It was a historically significant moment for the launch of the International Fire X Ride Eco Challenge 2017 that took place at the Dataran Keris (Keris Square) in Alor Gajah, Melaka last year. Total participation recorded 2,113 cyclists for the Jamboree and Eco Challenge Epic categories and the achievement of Malaysia Book of Records for the “Longest Mountain Bike Off Road Track for 120 Kilometers”.
This year marks the eighth anniversary for Fire X Ride. It is amazing to think that almost a decade has passed since a group of cycling enthusiasts galvanized it into action. One of the biggest and mountain biking jamboree in Malaysia, we have been dazed and overwhelmed by its achievement and manoeuvre in the community.
Organized by Cycle X MTB Club and supported by Majlis Perbandaran Alor Gajah (Municipal Council of Alor Gajah), Fire X Ride has been a mightily epic journey for the past eight years.
Cycle X MTB Club’s eight years of determination and passion in making the compelling Fire X Ride a leading light has vastly impelled us. As the cycling community has evolved, so has Cycle X MTB Club. We had a cherished conversation with the Chairman of Cycle X MTB Club, Mohd Fadil and Yang DiPertua MPAG Tuan Zamzuri Bin Arifin as they shared their fair share of exploits and setbacks along the way.
When was the first Fire X Ride held?
It was introduced in 2011 with the collaboration of Cycle X MTB Club. The jamboree is to foster camaraderie of cyclists while introducing Alor Gajah to participants across Malaysia and foreign countries. Undeniably, the geographical location of Alor Gajah is perfect for those who love extreme sports like mountain biking. Hence, it is not surprising that this sport is increasingly gaining attention to the public regardless of the ages and skills.
What is the objective of Fire X Ride?
The objective of the jamboree is to introduce and familiarize sporting activities in Alor Gajah as well as to educate the public on the importance of health. Besides, it can raise the level of awareness of the importance of keeping and practicing a healthy lifestyle and foster rapport between cyclists and the community. In addition, the cycling route typically covers the countryside for participants to indulge in the breathtaking countryside of Alor Gajah.
What have been the changes and refinement since the establishment in 2011?
We started with a humble cycling club which did not have a proper workplace to hold a simple discussion. One step at a time, as years passed by, we managed to own an office for our administration works. Eventually, we have had dealings with associations, government bodies such as The Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS). In the fullness of time, we have come to decision to obtain Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctions and commissaires to ensure fair and safe competition in the race.
In the first year of 2011, the second 2012, the third 2013, the fourth 2014, and the fifth 2015, the inauguration aimed to attract all individuals, associations, and cycling club throughout Malaysia. This jamboree required only a mountain bike which is functional, able to brave all off-road terrains. The distance for the first 5 edition covered approximately 40 – 45km off-road where it started at Dataran Keris Alor Gajah, to JKR Alor Gajah, Taman Kelemak Jaya, Kampung Kelemak Dalam, Taman Kebaya Paya Datuk, A’Famosa, Solok Pinang, Kampung Pegoh, and ended at Dataran Keris Alor Gajah.
However, the 2013 edition was different from other years as it was held at night. The distance remained the same which started from Dataran Keris Alor Gajah, to JKR Alor Gajah, Taman Kelemak Jaya, Kampung Kelemak Dalam, Kampung Paku, Paya Datuk, Kampung Pegoh, and ended at Dataran Keris Alor Gajah. It was flagged off at 8.15pm and ended at 12am.
Fire X Ride Jamboree 2016 was increasingly vibrant with year on year growth. A total of 1,400 participants from Malaysia and 60 participants from abroad including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and New Zealand participated in the 40km off-road which comprised of 7 categories including fatbike, junior, men open, women open, super mama, veteran, and heavyweight.
International Fire X Ride Eco Challenge 2017, in conjunction with the Urban Environmental Accords (UAE) Melaka Summit 2017, attracted 2,113 participants and 68 participants from abroad comprising Australia, Africa, Denmark, Brunei, Netherlands, Ireland, Phillippines, Singapore, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and France. The course was divided into two main categories, 120km epic and 40km jamboree.
Fire X Ride Epic Journey 2018 will estimate an overview of 2,200 participants with 9 categories. A 60km route will begin and end at Dataran Keris Alor Gajah where participants will pass through Melaka Pindah, Bukit Bulat, Tanjung Rimau, Pegoh, Melekek, Air Tanai, dan Kelemak.
Over the past 7 years, what’s the total participation?
From 2011 to 2017, approximately 8,890 local and foreign participants have participated in the jamboree.
What about the covered route every year?
Since 2011, the covered route has been different. We have designed various terrains for participants to excitedly ride across hills, wooden walkways, slopes, rivers, rubber, oil palm, rice paddy fields.
What about the prizes and other awards?
The prizes are not the main factor for cycling enthusiasts to participate in the jamboree, but the importance of putting more emphasis on self-determination and recreational purposes. Besides attractive prizes like cash, we also held a lucky draw session for the participants. Upon participation, participants will receive certificates, finisher medals, jerseys as well as t-shirts.
How has been the response from the participants over the past 7 years?
The response has been overwhelming. Every year, the participants take the jamboree as a gathering place with their friends. In addition, they can exchange ideas and views about this sports and make new friends. Although this event does not offer grand rewards, it has always been a self-achievement and satisfaction for the cyclists to complete all of the checkpoints.
What are the safety factors?
The even involves various agencies such as Polis Trafik (PDRM), Angkatan Pertahanan Awam (APAM), Pejabat Kesihatan Darah Alor Gajah, Pejabat Daerah Alor Gajah, and Unit Kecemasan Hospital Daerah Alor Gajah, and more.
Having organized Fire X Ride for eight years, what keeps you going?
Apart from our ardour and fervour, it is the positive feedback from the participants that keeps us going and motivated for the past seven years. We have received compliments from the riders telling us they loved the race routes in the event. In particular, a cycling group from Singapore returns every year!
What new races can we expect in the future?
We hope that the event will not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also enhance the camaraderie among cyclists regardless of ages races, or religions. This event will continue in the future with more challenging and interesting courses so that more cyclists get the opportunity to experience the fun. Probably, we would map out a race course along the coastal road in Alor Gajah in the next edition.
Fire X Ride Epic Journey 2018 will be held on
Date: 3/11/2018 (Sunday)
Venue: Dataran Keris, Alor Gajah