May 29, 2014

The Takeover: We Own It | The Backstory

There is always two sides of the story. Most people will know what happens up front but not many knows about what happens behind the scenes. Even though 'The Takeover' is now considered a big event due to its impact, but not many knows how it came to be and where it came from.

The Scenario of the Malaysian Car Scene
In most places, at least in Malaysia. When it comes to a car meet, what people have in mind is to drive their car at a certain location, park the car, then have drinks we friends and maybe after drinks they go check out their engine bays. This has become a norm nowadays. Lots of owners and enthusiast are capable and have tuned their cars with the sawed-after part and achieving big numbers in performance, yet they never actually experience their machine's true character. In other words, most people Malaysia just buy a performance car just to 'park it'.

 Nowadays, many car owners are members or have been members of organized clubs or groups. From one view this is good because owners can share ideas, tuning advice, and make new friends. But there is a downside that not many people are aware about which is the mentality that becomes hardwired into the club. Most clubs have a certain criteria that one has to follow to join the club. There is even a club where only imported cars are permitted to join. There is also the unneeded rivalry between clubs. Satria guys diss Honda guys, Evo guys diss Subaru guys, and so on. Enthusiast and gear heads now refuse to mix together which itself kills the scene.

When it comes to events regardless of track events, drifting or car shows, this division becomes more visible. This is not about splitting into categories but about the treatment given to participants. From a personal experience, I witnessed at one event where most cars parked outside but when it came to this one super car group, they entered the paddock grounds without scrutiny. What I remember the most is when the Aventador parked smacked in the middle and opened his hood. (Yes, the was blocking the road). I also witnessed other things like people being banned from a Saturday night motorsport venue for no reason. Easy to say, everybody is organizing events on money basis and that kills the scene.

  The Takeover's Origin
It all started when on the weekend after the late Paul Walker's death, there was a tribute meet by JDM Malaysia. At the last minute that meet was combined with another event of the same format organized by a big motorsport magazine and website at the Sepang International Circuit. The incident was that website stated the meet will be from 5pm to late. Me and a group of friends went there and arrived at 9pm and to our surprise, there was a lot of cars and people there but the organizer was gone. Out of the feeling of utter dissatisfaction, MC started rounding up the guys there and in 10 minutes organized a short drive from Sepang to the Dengkil Rest Stop. 30 cars were involved, all high-powered JDM machines. In other words, MC took over the event thus the name, 'The Takeover'.

The Teaser Period
MC first started by posting teasers which consists of a photo from the first Takeover event with a date. Not many people understand it but those who were close knew exactly what it meant. We were gonna do The Takeover again. There were some who closed the door straight on MC, some joked on his invitation, there was even a guy who managed a motorsport venue in KL that insulted him thinking that MC wasn't capable to put together a good Saturday night event because the fact is, MC doesn't own a car. But that how it is, Malaysian mentality kicked in yo.

The Garage Hideout, and The Kaidozoku (Highway Racers) of Kuala Lumpur
MC was already familiar with the group, GarageLife to come and help with his event since there were the ones who were present at the first Takeover back in December 2013. So this time, they were up for it too. With that settled, one of my friends took us to see another friend of his who was a Kaidozoku and an old timer of the street scene of Kuala Lumpur. My first impression, he was a shady character that doesn't talk much be he is willing to share knowledge. So we asked him if he wants to come to 'The Takeover', 2 seconds later...'Sure, of course I'll come. I will bring the whole crew'.

The Skyline, The Subaru and The Transportation Department Officer
About two weeks before the event, I was needed to cover for the Nissan Skyline club at the UO Annual SuperDrive. Since having friends from that club, MC immediately accepted and carried on. While he was there, he invited the Skyline members to join 'The Takeover' of course. Coincidentally, the Subaru Club was also present, so he approach the main man of the club to invite him. For the coming weeks he introduces MC to a friend of his who was working in the Department of Motor Vehicles. For the weeks to come, we had eyes and ears on authority whereabouts and advice on meet up points and so on.

 The Old Friends - The Evolution
We had a number of old friends that we haven't met for quite some time. So we decided to call them up to join, one of them was a member of the Satria Performance Owners Club who now owns a Mitsubishi Evo. Knowing he is a busy man, we didn't talk much but we relayed the important messages across. I didn't expect much but at the end, he coughed up 10 Evos and a couple of Satria Neos who were old friends too. 

The Old Friends - The Alfa-Male
I happen to know an active guy in motorsports who is involved in events like Downtown Motorsport and Saturday Night Fever  series. Nothing much about him but at the last minute he pulled through. But it turns out he 'vanished' from Sepang just to drive his Alfa Romeo with us at The Takeover which happens to be the same time that a Saturday Night Fever race was taking place.

 Obama is in Town
On the 25th of April, the day before the event, President Barack Obama touched down in Kuala Lumpur for an official visit. Thus, putting authorities on high alert and causing road closures all over the city. It just happens that the meet up and route were in high alert areas. Due to this, we were forced to change meet up venues three times from Cyberjaya, to Menara Usahawan then to Coffee Village in Putrajaya.

Event Night
That night came, most people from my end came out. Our phones were going crazy asking for directions. I didn't realize that many people wasn't familiar with Coffee Village so for those who were unfamiliar, I called them out to the Putrajaya International Convention Center. Pulled over with GarageLife, then Combustion Nation and their crew came out. Once at the venue, we were surprised to find more than 100 cars there yet we only expected 50, 60 the most. We were spooked.

 After collecting the thoughts, we gathered everyone together for a brief and to collect the latest traffic info. At 11pm, we rolled out according to plan. All went as how it should but when we got to the Maju Expressway which is known to be a very straight road, that's when we witnessed the actual scale of the event. It was our cars from horizon to horizon and the noise that night was a symphony that was loud and beautiful. I am brave enough to say even a Sepang track event nor that Saturday night drift event could rival what was happening that night. Something only a gear-head will understand.
 Somewhere along the way, the group split because one group missed the exit so that group proceeded along and diverted through the Federal Highway. More miles, more road to gallop. But its not like we cared about it. So we just kept driving since this chance of driving with a big group of performance cars don't come very often.
 The event went along without any trouble at all, so we all parked at a rest area which was full of performance cars. Everyone mixed and made friends. Some find their old friends there and just talked about cars and the night. Something we don't see in a long time in the Malaysian car scene. Objective achieved. Our work was done.
After 'The Takeover'
Everybody went back to their separate ways. My crew, we went out for supper in Puchong. All was happy. We decided to roll a bit more that night.  The incident there was an exit we had to take in order to make a U-turn so first we checked if that exit had a road block. According to our resources, there wasn't. So we proceeded and drove around. But to our surprise, when we got to the exit, there was a Traffic Police road block. All 9 cars stopped in our tracks and diverted. We caused a stir that we actually blocked the whole road because the roadblock was conveniently placed just before the U-turn. Total close call, but they didn't came after us.
  So there it is, all stories from all-sides of the event. For those who came out, you guys could've been anywhere in the world. But you were there with us at The Takeover. For that we thank you. We hope this will redefine the Malaysia car scene. No double standards, no status quo, no money based politics. Big thanks to, Optimum Detailing, Combustion Nation, Autobahn Ground, Madrush, 7Tune and all the media, street crews and people involved. Will we do it again? We will just have to wait.

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