Sur­prise pack­ets

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

AS The Amaz­ing Race Aus­tralia nears its half-way point, the girls once dis­missed as just pretty faces are prov­ing a chal­lenge.

Best mates and part-time mod­els Sam Scho­ers and Re­nae Wauhop ( pic­tured) didn’t ex­pect their blon­des-with­out-brains cover to be rum­bled so early in the competition, af­ter they be­came the first women in any of the Race fran­chises in the world to win the first leg of a race. ‘‘ We were hop­ing they’d dis­miss us as just dumb blon­des who didn’t know any­thing [ about mo­tors], but that kind of blew our cover and showed we were bits of tomboys,’’ Re­nae says. The pair joined the race be­cause Sam had al­ways vowed if she en­tered a re­al­ity TV show, she wanted to live and die on her own mer­its. ‘‘ If you do a TV re­al­ity se­ries, you want to do one where there’s no judges, no vot­ing [ and] it’s not a pop­u­lar­ity con­test. If you are go­ing to make it to the end, you do it on your own wits and strengths,’’ Sam says.

When join­ing the race be­came a re­al­ity, not even Re­nae’s fear of heights and fly­ing could de­ter Sam from tak­ing her along.

Her faith was re­paid when Re­nae took up the first chal­lenge – ab­seil­ing down a light tower at the MCG.

‘‘ She freaked, but she did it,’’ Sam says.

That hasn’t stopped her hav­ing to talk her friend down from sim­i­lar sce­nar­ios as the race criss-crosses the con­ti­nent. Re­nae is also ter­ri­fied of fly­ing.

‘‘ I can’t fly too well. My hands get sweaty and I freak out,’’ Re­nae says.

‘‘ Sam’s a for­mer flight at­ten­dant, so she’d ex­plain what was hap­pen­ing to make me a bit more com­fort­able.

‘‘ When words failed,’’ Re­nae says with a laugh, ‘‘ sleep was her sal­va­tion.’’

The su­per-fit friends have played to their strengths so far. They’ve busted tiles mar­tialarts style with aplomb, nailed a four-wheeldrive chal­lenge and built a gi­raffe feeder.

Sam has bungy jumped and both have man­aged to over­come the chal­lenges of a lim­ited knowl­edge of ge­og­ra­phy with hu­mour and a touch of luck.

‘‘ I had a cringe mo­ment in episode three when they showed me ask­ing, ‘ Where’s Hong Kong? Is it in Sin­ga­pore?’ straight af­ter I’d had a lit­tle rant about just how in­tel­li­gent we were,’’ Sam laughs. ‘‘ That’s just funny. That’s us, I wouldn’t change it.’’

Re­gard­less of where they fin­ish, Re­nae and Sam reckon they’ve al­ready won in other ways – their friend­ship is stronger.

The Amaz­ing Race Aus­tralia, South­ern Cross, Mon­day, 8.30pm

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