November 2017 – The KTM Malaysia Owners Group (KMOG) organized their annual adventure ride on the above dates, travelling between the two state capitals, including through the sultanate of Brunei. Hence, the ride was named the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 (KBR 2017).
KMOG organized with the event and logistics with full assistance from KTM Malaysia.
However, instead of travelling directly from Kota Kinabalu to Kuching along the coastal road, the ride covered the length and breadth of Sabah before continuing along the coast.
Day 1, 2nd November 2017 – Palace Hotel, Kota Kinabalu
Day 1 was reserved as the day when participants arrived from all over the country. Their motorcycles had been shipped from Port Klang, but a freak storm caused high seas, preventing the ship from docking.
However, the welcome dinner and briefing was still held that evening, where the KMOG members reacquainted themselves and broke the ice with those who they have never met.
The President of KMOG, Ong Soo Yong briefed the participants on the itinerary of the entire program, what to expect, and what dangers may lay ahead.
Most of the KMOG Committee Members and KTM Malaysia crew stayed up until 3am the next morning, awaiting the news on the arrival of the bikes.
Day 2, 3rd November 2017 – Kota Kinabalu – Tip of Borneo, and Kota Kinabalu – Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa, Kundasang (92.6 km)
The bikes have not arrived by 9am but KMOG and KTM decided to carry on with the program by chartering a bus which ferried the participants to the Tip of Borneo. As the name suggests, the Tip of Borneo is the northern-most point of the Borneo island. Here, the visitors enjoyed a great view of the South China Sea and strong breeze coming off the ocean. The group got back on the bus for lunch and headed back to the Palace Hotel in Kota Kinabalu.
The containers with the bikes have arrived by the time the bus reached the hotel and the participants proceeded to gear up, load up and check out for a night right to the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa in Kundasang, 92.6 km away. The convoy got going after a short safety briefing.
The group rode in a tight formation and arrived safely at the resort in Kundasang at 11pm. Being all dark, they just enjoyed the cool night air.
Day 3, 4th November 2017 – Kundasang – Sabah Hotel, Sandakan (240 km)
The ride started at 7am as there were a few stops slated along the way. But by then, a few participants had woken much earlier and went to explore the areas around the resort, which was situated at the base of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s tallest mountain.
Riding through the Ranau district was tough as the roads were deformed by the 2015 earthquake.
First stop was at the Sabah Tea plantation where participants enjoyed the great view while drinking a cup of Sabah tea.
Back on the road, the convoy headed to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sepilok where they had lunch and visited the orangutan sanctuary.
From there it was straight to Sandakan for dinner and an early night.
Day 4, 5th November 2017 – Sandakan – Tawau – Perkasa Hotel ,Keningau (662 km)
This was the toughest day of the entire ride.
The convoy started early in the morning and headed south to Tawau for lunch. The group made good time and arrived well ahead of lunchtime. Unfortunately, one of the bikes picked up a puncture which needed to be sorted out by a big motorcycle shop.
Once done, the group headed out of Tawau and was hit by a heavy rainstorm. The convoy stopped for the participants to don their rainsuits and continued soon after to the small town of Kalabakan for the KTM 990R Adventures to fill up.
From there it was a straight ride to Keningau, accompanied by occasional heavy rain besides encountering bad roads damaged by logging trucks. There were certain sections where the bikes had to travel through mud and gravel.
There was a slight mishap along the way when a 1290 Adventure S went off the road. Rider was fine as was the bike.
The rain slowed the convoy down further, causing the convoy to reach Keningau after dark. We are happy to report that none of the bikes broke down or suffered any major damage.
Day 5, 6th November 2017 – Keningau – Kuala Penyu –Menumbok Ferry Terminal – Billion Waterfront, Labuan (173 km)
The KBR 2017 left the hotel later than planned as the participants wanted to rest after the previous day’s marathon ride and headed over the Crocker Range.
The Crocker Range is a must-go destination for every biker as it features beautiful mountain roads with plenty of corners.
The group descended from the mountains and rode straight to Kuala Penyu for lunch at a prominent state exco’s home, which included traditional delicacies such as the sago tree larvae called butod that resembled giant maggots.
The convoy proceeded to the Menumbok Ferry Terminal afterwards to transfer to the Labuan island.
Dato’ Chia joined the group here, while Mr. Alex Copelli bid farewell as he returned to Singapore.
Day 6, 7th November 2017 – Billion Waterfront, Labuan
Labuan is considered as the break for the first leg of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017. Participants were given a free-and-easy day off from riding and to allow them the opportunity to catch up on what couldn’t be done for the last five days since they left Kota Kinabalu.
Most took the chance to do their laundry and visit sites around the island.
The KTM crew used the downtime to perform checks on the motorcycles and fixed problems they encountered.
Day 7, 8th November 2017 – Labuan – Orchid Garden Hotel, Brunei (320 km)
It was a new experience for almost every participant to ride into the kingdom of Brunei.
The laws in Brunei are completely different from Malaysia’s, for example, needing to travel in and out of immigration eight times as there is a piece of Sarawak sandwiched between the two sides of Brunei.
The ride also marks the first time it has crossed out of Sabah and into Sarawak.
Day 8, 9th November 2017 – Brunei – Miri Marriott Hotel (159 km)
Riding out of Brunei took longer than it would be in Malaysia as the speed limit of 100 km/h was strictly enforced.
The convoy stopped at a famous landmark in Brunei and was escorted by the country’s biggest motorcycle club.
Day 9, 10th November 2017 – Miri Marriott Hotel
Another free and easy day without group riding for the participants to enjoy Miri and relax.
Day 10, 11th November 2017 – Miri – RH Hotel, Sibu (416 km)
Apart from Day 4, the weather had been kind to the participants of the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017, until today.
It rained on the convoy most of the way to Sibu, in effect slowing the convoy down. As such, the group arrived in Sibu in the late evening during rush hour and was caught in heavy traffic. There was no way around it as the hotel was situated right in the middle of the city.
The participants rested early for tomorrow’s journey.
Day 11, 12th November 2017 – Miri – Grand Margarita Hotel, Kuching (403 km)
This was the last day of riding as the KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 was nearing its end. But the road from Miri to Kuching was in bad condition, making the trip feel far.
The main challenged on this last day was targeting fuel consumption and balance, in order to empty the fuel tanks before being loaded into the shipping containers, for the trip back to West Malaysia.
The participants rode their bikes straight to the port and loaded the bikes as one big family. With that done, they headed to the hotel, reaching there at 7pm for the last dinner.
Day 12, 13th November 2017 – Grand Margarita Hotel, Kuching
The participants bid each other farewell as they headed back to their respective destinations.
The KMOG Borneo Ride 2017 has been a memorable and enjoyable ride, allowing everyone to experience Borneo and whatever was in between Malaysia’s largest states.
Just as important, no one got seriously hurt and all KTM motorcycles survived the trip intact.