Larry Perkins once preferred the racetrack. But for the last six years, the retired Formula One driver has been cruising around the Australian Outback, following the footsteps of explorers. What he found on his latest venture, 18 months in the making, might crown all his other achievements. Winning car races is one thing, but "not too many guys find gear like this," the 68-year-old Melbourne resident tells ABC Australia. He's speaking of a cache of goods hidden in the Simpson Desert more than a century ago by British explorer Henry Vere Barclay and his lieutenant, Ronald Macpherson. In 1904, their team had to drop 400 pounds of cargo to cross sandhills separating them from a water source in the Northern Territory. A precise location was recorded in Macpherson's preserved diary, yet searches in 1915 and 2013 failed to find the promised haul.
Perkins decided that was because Macpherson got his coordinates wrong. In fact, based on Perkins' reading of the diary, he and his brother began searching 60 miles away. "The four-and-a-half days on the (ATV) paid off," Perkins now says, describing coming upon portable "water tanks that could only have been Barclay's gear." The area eventually revealed personal items, carpenter's tools, painting and scientific equipment, 600 rounds of ammunition, and a 1902 club membership tag, since handed to the Museum of Central Australia, reports the Telegraph. A heritage official calls it an "incredible discovery," reports the Katherine Times. Perkins is convinced more gear remains in the dirt, waiting to be found. (Discovered in Antarctica: a century-old fruitcake.)