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Initial D hillside drivers : Fact or Fiction - The Malaysian experience

By Rigval on 19 Jan 2012

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I am sure most of you are aware of Initial D, the Japanese manga comic/animie and movie about a kid who started out delivering Tofu to a mountainside resort with his father's old Toyota Levin Trueno. The kid in question became so good at delivering Tofu until he could actually beat the best illegal hillside racers without even realizing it. Of course, this was the premise only as the chap eventually became one of those illegal hillside/drift racers and taking on challenges along the way.

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This had made me want to share my own set of stories about hillside champions. These drivers actually use these hillside roads on a daily basis without a care in the world. Like second nature. They aren't actually racing you up and down the hill slopes but they just want to get to where they are supposed to be and you actually happened to be in the way. I shall tell a few tales about these unsung 'heroes' that ply the windy roads in and around Peninsular Malaysia. One story is my own, the other two told to me by two of my old friends.

The first one is that tale where I was headed down from the Genting Highlands in my own Subaru Impreza 1.6ts. This happened sometime in 2005 and I was actually belting it (a little). I remember even outdriving a late 1980s Mitsubishi Colt Turbo which seemed to be pretty highly modded and my car stock with the exception of 17 inch wheels and tyres. The Colt was only fast in a straight line as it only managed to catch up with me when the road started straightening out and when it was close to the Karak toll booths at Gombak.

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But this wasn't a tale of David vs Goliath or handling over power as behind me was a gargantuan Toyota Landcruiser based Lexus LX470 V8. This SUV was actually keeping up with me. Imagine that, a tall and heavy Toyota Landcruiser keeping up a decently driven small sedan. I was surprised, but I wasn't that surprised as I somehow noted that this was a vehicle used by the staff of the Genting Resort. It was exactly like how a person who basically knew the road like the back of their hands would drive. Even if it was a tall and heavy (albeit powerful) SUV.

The second tale of woe (actually the first tale of woe as the first story is about my respect for a well driven SUV) is when a friend of mine told me the tale of his business associate who was driving an Alfa Romeo 146 1.7 at the time. He was actually enjoy a spirited drive on the roads around Kota Tinggi in Johor when out of the blue he was tailed by a very noisy old Ford. Noisy old Fords are nothing new in Malaysia but this wasn't no ordinary noisy old Ford. It was a Ford Econovan with a cheap noisy exhaust.

Now the chap driving the Alfa Romeo wasn't going to let some old beat up van beat him. Unfortunately by the time he dropped a cog the van actually overtook him at a hairpin and then started pulling away from the chap in the Alfa. It was actually jaw dropping and eventually the chap basically heard the drone of the cheap exhaust further and further away. The shocking thing according to my friend was that the chap driving the Alfa caught a glimpse of the van driver and he was totally nonchalant about what he was doing. It was like second nature to that chap as he sped away. Amazing what an old van can do sometimes.

Now the third tale that I wish to share is one I actually liked hearing. There was once a self proclaimed king of the Ulu Yam 'Ring'. Ulu Yam is the road where car enthusiasts usually use for the sunday drives up Genting Highlands and this chap actually owned a workshop (or was it a tyre shop) somewhere near Ulu Yam and drove one of those Japanese rally specials. As he drove this stretch daily he assumed that he knew every nook and cranny of the roads there. This chap actually believed that he was like the chap in Initial D. But last I heard he was whooped silly at Sepang and he actually crashed one of those all-wheel drive cars at Ulu Yam. Not much was heard from him after that.

Of course, fiction follows fact most of the time and I think the stories told in here proves this fact quite well actually. The drivers in Initial D may actually exist in one form or the other. He could be a van driver in Johor or a SUV driver in Genting. But definitely not a rally special in Ulu Yam.

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- This.....-
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-....was beaten by this-

discussions, malaysia, initial d and 9 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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Hermit Jan 19 2012 03:22 PM
Talking about the van, I witnessed my fair share when I led a group to Cameron H'lands 2 yrs back.. We were driving thru the valley heading to Simpang Pulai when such a van was in the 1st lane infront of me (about 5 cars' length) and we were in the 2nd (slow) lane.
It suddenly burst it's right front tire and pieces were thrown up, and it was obviously leaning to the right side.
I immediately comms the pack to slow down.
But the van was not swerving nor slowing down.. but moderate gas and started keeping to the road shoulder. As I passed him on the 1st lane- he had his right arm on the window, left hand steering and was laughing away to his passenger..
Macrosszero Jan 19 2012 07:45 PM
Was overtaken in an ES manual Civic on the old road to Cameron by a Kancil filled with girls. She simply showed no fear overtaking other vehicles on blind corners and smoked us city folk
Rigval Jan 26 2012 11:35 PM
Hermit & Macrosszero Those are amazing tales too....it looks like there are lots of unsung 'heroes' out there
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