The second round of a national rally race for four-wheelers and motorcyclists flagged off yesterday from Phnom Penh aimed at promoting the conservation and protection of Cambodia’s unique natural resources and environment.
The Khmer Rally Raid 2018 also takes in three provinces for its second round – Kampong Speu, Preah Sihanouk, and Kampot – in a 600-kilometre race taking in mountains, dirt roads, and plantations and forests. Phnom Penh will serve as the finish line.
Racers set off from capital towards Kampong Speu yesterday and are set to race towards the capital for Sunday. Organisers at Wednesday’s pre-departure press conference, reported that 80 participants from five countries – Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Cambodia – are taking part.
Mr. Ho Sittikhun, founder and planning manager of the Kampuchea Autosport Racing Agency (KARA), said that the decision to take in new regions of the kingdom could help to show the potential of Cambodia’s southwest as a tourism and eco-tourism destination.
Round one of the race took place in June in Mondulkiri province. The race is backed by the Ministry of Environment and is under the auspices of the Cambodian Motorsport Federation.
KARA, was established in 2014 with a vision to develop the motorsport sector in Cambodia. The collective has been working with the Cambodia Motorsport Federation, which has been officially established under the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia.
Speaking at the press conference, spokesman for the Ministry of Environment Neth Pheaktra, said the Khmer Rally Raid 2018 had four major objectives.
“First, to help the conservation of all types of biodiversity and wildlife in Cambodia, said Mr. Pheaktra. “Secondly, to strengthen and help implement regulations to protect nature. Thirdly to promote the unique nature of Cambodia [for eco-tourism], and lastly to benefit the livelihood of people living in the communities.”
However, controversy and criticism has dogged similar events in the region. In 2015, the annual Asia Cross Country Rally (AXCR) in which KARA competes, was hit by a deluge of complaints from Thai netizens for allegedly causing damage to public roads in Chiang Mai and causing the closure of some roads which left some teachers and students unable to reach school.