Teams fly from Darwin to Alice Springs for this 9th Leg of the Race. For their Sabotage, Jaskirat & Anurag will have to carry a large stuffed kangaroo at all times. Dwes & Katherine will get a personal driver in Alice Springs as their Salvage Advantage.
Upon arrival, teams must head to the Alice Springs Library Bus Stop where teams must sign-up for their departure position at 4am tomorrow.
At the board, Chris & Aleisha battle with Ashleigh & Amanda for the pen. Chris wins, allowing them to sign-up for spot #1. But it doesn’t matter anyway. In the morning, all teams grab the next clue at basically the same time.
That clue reveals the Road Block: Who’s the biggest gasbag? For this Road Block, teams will grab color bombs from the basket of a hot air balloon and try to hit a target on the ground. Hitting a target twice will complete the task and the order teams finish will determine another order of departure.
Teams are divided into two groups as they are shuffled onto two different shuttle buses and then two different balloons. In the first group are Ashleigh & Amanda, Chris & Aleisha, Holly & Dolor and Skye-Blue & Jake. In the second group are the Brendon & Jackson, Jaskirat & Anurag, Jordan & Violeta and Dwes & Katherine.
The wind kicks up and the balloons are going too fast. They have to make a fun crash landing. Because the balloons have been grounded, the rules have to be changed and the teams will face a Forced Intersection.
The two balloon groups will now have to compete against each other to fold the balloons up. The faster they can do it, the faster they can leave. Violeta has an advantage because she grew up with her father who is a balloon operator.
Violeta leads her team while Balloon 1 struggles because they have no idea what they are doing and there are no directions or instructions from the operators.
After the balloons, teams can make their way to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station in the shuttle bus and then hop in a taxi to Todd River. Here, teams will participate in the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, an annual dry river regatta charity event. Teams will choose a personal yacht and carry it around a 500-meter course while trying to avoid pirates who will be trying to mess them up.
Dwes & Katherine’s driver gets them to the yachts first and they maintain their chauffer-induced lead. They open the next clue revealing the Detour: Build or Bathe. In Build, teams must head to Alice Springs Skate Park where they must construct one of three different skateboard ramps. In Bathe, teams must head to Pyndan Camel Farm and pamper a camel. They must then feed the camel a carrot mouth to mouth.
Dwes & Katherine choose the Build as do Jaskirat & Anurag and Ashleigh & Amanda.
After struggling at the yachts with exhaustion, Aleisha begins to feel very unwell on the way to the skatepark. She vomits as soon as they arrive. But that helps her feel better.
Ashleigh & Amanda think Chris & Aleisha are copying them by choosing the easier grind box even though teams have a choice of which of the three ramps they can assemble. And the grind box was obviously the easiest to build. Dwes & Katherine and Jaskirat & Anurag, who arrived first at the park, chose the hardest ramps to build. Holly & Dolor arrive last.
Jordan & Violeta, Skye-Blue & Jake and Brendon & Jackson all choose the camels. They all try to be careful with the tricky camels.
Ashleigh & Amanda finish building first and can now make their way to the Pit Stop at The Ghan Alice Springs Train Station. Chris & Aleisha are right behind them.
Ashleigh & Amanda check-in as Team #1 and win a trip to Alice Springs. Chris & Aleisha are Team #2. But they have no time to rest. Teams must immediately hop on The Ghan and continue Racing.
Holly & Dolor get tense and clash while building their ramp.
Jordan & Violeta, meanwhile, check-in as Team #3 followed by Skye-Blue & Jake as Team #4. On the way to the Pit Stop, Brendon & Jackson enjoy their Subway-sponsored lunch and then check-in as Team #5.
Dwes & Katherine and Jaskirat & Anurag are 6th and 7th, respectively.
That means Holly & Dolor are last. But Beau says it’s a pre-determined Non Elimination Leg.
Teams head inside the train and each take a compartment where they get locked in. They watch a message from Beau who says they will have to figure out how to escape in order to be allowed in their sleeping quarters.
