His­tory boys

Across Amer­ica in the Fo­cus ST. No in­ter­states al­lowed Is­sue 232 – this month in 2012

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

Coast to coast, LA to NY, 3,300 miles (5,311km) all in, five days to do it and in­ter­states – you know, those multi-lane fast bits – were not al­lowed. This was the im­be­cilic chal­lenge we set our­selves in the new Ford Fo­cus

ST. Turns out, Amer­ica is big­ger than we thought.

First things first, the car was im­mense. “We feared Ford might have lost its chas­sis magic with the MkIII Fo­cus, but I’m de­lighted to re­port it’s still there. This car is touched by ge­nius,” said Sam Philip, although he was suf­fer­ing from “Guan­tanamo Bay-grade sleep de­pri­va­tion” at the time.

It all started so well, cruis­ing through the deserts in the West, a fly­ing visit to the newly paved Pikes Peak, a race with a train along Route 66, an en­counter with the Mega Canyon. And then there was Kansas, a storm of bib­li­cal pro­por­tions and the kind of “flat, fea­ture­less land­scape” that sapped our will to live... still there was 1,700 miles to go.

Illi­nois, In­di­ana, Ohio, Penn­syl­va­nia: “I know we crossed them but they’re a grey blur,” re­ported an in­creas­ingly grey Sam. Turns out the scenery wasn’t the only repet­i­tive el­e­ment: “We ate a lot of jerky. I dis­cov­ered an ex­clu­sively jerky-based diet does dread­ful things to your in­sides.”

Sud­denly, JFK air­port and the tor­ture was over. “Ten min­utes to spare. I got a bit teary.”

Sam’s ad­vice if you fancy it your­self? “Give your­self more than five days, watch out for cops, avoid the jerky and do any­thing – any­thing – you can to avoid Kansas.”

This year, the world’s great­est car mag­a­zine cel­e­brates its 25th an­niver­sary

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