*They got out to an early lead on the season premiere of “The Amazing Race” Sunday night, but the British roads and a medieval boat that required a delicate balancing act ultimately caused best friends Ron and Tony to become the show’s first booted team.
At least they didn’t get blasted in the head with a watermelon.
Below, an exit interview with Ron & Tony by Digital Spy:
Did you ever expect you’d be the first team to leave?
Ron: “Not at all, it was one of those moments that it was the last thing we ever thought would happen. It was just complete disbelief and disappointment because we never in a million years thought that would be our outcome.”
Where do you think you went wrong in your eyes?
Tony: “Coming out of the airport we got onto the wrong motorway and knew instantly we had done that, but unlike here in the US where you just go a mile and get off and turn back around, there was no exit for 25 miles. So we drove 25 miles out of the way; the whole time going, ‘There’s gotta be an exit, there’s gotta be an exit’. Finally there is one but it’s not like the US where you just drive on the overpass and go the other way, you have to meander through town going the other direction. We had no map for that, so we are just driving knowing the freeway is to our left so we have to go that way, but then you get on a road thinking you are going the right way and it’s actually 45 minutes of driving through these towns to get back going the right way. It was maddening! We couldn’t believe it was happening… An hour and a half later… (laughs)”
Is that how long you were driving around for? You seemed to spend most of the episode in the car!
Tony: “Totally! We were in the car for a total of about eight hours that day.”
Well you both seemed to keep very calm and collected. Did you lose your tempers and we just didn’t see or were you genuinely calm?
Ron: “We never lost our temper. Even though Tony and I are very competitive in the form of personal competition as opposed to competing with other people, we made a goal that no matter what happened we would not lose our cool or embarrass ourselves or our families in any way. We always said we would speak respectfully to each other and about each other and stayed as calm as we could; the tension in the car was over the top because we just couldn’t seem to get moving in the right direction fast enough. But we didn’t lose our cool; we just kept our focus on trying to get where we were going, unfortunately it wasn’t fast enough!”
Has the experience solidified your friendship then?
Tony: “It absolutely has because it’s so stressful and it’s more stressful than you think watching at home. People at home are watching and saying they were on pins and needles – we were actually living it and going through it so imagine our level of frustration and the fact that we stayed collected and didn’t lose our tempers! In those kinds of situations it is so easy to do that because you’re tired, you’ve just come off a flight, you haven’t slept, you’re hungry, you’re driving on a different side of the road, and all of these things – and of course everyone is going through these as well – so it made us stronger because we knew we could do it and not fight.”
Did you complete the watermelon challenge?
Ron: “Yes, I actually got to do that challenge and it was a lot of fun. I actually did it in the third shot… It didn’t matter!” Tony: “It’s unfortunate because he knocked it out of the park but it’s too late. Oh well!”
Did you see the infamous watermelon in the face footage?
Ron: “I’m so proud of her because both Tony and I were like, if that had hit us in the face we would have taken the sympathy vote and laid there dead like, ‘Oh my God, get us out of here!’ (laughs)”
Did you know after doing that challenge you were the last team or was there any inkling of hope there might be a team behind you?
Ron: “No, once we got to the castle we knew because we counted the cars and we had driven eight hours. We were just completely devastated that we were last after being first at the start, so when we got there we committed to playing full out to the bitter end. It was hard and when we got to the boat challenge, it seemed like the day was crumbling under our feet and we couldn’t recover. That was the hardest part and you never think that will happen.”
Tony, it was your dream to be on the race. Did it live up to your expectations?
Tony: “Ever since the first season I was like, ‘That looks like so much fun… Ron, Ron we have to do this!’ It was great fun. It was so much harder, it was more physically, emotionally and psychologically challenging than you can imagine sitting at home and watching. You’re yelling at the TV screen and then of course people are now yelling at us!” Ron: “I’ve watched the show and I’m always the armchair quarterback at home going, ‘Why did you that?!’ When we got on, I couldn’t believe it. Once we made the commitment and knowing this was such a big dream of his, we were able to fulfill a bucket list wish and become part of a very small fraternity of people that have gotten this amazing opportunity to do something this large. Even though the outcome wasn’t what we expected, the best part about it is that we are still quite thrilled and quite happy that we got the opportunity.”
It’s early days for us and you were only there for a leg, but are there any teams you think could be real challengers?
Tony: “It’s interesting because we were on the first flight with only two other teams so we didn’t get to know anybody else, so it’s hard to pick a favorite at this point. We’ll have to watch along with everybody else to see who we will root for. Everyone is great, there are no bad people here.”
What’s next for you?
Ron: “I’m a director/choreographer so I just directed a musical called Smokey Joe’s Cafe that opened on Friday in San Diego. My next project is that I work on the NFL half-time show so I’m already in pre-production for that.” Tony: “I just started a PhD program at the University of Arizona so that will have me busy for four years!”
“The Amazing Race” continues next Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.