10/24/17

GT-Rally 2017 Highlights Leg 1




5 A.M. whilst everyone was tucked under their blanket dreaming, the small group of us was about to start making a dream to become reality. SGRetroCAR GT-Rally 2017 was a charity drive from Singapore to Phuket and back, where we brought toys, books and charitable supplies to 2 orphanage centers in South Thailand.


We started off with a quick pre drive check, briefing, and set off towards to checkpoint, with just a pre-morning rush hour 30 minute jam.



It wasn't uneventful though as one of the participants took the wrong exit and found himself turning back into Singapore!



The convoy was delayed but promptly formed up and proceeded towards the NS highway without delay.

1st Stop was Sepang Auto Museum where we were greeted by an array of classic cars, TD and Bufori cars (nostalgic looking modern cars made in Malaysia)

The convoy then made our way to Klang where we had a greet chat with Jeff Chew Works Mini Garage, a championship winning wokshop. However, the Toyota BJ was bogged with a puncture while on our way there, and he had to stop by at another shop for tyre repair.

Ending the day's trip at Shah Alam Pegasus Hotel, bad news was the Toyota wasn't able to continue further due to tire size unavailable and the car had a bent lower arm! What a way to end Day 1.



From Shah Alam the convoy fueled up and headed towards Ipoh, where we stopped by to Concubine lane for shopping and to visit Dream Big World Model Cars Museum.



Digging in to local food and stocking up their local produce!





Whilst making the homerun towards Alor Setar for our rest on Day 2, another incident happened, whereby our support mechanic cum participant in the Toyota Starlet overshot the R&R. His phone battery was flat and he was just driving blindly with no directions!

 
Nevertheless the convoy managed to "search and rescue" him after an hour and half.


Checked in to Holiday Villa Alor Setar who was one of our event sponsors and all of us were greeted by welcome drinks, sumptuous dinner and free room upgrade!



Long day ahead as we started day 3 with dark skies and heavy rain.



Headed towards Sadao border braved the 3 hours queue and documentations and we were in Thailand!



Promptly drove towards Makro Hatyai for lunch while organisers went on to purchase and load up the charitable supplies.

We visited S.O.S Children's village Hatyai. The mood was sobering as we met with more than 30 Orphans whose ages span from 5 till 16, who were formerly abused, abandoned, loss of parents and due to criminal offences by parents.


Made our way towards Trang, Pak Meng Beach, and that's when the series of trouble started on the mini clubman. Started with just a rattling sound and wobbling steering wheel at high speeds, it soon became louder and alarming. While trying to check on the issue, a cloth decided to get chewed on the electrical radiator fan and the fan blade hub disintegrated, leaving the limp mini without an electric radiator fan. Just 2km later, the problem surfaced itself when the front left wheel dislodged itself from the driveshaft, leaving the car in "neutral" even it was in gear. All due to a missing split pin on the wheel hub crown nut. Roadside repair at  night was dangerous but car was back and running again after a 3 hour recovery.


Ended the day at Trang with an awesome BBQ seafood dinner by the beach.

As if the morning sea breeze and soft whooshing of the waves to greet the morning wasn't enough, we had luxury of dining breakfast on the beach with breathtaking view of the Andaman Sea! As usual morning pre checks and move off towards Phang Nga where Baan Santisuk, the 2nd orphanage center was. Went Makro Krabi to purchase the charitable supplies, and then we headed to Phang Nga,  north of Phuket to visit the orphanage. This time, there were more than 50 Children that greeted us.

They were so happy and delighted on our arrival and when we were off loading the toys, books and food supplies to their holding area, their faces were gleaming with joy indescribable with words. We were brought around to tour the premises by a volunteer caretaker from USA.

We had to bid farewell to them as we ploughed to Phuket. The traffic gets heavier and night life gets livelier as we near Patong beach ,where we checked in to TONY Resort for our well deserved 3D2N Holiday at Phuket!


Well of course since we have gotten to Phuket might as well check out some of their local classic car shops!




Night cruise around Patong Beach area and of course some night life is a definite when it comes to Phuket!



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