EPIC DRIVE: Pagoh

MONDAY OCTOBER 10, 2016

The dry season is in, crackling dry tarmacs together with a fresh set of tyres are great ingredients to make a splendid driving expedition. This time we went discovering down south in search for another great driving road. Hours of planning, discussion on top of editing work will go into this one but we are not in it for virtual likes but see it as get together with old friends while making new ones.

Apart from beef noodles and fabrics, Tangkak is home to Gunung Ledang; an infamous mountain that will ring a bell or two in every Malaysian. A folklore that surrounds this mountain where a sultan’s love was rejected by a princess who had given him seven impossible tasks. This shall be a story for another day but what’s interesting is that this very place where we’ve read about throughout our secondary education.

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The star for today is Ford’s Fiesta ST making its debut on Epic Drive and will be on more to come. Joining us today is a Lexus IS250 that isn’t ideal for such a stretch but who knows. I frankly could not contain myself before setting off for this one while all three cars were having their tyres filled with air as well as tanks fuelled with premium unleaded.

 

As we headed further south towards Segamat, route 23 is nearly 50 kilometres begins with curvy roads piercing through palm oil plantation accompanied by mountainous landscape. On such roads, there is nowhere better to be other than a hot hatchback. Seated higher off the ground grants a more commanding view enabled the Fiesta to overtake the Cayman with ease, taking the lead.

Despite that, the Porsche could not be shaken off as it followed closely leaving the Lexus behind. The joy wasn’t long lives as it led to a newly paved motorway that’s perfect for high speeds. There was a handful of long, very long straights (of up to 1.5 kilometres) accompanied by mild corners. They were smoothly paved, providing a healthy amount of grip but still I couldn’t decide on if the Cayman or the ST is the stiffer riding of the two with little suspension travel.

 

By the time we got to the first traffic light, the IS has done all the catching up. We conveniently lined for a drag race which is a thing of displacement rather than driving skills. Lose this one and you might just take the next one. At high speeds, the lower power output Japanese contender crept ahead of the American which was a thing we found surprising.

Being faster off the line as well as pulling distance at high speeds, it was no competition for the Porsche but to take this one. It too pushed hard in the fast sweepers with no over or under steer and sings tunes a 718 can only dream of. The Lexus is unquestionably the oddball here but we all know who’d be heading home in the comfort of ventilated plush seats later this evening.

 

As some traffic started to build, it was cue on Segamat’s nearing; a district that was oddly named after the freshness of its waters. I can’t say for others but I was hugely drawn by the town’s railway station. Either train stations are actually interesting sights or that I’m simply a sucker for historically filled landmarks. These are the times I ask myself if I were born in the early twentieth century.

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Having gotten heavily caffeinated, we decided that it was time to punch Merlimau into Waze opting for route J41. A minute of silence as we puzzled in confusion then it came into our realisation where we have hit jackpot. Skinny curvy roads sweetened with almost no traffic ignited the speed demon in us. One of many compelling reasons why anyone had parted ways with a chunk of their saving in exchange for a car that seats two, chances are they’ve pictured themselves on roads like this one.

 

The Fiesta ST once again zoomed ahead with zest from its exhaust, gobbling bends presented in its way. Powered by high octane gas, the exhaust on the ST got raspier, engine responses more urgently leading to an even more orchestral sound from the symposer. It is a white knuckle ride that would make your passengers beg for forgiveness for ever doubting its sleeper looks.

The venture into Segamat through Tangkak has been good to us. Klawang still tops the list, it may for a long while but there is no beating food and drinks that was thrown at us while dwelling south.

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Tangkak / Pagoh

Length: 103 kilometres

Address: Tangkak - Segamat , Johor

GPS: 2.283346, 102.549619 - 2.149304, 102.771882

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