Photo by <a href="" target="_blank">Milad Alizadeh</a> on <a href="" target="_blank">Unsplash</a>

Photo by Milad Alizadeh on Unsplash

Episode 1 Recap - Marrakesh to Pinão

So week one, and we got to see our new celebrity teams getting their bearings, and get our first insights into how they'll be approaching the race.

From the outset, a more relaxed vibe permeated this show, perhaps due to the presence of some more mature individuals in the teams. It was notable that only Alex and Noel were an all backpack team, with the others having at least one suitcase to wheel. As the journey commenced, no one even dashed off in a frantic sprint – with 2,000 kilometers to the first checkpoint, probably sensible, but it did suggest a little less competitive spirit vs the more mad dash of the Series 3 start in Canada.

But the leisurely style was quite popular in the first half of the episode with most of the teams choosing to see a bit of Morocco before really getting going.

Billy & Bonny

Eager to see more of Africa before the ferry into Spain, Billy and Bonny took a bus ride to Fez to work in a tannery. They managed to combine sightseeing, earning and making early progress, a strategy which should do them very well for the rest of the race. While a mis-gambled detour to meet an old friend might have taken them off-course, Bonny's determination, demonstrated through her stomping arroung in the tannery's pigeon poop vat, could be a valuable asset as budgets tighten!

Alex & Noel

In contrast, Alex and his Dad were a more contemplative and contentious team. They spent a lot of time 'planning' and debating their plan of attack before taking any action. They eventually settled on exploring Marrakesh before setting off, taking an overnight bus to the Tangier ferry hours behind the other teams.

I hope over the coming weeks they become more of a team, as taking too long to decide can easily lead to missed transport or opportunities grabbed by the faster teams.

Harry & Emma

Speaking of missed opportunities Harry & Emma's early travels showed a potential big hurdle for their team - the delightful Emma's rather laid-back approach to racing. Harry's urging failed to get them on the first bus to Chefchaouen, a minor setback, but perhaps telling of similar problems to come. However as they reached Spain though Harry seemed to have cracked a motivational message, persuading his Mum to get a taxi so they could get to the hotel to sleep a bit earlier!

Mel & Helene

Mel & Helene however took no time to dawdle, the only team to try to rush out of Africa to get an early lead. They hailed the first taxi of the series almost immediately, heading straight to a bus that could get them to the Tangier ferry. They actually seem pretty competent as a team with Helene's language skills helping avoid a few pitfalls and giving them a good advantage over some of the others.

Mel's spending though might be a long term issue, as they were also the users of the second taxi of the show, as they tried to put more distance between them and Alex & Noel who had caught up with them at the ferry despite their sightseeing in Marrakesh.


Reaching spain the paced picked up considerably. Alex & Noel found problems with the timezones, missing a bus they could have easily caught. Billy and Bonny unable to locate their friend, ended up on the same bus, attempting a taxi ride to overtake Alex and Noel, but it only diminished their budget

Mel & Helene's taxi and train tactics secured them the first checkpoint victory, but with a reasonable chunk of budget gone.

Arriving an hour later, but with 1% more budget remaining, Billy and Bonny could have done even better had they not splashed on their last taxi. Alex & Noel arrived only a few minutes behind the siblings, after some mistaken map-reading in the final footrace. The only team not to use a taxi, they also did no work this week leaving them both 3rd in position and budget remaining.

Sadly Harry and Emma, found themselves trailing in all metrics, arriving 4 hours after Mel and Helene and with the least money left. 😬


1 Melanie & Helene ~ 85%
2 Billy & Bonny +59 minutes 86%
3 Alex & Noel +61 minutes 82%
4 Harry & Emma +4 hours 81%

But the race has only just started, and there's still 4 more checkpoints to go before Tromsø! Think you can predict which team will get to Checkpoint two first? Make your prediction here