Sport: Driving Down Under

One driver fitted out his Ford with a hot-and-cold water system; a Melbourne innkeeper showed up with a trunkful of frozen food and a two-week supply of wines. But wiser entrants in the Redex* 9,600-mile, round-Australia stock-car trial prepared for trouble. They came equipped with aircraft seats and safety belts, tools, emergency rations, and elaborate navigation equipment. "Kangaroo deflectors" jutted forward from front bumpers like locomotive cowcatchers. Some pessimists even loaded up with trinkets to buy off belligerent aborigines.

Only one thing was sure: the trial was no ordinary race. Drivers would lose points for passing secret check points too early or...

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