The Sports Page

Season 9, Episode 10

The Race continued to make up for the lack of bunches in the early going this week, dropping a few more Hours of Operation on us - although with less than sixty minutes separating the four surviving teams at the start, it was hardly necessary. And, as the field narrows, our finalists get down and dirty, with several cancelled cabs, one uncomfortable Yield, and a lot of trash talking. A counter-intuitive Detour - who knew that didgeridoos were so easy to play? -knocked the two strongest remaining teams to the back of the pack and set up a nail-biting three-way race for the mat. In the end, the Yielded Monica and Joseph beat out BJ and Tyler by a nose, leaving the non-eliminated hippies to turn over their few remaining possessions to Phil, again.

It didn't help them much in the long run, but BJ and Tyler did manage to demonstrate how to make every second count with their Play Of The Week, pulling up just short of the parking lot to get a jump on Joseph and Monica in the run to the Yield mat, and teaching Monica that "we were there first" counts for little if "there" is anywhere but the clue box.
And while it did ruffle Monica and Joseph's feathers, it didn't throw them off their game. In fact, the argument could be made that it gave them a bit of fighting energy to pull ahead.
Of course, from the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step. Having beat Joseph and Monica to the Yield mat, thus avoiding any chance of a half-hour wait, BJ and Tyler took it to the next level by Yielding them instead. Now, the Yield is a part of the game, and using it is a valid strategy - in some cases. Trouble is, not many teams seem to know how to use it. It's most commonly deployed as either a knee-jerk reaction to ditch a closely following team, or as a revenge move against a team that has given some offense in the past. This week's Yield seemed to combine elements of both. And while it did ruffle Monica and Joseph's feathers, it didn't throw them off their game. In fact, the argument could be made that it gave them a bit of fighting energy to pull ahead. A wiser course would have been to drop the Yield on a trailing team, hoping to push them even further to the back of the pack. But BJ and Tyler weren't being wise about it, earning them this week's Smooth Move. The death stares from Monica were just an added bonus.

While I fully expected this week's Where The Wheels Came Off The Bus to relate to detour selection, I have to say that I called it precisely backwards. My expectation was that Joseph and Monica or Ray and Yolanda would lose precious time as they drove six miles cross-country, wandered aimlessly through the Outback chasing faint didgeridoo notes, and blew out their cheeks and bruised their lips in a futile attempt to learn to play. Meanwhile, Eric and Jeremy and BJ and Tyler would float and scamper merrily down one mile of riverbed and into the lead. Well, it seemed obvious at the time. As it turns out, the forty-seven step explanation of the Dry detour option was a fake-out covering the fact that in this case, complicated was actually kind of easy. Thus BJ and Tyler (who probably already know how to play the didgeridoo - just look at them) lost their lead and eventually, the leg.

Lies, Damn Lies, and...

The numbers tell a familiar story this week. Once again, I have ranked all teams on all seasons of the race, except TAR 8, by the weighted average of their finishing position on all legs up to and including leg 10. This list shows the top ten teams across all races, plus all winners and all teams still in the running on TAR 9.
RankTARTeamFinishAverageWeighted Average
19Eric and JeremyTBD1.6.0257
25Colin and Christie22.3.0282
36Kris and Jon22.5.0350
43Derek and Drew43.0.0372
51Frank and Margarita22.6.0374
67Rob and Amber22.5.0377
71Rob and Brennan12.7.0393
83Ken and Gerard32.7.0393
93Flo and Zach12.9.0410
106Hayden and Aaron43.0.0419
114Reichen and Chip13.5.0451
127Uchenna and Joyce13.4.0451
189BJ and TylerTBD3.0.0490
199Joseph and MonicaTBD3.8.0509
206Freddy and Kendra14.0.0518
212Alex and Chris13.7.0522
225Chip and Kim14.0.0525
329Ray and YolandaTBD4.6.0613

Eric and Jeremy? Still top of the heap, and still looking like team number two at the finish line. Meanwhile, BJ and Tyler and Joseph and Monica are still sitting comfortably at a level with several previous winners. And, further down the list are Ray and Yolanda. I've done one other bit of math for those two, calculating the average final standing of the ten teams that are ranked around them - five above and five below - after ten legs. That position? Fourth. And not one winner.


Next Week

I think it's elimination time again - expect the pack to be whittled down to three for the final sprint. Now, two weeks ago I would have bet on Eric and Jeremy and BJ and Tyler as shoo-ins for the finals, but after this weeks debacle... aw, hell, I'm still betting on them. Odds are that Ray and Yolanda's recent first-place finish was just like Fran and Barry's - that is, one last meteoric flash of brilliance just before they burn up in the atmosphere. They'll take a walk.

Leg 9-10 At a Glance

Start pointFremantle Sailing Club, Fremantle, Australia
End pointLake Bennett, Darwin, Australia
Distance traveled3100 km
Distance to date43500 km


Start OrderTimeFinish OrderTime
1Eric and Jeremy2347Ray and YolandaTBD
2Joseph and Monica2348Eric and JeremyTBD
3BJ and Tyler2356Joseph and MonicaTBD
4Ray and Yolanda0023BJ and TylerTBD


Tandem Skydive
Board a small plane and tandem skydive with an instructor.
TeamTaken byRecordInOut
BJ and TylerBJ(5/9)11
Eric and JeremyEric(4/8)22
Ray and YolandaRay(5/9)33
Joseph and MonicaMonica(5/9)44


Hike and swim one mile down a river bed.Drive off-road six miles, follow music to find one of four didgeridoo players, and learn to play a note.
BJ and Tyler13Ray and Yolanda31
Eric and Jeremy24Joseph and Monica42


Ray and Yolanda7537763341   
Eric and Jeremy1211211412   
Joseph and Monica6386332223   
BJ and Tyler2142125534   
Fran and Barry 895444415    
Lake and Michelle5723556      
David and Lori449567       
Danielle and Dani98688        
Wanda and Desiree3679         
Lisa and Joni1010           
John and Scott11