The love for off-roading
The New Paper SUVival Challenge attracts participants who have something in common...
A sense of belonging and, most importantly, a common love for off-roading and adventure are driving more motorists to join SUV clubs in Singapore.
Take the Jeep Owners' Club Singapore (Jocs), for instance.
The club, which was registered last year under the Registry of Societies, now has more than 30 members.
"We are hoping to expand and get 50 members this year for SG50," said its president, Mr Paul McLean, 44.
Another SUV club, All Wheelers Group, started with just four members in 2013 and now has over 30.
Its founder, Mr Muhammad Suhaimi, 31, thinks more will join the club. He's planning to combine an off-road trip with a chance to rappel down a waterfall to attract new members.
The wedding decorator said he has owned a number of different SUVs. "I chose SUVs because it's cool," he said.
To Mr Suhaimi, going off-roading or driving through the jungle frees him from work pressure.
Which is why he is taking part in The New Paper's SUVival Challenge again.
The annual off-road event, now in its 10th edition, takes place this weekend and promises to test participants' vehicles to the limit.
"I won the SUVival Challenge two years in a row except for when All Wheelers organised the event last year. I didn't take part," he said.
"Now I hope to complete a hat-trick."
The passion for the sport is echoed by Mr Abdul Rahman, 38, a member of another SUV group, X-Wheelers, which was formed last year.
Founded by former members of All Wheelers, the group started with about 10 members and now has 44.
Members keep the group social - instead of seeing each other only once in a while at off-road events, they also meet for celebrations and other social occasions.
Half of All Wheelers members are participating in the SUVival Challenge, including Mr Rahman, who is self-employed.
"I fell in love with the off-road challenge," he said, adding that he's been taking part in the SUVival Challenge since 2011.
Seven members of Jocs will also be taking part in the Challenge, said Mr McLean, who works in a business intelligence software company.
Other Jocs members are helping members who are taking part in the SUVival Challenge to prepare, reviewing notes and making checklists. They have also set up a WhatsApp chat group to share thoughts and ideas.
Mr McLean joked about how Jocs believe in winning at all costs. Amid the excitement and the determination to fully enjoy the event, the participating Jocs members want to do Jeep proud.
"Hopefully, we can get at least one of the Jeeps to cross first," said Mr McLean.