Alfa 156

ALFA 159
Alfa 156

Alfa 156

The AROC Tri Nation Chiang Mai Rally, organised by the Alfa Romeo Owners' Clubs of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, saw a convoy of Alfa Romeos travelling a majestic route through the region.

The AROC Tri Nation Chiang Mai Rally was “an avenue for the three Alfa Romeo Owners' Club in the region, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to work together and organise an event to strengthen the comradeship besides meeting the driving challenges and having fun,” affirmed Mohamad Yazid Mustafa, President of Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club of Malaysia, “For AROC MY and AROC SG, both the clubs actively organise events together for the benefit of its members and having Thailand involved for this event was really pleasing.”

The Rally saw a convoy of Alfa Romeos representing different generations - 155, 156s, 156GTAs, 159, 164s, 166s, 147s and a GTV6 – journeying along scenic routes through mountain valleys, different agricultural developments and various towns. The Thailand leg of the Rally commenced in the border town of Sadao in South Thailand with the first night’s stop in the coastal town of Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The next day’s journey would be the longest one, heading straight to Chiang Mai with a rendezvous with Alfa Club Thailand members. This stop was also the first opportunity for the members of all three clubs to meet. Having entered Bangkok and arrived at the rendezvous point, the convoy of more than twenty cars was escorted by two police 156s, ensuring a smooth drive to the lunch stop at the Windsor Golf & Country Resort. It would be another 12 hours before the Rally reached Chiang Mai.

Making an impression in Chiang Mai, news of the Rally spread with the local papers featuring an article on the event. The visit to Chiang Mai was as much a family affair as it was for the drivers and their Alfas to express themselves.  Much of the local culture was soaked up with tour programmes that included an elephant safari, bamboo rafting, traditional kantoke dinner and a visit to a hilltribe ethnic-eco conservation project. One of highlights of the stay in Chiang Mai was a visit to Thailand's highest point  - Doi Inthanon at 2,576m above sea level. The local Alfa Romeo dealer was also very supportive and helpful in ensuring that 4 of the cars, which needed minor repairs were in good condition to continue on the return leg of the Rally.

The return journey included an overnight stop in Ayutthaya, the ancient capitol of Siam, where members of Alfa Club Thailand received the group for a short tour of the historical park before proceeding on to the hotel and a river cruise dinner for all 3 clubs.

The last overnight stop was in Chumphon, a burgeoning seaside town in South Thailand. Not only for some much needed rest but also an opportunity for reflection as it also marked the nearing of the end to the rally. The Rally has brought together Alfisti from 3 different countries and created many fond memories for all participants. The next day would be the final drive through Thailand.

With the familiarity of Malaysia approaching soon, the convoy made an impromptu detour to Hatyai for lunch, which would be the last meal in Thailand together before the group would be parting ways after crossing the Malaysia/Thailand border. For the Singapore group, it was the beginning of the last leg of its journey, another 900km before arriving back home.

Having established in their combined annual event calendar, the tradition of an overland rally/ drive tour (the clubs have travelled to other parts of Thailand and last year travelled to Cambodia), the clubs are already looking towards next year with planning starting soon for a bigger challenge.

Reflecting on the success of the Rally, Rashid Karyeo, President of AROC Singapore had this to say, “The Tour merging the 3 AROC Clubs - Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and the Alfa Romeo Agents - EuroAutomobile from Singapore and Thai Prestige from Thailand certainly worked its wonders. Not only did we tour in style, with the cooperation and strength of everyone - we actually strengthened the long lasting bilateral relationship for the marque, people and governments to cherish for many years to come. We certainly look forward to adding another country or two to the tour as we look into China next.”

The trip was made possible through the combined efforts of AROC Malaysia, AROC Singapore, Alfa Club Thailand and the support of EuroAutomobile, Thai Prestige, Alfatech, Asia Golfing Network and Shell. The clubs were warmly welcomed at Hadthong Hotel (Prachuap Khiri Khan), Lanna Palace Hotel (Chiang Mai), Krungsri River Hotel (Ayutthaya), Novotel Chumpon Golf & Resort (Chumphon) and the people of Thailand. Where there are roads, you will be sure to see Alfisti.

by Colin Ong

For more information: AROC Malaysia www.arocmalaysia.com AROC Singapore – www.arocsingapore.com Alfa Club Thailand – www.alfaclubthailand.com / © 2008 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed