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Racing report
Amazing Race Season 17, Episode 1

I have tried to estimate distances and driving times every now and then. This data, from Google, is an approximation at best and the driving times assumes no traffic.

This edition of the race starts at Eastern Point Yacht Club just outside Gloucester MA.

Teams arrive by lobster boat and are:

* Brook & Claire, Home shopping television hosts from Reno NV
Brook and I can sell ice to an Eskimo
* Chad & Stephanie, Dating from Miami FL
I'm going to ask Stephanie to marry me on the race
* Katie & Rachel, Beach volleyball partners from Vellmont NJ
Rachel and I have all the tools, we are smart, tough and athletic
* Connor & Jonathan, Ivy league a capella singers
I think we will sing a lot during the race
* Nat & Kat, Doctors and best friends
Being doctors we are used to being under really stressful situations
We are a team of nerds. And proud of it
* Michel & Kevin, Father and son, Internet sensations from Sugarland TX
We sort of have these conflicting cultures
* Nick & Vicki, Dating from Las Vegas NV
We are very athletic people, we are going definitely to kick ass
* Ron & Tony, Best friends from Los Angeles CA
The reason we are doing the race is that it's my best friends dream, Ron
* Jill & Thomas, Dating from Marina del Rey CA
When he's right he is right and that's that
* Gary & Mallory, Father and daughter from Kentucky
Mallory is the boy I wanted to have first
* Andie & Jenna, Biological mother and daughter recently reunited
We have always wondered about each other
At the starting line Phil tells the racers of the new Express Pass which will be awarded to the winner of the first leg. This pass allows the holder to skip one challenge during the first 8 legs of the race. The pass can be used before or during any task.

Route info: "Fly to London, England. When you land driver yourselves to Stonehenge. You have $100 for this leg of the race". Teams must now drive Smart cars (hint, they are small) to Logan airport (60km 0:54).

Choice quotes:
 "These cars are like my size", Mallory
 "This is what we have been waiting for, to win a million buckarooskies", Nick
 "Get your compass out", Ron feels he needs a navigation aid
 "This is going to be our strongest suite, being able to navigate really well", Ron has his illusions
 "They speak English there at least", Thomas is glad they are going to England
 "You are about to find out if I am a good driver", Andie & Jenna are getting to know each other
 "We are west. We have to head east", Connor and Jonathan were about to drive all the way to England
 "I hope we get out of America", Jonathan
 "Hurry, quick, before the other team gets on", Claire do not want Nat & Kat to catch the shuttle from parking
 "Puke in the trashcan", Brooke to Claire after the run to the check-in counter

Teams reach "Preflight Parking" in the following order:
  1. Ron & Tony
  2. Chad & Stephanie
  3. Jill & Thomas
  4. Katie & Rachel
  5. Gary & Mallory
  6. Brook & Claire, arrived first but missed the turnoff to the parking area
  7. Nat & Kat
  ?. Michael & Kevin, not shown
  ?. Nick & Vicki, not shown
  ?. Andie & Jenna, not shown
 11. Connor & Jonathan

The first flight, AA108, departed at 19:06 and arrived at 07:00 and carries:
  1. Ron & Tony
  2. Jill & Thomas
  3. Chad & Stephanie, almost missed it because they got into the wrong check-in line
The second flight, VS12, departed at 20:02 and arrived at 07:26 and carries:
  4. Gary & Mallory
  5. Brook & Claire
  6. Nat & Kat
  7. Michael & Kevin
  8. Katie & Rachel
  9. Nick & Vicki
 10. Andie & Jenna
 11. Connor & Jonathan

The cars at Heathrow are stick drive and have the steering wheel on the right hand side. Most driver start by going into the left front seat... As expected lots of teams have trouble navigating, but eventually all teams arrive at Stonehenge (116km 1:17) in the following order:
  1. Nat & Kat
  2. Jill & Thomas
  3. Katie & Rachel
  4. Brook & Claire
  5. Gary & Mallory
  6. Connor & Jonathan
  7. Andie & Jenna
  8. Chad & Stephanie
  9. Nick & Vicki
 10. Michael & Kevin
 11. Ron & Tony

