Monday, September 03, 2007

Classic car lovers in trans-Java rally

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Hundreds of vintage car fans kicked off a weeklong rally Saturday along the historic 1,000 kilometer road connecting the westernmost and the easternmost parts of Java island.

The rally is to remember the building of the road in 1808. During the construction of the road, it is claimed that at least 30,000 people died of starvation and overwork.

The rally, which runs from Sept. 1 to 8, and is being participated in by 85 vintage cars and more than 250 passengers, will travel along the 2,500 kilometers from Anyer in Banten to Panarukan in East Java.

The 1,000 kilometer road from Anyer to Panarukan, known as "Jalan Raya Pos" (De Groote Postweg), or the Great Post Road, was constructed at the command of Netherlands Indies Governor General Willem Herman Daendles in 1808.

The construction of the road finished in 1810.

"Many people died during the building of the road. They are the heroes who laid the foundations for our development," said the chairman of the Indonesian Vintage Car Association (PPMKI), Bambang Rus Effendi, at the kickoff ceremony at the State Ministry for Youth and Sports Affairs.

"We hope this rally will help us appreciate what our forefathers did for the people of today."

Participating in the rally were cars produced in the 1920s, such as a 1928 Ford A, a 1927 Chevy Truck, a Chevrolet Bel Ai, and a Fiat from the 1950s.

Two cars that belonged to first president Sukarno -- a 1947 Chrysler Windsor and a 1963 Imperial -- also took part in the event. The cars respectively belong to Hartawan Setjodinigrat and Budiono Widodo.

Hartawan, chairman of the rally's organizing committee, said the rally was the 27th to be held since the Indonesian Vintage Car Association had been established in 1979.

The committee had laid on everything regarding accommodation, car service and participants' healthcare.

"We have prepared everything, but have focused mostly on engines as these cars are old," said Hartawan.

Along the rally route, the participants will visit many heritage sites -- legacies of the Netherlands Indies -- including a lighthouse in Anyer that was designated by Daendels as the starting point for the road's construction in 1808.

One of the PPMKI's founders, Solihin GP, who is a former West Java governor said that "We want to teach the nation that we can be proud of old objects. We can travel everywhere around the country so as to enjoy our rich nature and culture."

"We also want to teach the young generation to take risks to achieve their goals so they do not misuse the independence that we have gained with blood," said Solihin, who is also a retired Army general. (02)

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