Amazing day for race fans
A LITTLE bit of France came to the Northern Rivers last week when the French version of The Amazing Race television show made its way through the region from Byron Bay across to Casino and on to Tenterfield and Tamworth.
Local woman Fiona O'Halloran and her two daughters were spending the day in Byron Bay on the weekend when a commotion on Clarkes Beach set locals abuzz.
"We were told by onlookers that it was the French version of The Amazing Race called Peking Express, she said.
Ms O'Halloran and her children, Molly, 15 and Megan, 11, were walking back to their Nissan Pathfinder at the Clarkes Beach car park when two of the female contestants approached them with a cameraman and asked them for a lift to Casino.
"We thought it was pretty exciting," she said. "I work in Casino; it was the first time I was driving our new car and so we offered them a ride."
"Apparently there was some confusion as the contestants thought they were looking for an actual casino rather than the town."
During the trip to Casino, the two women, Marcelle and Nicole, told Ms O'Halloran that they had been on the show before and this program was like a grand final with all the competitors who had won previous programs.
The theme of the show, Peking Express, is similar to The Amazing Race.
Various couples have to deal with the challenges of long distance hitchhiking in a strange country and trying to communi- cate in a language other than their own.
The group led a cavalcade of about seven cars carrying the other contestants from Byron Bay to Casino.
"I was surprised no-one overtook us, but I think they thought I knew where I was going so the other contestants stayed behind our car the whole way to Casino where we dropped them on the outskirts of town," she said.
"It was all a bit frantic as they scrambled to find rides onward from Casino."
"We gave them kisses and they were all very grateful. We felt like celebrities for a day."
Further on, Tenterfield Star reporter Marie Lowe spotted Marcelle and Nicole in Tenterfield.
"They were in an awful panic but it only took them about 10 minutes to flag down another car to take them on to Tamworth," she said.