Choice quotes:
 "Driving stick left handed, it is really weird", Stephanie
 "We are back at the airport again", Chad has trouble navigating
 "I'm currently in the hardest situation for a type 1 diabetes on an insulin pump", Nat reveals that the race is not an ideal place for a diabetic person like herself
 "Which way? I don't know.", Nick and Vicki have trouble navigating
 "I think I'm breaking the car", Andie has doubts about her driving skill
 "We weren't communicating very well", Ron know why they got lost even more
 "This is the first time I have ever heard of Stonehenge, and then I found out it was a bunch of rocks", Vicki is amazing

Route info: "Find the castle that is the opposite of NorEaster". Teams must now figure out that they have to drive to Eastnor castle (142km 2:01). This riddle is very easy to solve with help of the locals and no teams seems to solve it quickly. But there are more chances of getting lost on the way to the castle. Teams eventually arrive in the following order:
  1. Jill & Thomas
  2. Nat & Kat
  3. Brook & Claire
  4. Chad & Stephanie
  5. Katie & Rachel
  6. Connor & Jonathan
  7. Michael & Kevin
  8. Gary & Mallory
  9. Andie & Jenna
 10. Nick & Vicki
 11. Ron & Tony

Choice quotes:
 "We are following the doctors, we love them", Brook & Claire connects with Nat & Kat
 "This is a though place to find your way around", But Gary is doing well anyway
 "I think I'm going to pee in my pants", Claire is excited about the first challenge
 "This is not how I pictured my day on the English countryside", Mallory while lugging a tire
 "Driving around lost is the worst", Andie has a feeling it is not going well for them
 "I need kindergarten directions obviously", Vicki knows herself
 "You are going in the wrong direction", a helpful local to Ron & Tony

On the way to the castle Gary & Mallory team up with Connor & Jonathan. Then the former get a flat tire and tell Connor & Jonathan to continue on without them. Which is the right and decent thing to do. Fortunately Gary is a handy man and he switches tires without any major problems.

Route info: "Time to storm the castle". Teams must now climb the wall of the castle while being bombarded with water from a mob of peasants. Once at the top of the battlement they must retrieve a medieval flag. Then they must use a tortoise-shell boat to cross a lake by dragging themselves along on ropes. All before finally delivering the flag to a knight in shining armor.

The water used by the peasants is not very clean, but if teams just ignore that they can climb the wall in no time (and they do). But the boats is a trickier thing. They are small and rank and teams may NOT swim across. Most teams do this with the boats:
 1. Put the boat in the water
 2. Get in the boat
 3. Sink
So the trick is to get into them without sinking and then drag yourself across without losing balance. Slow and steady is the key.

It is at this point we realize that Ron & Tony are doomed. Not only are they still hopelessly lost (they have not reached Stonehenge yet) but since Tony is about twice the size of Tony they will have serious troubles with the boats.

Teams reach the knight in the following order:
  1. Jill & Thomas
  2. Brook & Claire
  3. Nat & Kat
  4. Katie & Rachel
  5. Connor & Jonathan
  6. Chad & Stephanie, made at least 13 attempts to cross the lake
  7. Gary & Mallory
  8. Michael & Kevin, also made countless attempts before seeing how Gary & Mallory did it
  9. Andie & Jenna
 10. Nick & Vicki
 11. Ron & Tony, according to the behind the scenes material they had to give up on the boat and swim across

Choice quotes:
 "We are sinking", countless teams
 "We were pretty pathetic in our first attempt", Thomas knows himself
 "You are doing awesome", Thomas encourages Jill who is pulling them across the moat
 "The turtle wins the race", Brook has figured out how the boats work
 "The nerds zipped right past us, and it totally humbled me", Chad is rattled
 "We need to wait a sec and work together, okay?", Michael has the boating task figured out
 "Not again, or maybe not (Michael & Kevin again)
 "Are you a battlement", Nick & Vicki asks one of the actors after climbing the ladder
 "I have no idea right now", Nick can't find the flag on the battlement, while the cameraman pans and focuses on it
 "I promise you we are not that dumb" Vicki after having proved otherwise
 "I think we have to go over there and pull a boat back", Nick & Vicki continue their streak by not seeing the boats (while the camera focuses on them)
 "Morons", Nick about themselves when they spot the boats

Road block: "Who is ready to go in battle with a knight in shiny armor?" In this road block one team member must use a ballista to shoot watermelons at an empty suit of armor standing 50feet away. Once they have defeated the armor they must find the jester to get their next clue. The jester is the obvious guy standing on a big ball juggling.