Oh boy. lol
First off, the Sabotage penalty is so dumb. Like seriously. It’s almost like a joke. Meanwhile, the team that was last on the Non-Elimination Leg and should be penalized instead get to relax with a chauffeur. Try to make that make sense.
Also nonsensical was that sign-up board. What was that? It was completely pointless and unnecessary. Especially when the original plan was teams get bunched up and then staggered again at the Road Block anyway.
Hot air balloons can be difficult to plan for on TAR. TAR China 2 faced a similar dilemma in Turkey and they dealt with bad weather the same way. Having teams roll up the balloons was a fine task alternative. But calling it a “Forced Intersection” was funny.
The Henley-on-Todd regatta was a great task. It’s the kind of unique task specific to an area that you don’t see often. TAR tasks can get repetitive and old. So tasks like this are quite refreshing. It also seemed like the biggest production of the season so far. Cutting grass this task was not.
(Cutting grass is going to be TARAu’s garbage task from TAR Canada lol)
The Detour was also pretty good. Any animal task is great and camels can always be fun. The skate ramp side of the Detour is a different take on the usual “build” task. And it goes to a good cause with the local kids of course.
And just when you thought this would be a normal Leg, we have a “Non-Elimination Leg” that isn’t a Non-Elimination Leg. Obviously Ashleigh & Amanda aren’t getting a First Class Pass. And instead, this is really a Keep on Racing Leg. It’s that blurry line that TARUS has between Non-Elimination Legs and Keep on Racing Legs which are just Non-Elims with no penalty.
That’s fine, but Beau probably shouldn’t have called it a Non-Elimination Leg when that term has taken on a completely different meaning on this season. (A horrible meaning, to be quite honest.)
And then we get the surprise of another Stowaway team. Oh what fun!
My Subjective Team Rankings
Chris & Aleisha rubbed the other teams the wrong way? When?
I would have loved to have seen more of that. They’ve seemed like the most unproblematic couple of the Race. I’ve even thought they were kind of boring. But apparently, they’re annoying and cutthroat. Lol Okay. Anyway, I enjoyed them the most this Leg. It was nice to see Aleisha push through the yachts and then getting themselves into 2nd. I don’t think they were “copying” Ashleigh & Amanda. They made it seem like Chris & Aleisha were doing what Dolor did a few Legs ago. And it was far from it. So when it comes to that “rivalry,” I’m #TeamGeek.
Jaskirat & Anurag had an okay Leg even with the dumb penalty that they shouldn’t have gotten in the first place. Holly & Dolor lit some small sparklers this Leg (not fireworks hehe) and it was fun to see. I’m perfectly fine with them getting spared. Brendon & Jackson have also gotten much more interesting to watch as underdogs compared to when they were one of the big contenders.
Ashleigh & Amanda were kind of weird for me this episode. Them making a rivalry out of thin air was a bit of a turn off, to be honest. As they are whining about things that we haven’t seen, we can only assume they never happened. Especially when we have not seen the Chris & Aleisha they describe at all. The pen situation was typical TAR elbowing. We’ve seen it on many a TAR. (See: The infamous TAR14 battle between Luke and Kesha & Jen or TAR25’s first Leg.) But like at the skatepark, they were talking about Chris & Aleisha “copying” them. Umm… no. Anyway, they’re still Racing excellently. So they should just concentrate on their own Race rather than trying to make enemies out of nowhere.
If we’re talking about nice guys, it’s Skye-Blue & Jake. That hasn’t given them much opportunity for screentime. But it’s a steady Race for them so far. Dwes & Katherine are quite possibly the luckiest team of all time. It’s hard to fully root for them after everything that’s happened. Even though they’re nice guys otherwise.
Jordan & Violeta are alright too. Are we sure that Ashleigh & Amanda didn’t mix them up with Chris & Aleisha though? lol
Can’t talk about a team that isn’t in this episode. But really, it would’ve been great to see MJ & Chelsea as one of the original teams. I think it would’ve changed the entire Race, to be honest. They felt a lot like TAR Canada’s Natalie & Meaghan. And it would’ve been fun to see them go up against Jaskirat & Anurag in those early Legs.
Jordan: “Why are you so dirty?”