PUTRAJAYA - Five Malaysians have set their sights on an ambitious journey spanning more than 50,000km in a bid to set a world record as the first to travel the globe in a motorcycle convoy.
Covering more than 40 countries in Asia, Europe and the two American continents, the team is close to fulfilling three years of planning as they approach June 16, when they start their six-month-long expedition.
Motorcycle workshop owner Mohd Faizal Sukree, who at 36 is the youngest in the team, said they expected many challenges despite the preparations.
"The plan is to cover some 300 to 500km every day, or an average of 10 hours (of riding) from early morning to evening.
"We will try our best to avoid secondary roads and riding at night. But in a team of five riders, if something happens to one person like say, a tyre puncture, everyone will have to stop," he said.
Faizal, who has been put in charge of road preparation, said they had done basically all they could to prepare for the journey, which included spending some RM100,000 on each of their BMW F800 touring bikes, including rider equipment and spare parts.
They even modified the fuel tank to now hold 36 litres, more than double the machine's original capacity of 16 litres. This essentially would allow the team to ride 700km on a single tank in anticipation of long stretches of riding.
"We will be riding through roads that we have never used before. We anticipate surprises. Suddenly there could be a river, or like in Mongolia, we will be riding through hundreds of kilometres of desert with no human contact," he said.
Team member Rosmadi Saad, 46, added that they expected to be riding in sub-zero temperatures in Mongolia, among other challenges that would most likely come their way.
The teacher noted however that one of their biggest concerns was dealing with immigration at far-flung border crossings.
"Wisma Putra has been helping us out, but different countries have their own way of dealing with border crossings. That could be a difficult issue," he said.
Team leader and businessman Datuk Zamri Mohamed, 49, said the team - which includes businessman Datuk Mohd Azhari Jemaon, 40, and policeman Mohd Ariffin Idris, 52 - would be Malaysia's ambassadors to spread the message of moderation for peace.
"This is a first for Malaysians, and also the first time a group of bikers will embark on a continuous journey around the world.
"We need around RM500,000 per person for the journey. We are still sourcing for more funds, but we do have enough to get started, thanks to sponsorship from Bank Rakyat.
"Hopefully more sponsors will come forward," he said after they were symbolically flagged off by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday.