Halim Rahman was a pioneer in bringing 4×4 motorsport to southeast Asia, first representing the nation of Malaysia in 1987, competing for the Camel Trophy in Madagascar, setting record scores for the country. Working for Caltex at the time, his boss famously threatened him with termination if he insisted on taking two weeks to represent the country, but did not follow through when Halim did his country so proud. For there Halim became very active in the 4×4 Adventure Club Kuala Lumpur, spearheading the Trans-Borneo adventures of 1988 and 1989.
Borneo is the largest island in the Indonesian archipelago. Two thirds of it is Indonesian territory, but the upper third consists mostly of the Malaysian hinterland. (The more developed part of the country is on the Malaysian peninsula, separated from Borneo by 800 km of the South China Sea. Largely covered by impenetrable jungle, with dengue fever and malarial mosquitoes indigenous, it is a daunting challenge for any off-road adventure.
Halim followed up these two impressive feats of off-roading prowess by serving as the Expedition Leader of the team’s 1990 Trans-Peninsula expedition, which followed the river outside Gua Musang, covering an even longer route through the intimidating, monsoon-prone Malaysian and Thai jungles of the Malaysian peninsula.
Things really took off when Halim partnered with the 4×4 sport’s “Magnificent 7” to found Asian Adventures, kicking off with the much-publicized Pen Challenge ’91. Commercial sponsorship resulted in Halim’s next big project being the 1992 Genting Challenge, sponsored by Genting Group. The Genting Group owns a popular collection of hill-country resorts in Malaysia. The event turned out to be the most popular off-roading event in the history of Malaysia, with over two hundred participants. At this time, Halim quit his job as a chartered secretary to devote full-time to his enthusiasm for 4×4 off-roading.
In 1999, Petronas signed on as the main corporate sponsor for Halim’s surging team, resulting in the creation of the Petronas Adventure Team (PAT). Kicking off with 1999’s epic Passage to Tibet mission, the PAT conducted expeditions across Asia, Europe, and Africa, braving jungle, desert, and mountain with vigor.
He continued to command expeditions despite ongoing health struggles, which required a kidney transplant and heart surgery. For the 2000 Indo-China adventure, Halim was on dialysis, and he still lead the expedition. The man was a force of nature, and described was described by his teammates and those close to him as fiercely committed and loyal – to his four younger brothers, his teammates, and everyone around him. He took a “no man left behind” attitude to leadership that inspired trust and devotion from his team.
His business savvy lead to continuing endorsements and publicity to monetize and commercialize his various teams’ adventures. He almost singlehandedly made it profitable for him and other Asian 4×4 off-roading enthusiasts to make a living doing what they loved, and give back to the community while they did it. What better accomplishment can there be in life?
He retired from the PAT in 2009, and passed away February 5, 2012, peacefully in his home. He was 60 years old.