Taupo: Team Malaysia notes on New Zealand tour

AARON LIM TAKES IT TO THE EXTREME A1 Team Malaysia rookie driver, Aaron Lim, savoured some of the unique extreme outdoor adventures that New Zealand has to offer when he visited the country for the recent round of the A1GP World Cup of ...

AARON LIM TAKES IT TO THE EXTREME

A1 Team Malaysia rookie driver, Aaron Lim, savoured some of the unique extreme outdoor adventures that New Zealand has to offer when he visited the country for the recent round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

Lim, Fairuz Fauzy and engineer Alan Mugglestone travelled to the venue for the fourth round of the season early so that they could acclimatise to the weather and the time zone changes. While Fauzy focused on pre-race fitness, Lim and Mugglestone took the opportunity to explore some of the sports activities and visit tourist spots around Taupo, the location for the race event.

The first activity was white water rafting. Lim and Mugglestone joined with some of the crew and driver from the Monaco team for this experience. Floating past ancient beech forests, through gorges, past limestone and volcanic cliffs and then racing down 50m 'roller coaster' rapids at exhilarating speeds certainly gave Lim an adrenalin rush. He said of his day, "It was great fun, but also quite physically challenging. I hadn't done this before and I really enjoyed it."

Next on the list was black water rafting at the famous Waitamo Caves. The Black Abyss experience was a five hour adventure which featured abseiling, climbing and cave tubing. Before descending into the black depths of Ruakuri Cave, Lim and Mugglestone were given abseiling training and then had to put their skills to the test. Squeezing between rocks with only headlamps to light the way, they explored the underground cavern.

Their adventure finished with cave tubing. This involved the use of an inflated rubber inner tube, the kind you would normally find in a car or truck tyre, as a flotation device to take them down river. En route they were given a rare opportunity to view the Waitomo glow worms. Thousands of these tiny creatures radiated their unmistakable luminescent light on the roof of the cave as Lim and Mugglestone drifted downstream. Lim said of this experience, "It was a very unique day. I didn't know what to expect, but I really enjoyed it, it was very different, but not quite as scary as I thought it might be!"

Lim and Mugglestone also tried out Hydrospeeding, another extreme sport found in New Zealand. Also known as white water sledging, the intrepid A1 Team Malaysia team members put on padded wetsuits, booties, life jackets, helmet and fins for kicking which provide extra propulsion and steering. With their body on the sledge board, they then set off through the rapids of the Rangitaiki river, near to Rotorua. Lim summed up this experience saying, "It was hard work and quite a challenge to control the sledge through the white water, but once I had mastered it, it was an exhilarating adrenalin rush".

The Malaysia team adventurers rounded off their time away from the track with a mud bath, one of the most popular tourist activities in this area of New Zealand. The unique geothermal mud and waters of Rotorua are renowned for their curative and invigorating properties. The traditional mud bath experience was followed by a relaxing sulphur spa overlooking the geothermal reserve. Lim summed up this unique style of bathing, "It's a bit strange to be covering yourself with mud, but I felt very clean once I'd washed it all off!"

Summing up his exploring of New Zealand, Lim said, "I had the chance to really appreciate some of the natural beauty of the country while taking part in some really fun activities. I am privileged to be able to visit other countries around the world, but I always appreciate being back home."

Lim and his team mates will head off to South Africa next month for the fifth round of the A1GP series which will be held at the Kyalami circuit in Gauteng province 20-22 February 2009.

-credit: malaysia

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Fairuz Fauzy , Aaron Lim