Teams complete the road block in the following order (* denotes which team member performed the roadblock):
  1. Jill & Thomas*
  2. Nat* & Kat
  3. Brook & Claire*
  4. Connor* & Jonathan
  5. Katie & Rachel*
  6. Chad* & Stephanie
  7. Gary* & Mallory
  8. Michael & Kevin*
  9. Andie & Jenna*
 10. Nick* & Vicki
 11. Ron* & Tony

And this is where we have a close call. Somehow Claire's watermelon gets tangled up in her ballista so it travels back and leaves with full speed backwards instead. It scores a direct hit into Claire's face. She is dazed and have trouble seeing clearly after this, but after a short break she resumes the challenge. That's the spirit.

Choice quotes:
 "You are like wonder woman", Brook is impressed by Claire
 "Stop for a second and just look at what you did", Nat & Kat stop to admire the carnage which Nat wreaked
 "I'm not giving up, I'm just getting frustrated", Claire is having problems (before the incident)
 "I can't feel my face", Claire after the watermelon hit
 "They don't call it the amazing race for nothing", Brooke explaining to Rachel why she has to continue
 "I should have gone to the bathroom", Connor on the horse on the way to the roadblock
 "I don't want these people to beat me", Claire wants to go on after the incident
 "I'm more terrified than ever", Claire gets back to shooting watermelons
 "They are running over there, and they are done, lets follow them" Connor & Jonathan decides to follow Brook & Claire

Connors bathroom remark may seem funny but actually shows they are really focused on the race and postpone pit stops like that as long as possible. They probably know that an untimely bathroom break may cost teams the race.

Route info: "Search the grounds around Eastnor for the pitstop". The grounds are huge, but the pitstop is actually just in the next meadow (~300m away). And is can be spotted by just looking carefully. Teams reach it in the following order:

  1. Jill & Thomas, win the express pass
  2. Nat & Kat
  3. Connor & Jonathan, beat team #4 in a mad dash for the pit stop
  4. Brook & Claire
  5. Katie & Rachel
  6. Gary & Mallory
  7. Michael & Kevin
  8. Chad & Stephanie, after getting seriously lost on the way to the pit stop
  9. Andie & Jenna
 10. Nick & Vicki
 11. Ron & Tony, are eliminated

Choice quotes:
 "I guarantee it is on the other side of the castle", Chad thinks he knows where the pitstop is
 "I don't think so", Chad is looking inside th castle for the pit stop
 "Nick & Vicki, what's the name of this country?", Phil tests their knowledge
 "We are in London, right", and Vicki fails spectacularly

Nick & Vicki are not quite as dumb as the quotes indicates. At least Nick was smart enough to count the cars at the parking lot so he knew they were the tenth team. But they will have to smarten up if they are going to stay in the race.

Ron & Tony started the race really well, but then completely fell through when navigating in England. And finally this season has some really strong all female teams. I expected much from Nat & Kat, and they delivered. But Brooke & Claire were way better racers than expected, which is good for them.

Edited 2010-10-27 to fix minor errors

thank you for a very thorough and comprehensive racing report for the first leg of AR17. I look forward to your racing reports on all subsequent legs.

Great job!

Maf has been doing these for China Rush as well, they are wonderful!!

Thanks for taking TAR on as well!! :hearts:


--- Quote from: georgiapeach on October 25, 2010, 01:26:47 PM ---Thanks for taking TAR on as well!! :hearts:

--- End quote ---

You are welcome. It will probably take a couple of weeks for me to catch up with TAR17 since I still have two episodes of China rush to do as well. But I will get there eventually.


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