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 exploring down south in search of 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 seeing it as a get together with old friends while making new ones as we go.
Aside from beef noodles and fabrics, Tangkak is home to Gunung Ledang; an infamous mountain that will ring a bell or two in every Malaysian. According to popular folklore, 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 is what we’ve read about throughout our history books.
The star for today is Ford’s Fiesta ST making its debut on Epic Drive and will be on drives to come. Joining us today is a Lexus IS250 that isn’t ideal for such a stretch but who's to know. I could barely contain myself before setting off for this one while all three cars were having their tyres filled with air and tanks fuelled with the highest RON.
As we headed farther south towards Segamat via route 23 is about 50 kilometres away. Things began with curvy roads piercing through a palm oil plantation that's accompanied by mountainous landscapes. On such roads, there is nowhere better to be than a hot hatchback. Seated higher off the ground grants a more commanding view enabling the Fiesta to overtake the Cayman with ease hence taking the lead.
Despite that, the Porsche could not be shaken off as it followed closely leaving the Lexus behind. Joy wasn’t long lived as the path leads to a newly paved motorway perfect for high speeds. There were a handful of long, very long straights (of up to 1.5 kilometres) accompanied by mild corners. They are beautifully paved and provide healthy amounts of grip but I couldn’t decide on if the Cayman or the ST is stiffer riding as both suffer from little suspension travel.
By the time we got to the first traffic light, the Lexus IS 250 had done all the catching up. Conveniently we lined up for a drag race which proved to be a thing of displacement over driving ability. So, lose this one and you might just take the next. At higher speeds, the Japanese crept ahead of the American which was a thing that caught us by surprise.
Being faster off the line as well as pulling distance in the upper registers, there was no competition for the red Porsche but to take this one. It pushed hard in the fast sweepers with no over or under steer and sang tunes a 718 can only dream of. The IS 250 is unquestionably the oddball here but we all know who’d be heading home in the comfort of ventilated plush leather seats later in the evening.
As some traffic started to build, it is a sign where Segamat is 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 actually born in the 1900s.
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 had hit the jackpot. Skinny curvy roads sweetened by almost no traffic ignited the speed demon in us. One of many compelling reasons why anyone had parted ways with a chunk of their savings 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 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 its sound 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, too good. Klawang still tops the list, it may for a long while but having food and drinks thrown our way, that too is hard to beat.
Tangkak / Pagoh
Length: 103 kilometres
Address: Tangkak - Segamat , Johor
GPS: 2.283346, 102.549619 - 2.149304, 102.771882