The new series of BBC’s Race Across the World will welcome another group of travellers – including ex Upper Wharfedale students, brother and sister Betty and James. Race across the world is now on its fourth series and will see five travelling teams trek from Japan to Indonesia, a journey of over 15,000km, armed only with the cash equivalent of the airfare from Sapporo to Lombok and no technology.
Betty left school in 2016 before returning for a brief spell as an LSA and in her role with the Mental Health Support Team, James left school in 2018 with the hope of becoming a professional cricketer.

Why did you want to take part in the series?

Betty: It’s a TV programme that we watch as a family, and I think during series one and two we were sat there like “we could definitely do this.” It got to the last week we could apply, and we thought “let’s just go for it.” We did the audition video very on a whim and filled out the form and here we are.

I think it was kind of my idea, I got the application thing going and James got dragged along for the journey.

James: You said a few times, there’s other people you should’ve taken but they’re not here or couldn’t do it!

Have you got a strategy going into the race?

James: No. I think it’s probably for the best as I thought it would be better to keep a clear head. It’s so unknown there’s no point really trying to make a fixed plan because it could change in an instant. So, we’ll try to keep it logical: when it gets to it, don’t do anything rash do everything with measure but, we also have no set plan.

Betty: Absolutely not. I think part of our strategy is just being nice to people, speaking to locals and using the fact that we are approachable and can speak to people as a sort of tool, I suppose. But in terms of a set plan, no. Also, coming from Yorkshire, naturally our motto is ‘it’ll be reet’. ‘Our nana has a motto she says for everything and especially if there are any challenges in the family she always says ‘onwards and upwards’ no matter what it is. It could be something that we think is the worst thing ever and she’ll just go “onwards and upwards” So, we’ll be keeping that in mind in the race, definitely.

How competitive are you both? Are you in it to win it?

James: I am. Betty doesn’t like to admit it, she doesn’t want to say it or come across too cocky or arrogant but I think we’ve got a good chance. Everyone’s got an equal chance at the beginning, don’t they? But especially once we get going and settle into the first week and figure out how it’s going to work, I think we could definitely put up a fight. We’re both very competitive.

We’ve grown up in sports backgrounds and that’s all you do in sport isn’t it? Try and win. I grew up playing quite a lot: football, cricket, tennis. Mostly cricket till a few years ago, I still play football but it’s very much a weekend ruin-er if you lose on Saturday.

Betty: I played rugby for Yorkshire when I was younger and then I was doing ballroom and Latin dancing at the same time but I kind of had to pick one because they didn’t go together, and I picked dancing. My dance teachers used to be fuming because I used to turn up to dance competitions covered in bruises, so I had to choose one. I think the last rugby match I played I ended up in a neck brace and I thought “that’ll do”. So, I stopped playing sport at kind of 16, 17 but sports been your life really.

James: We just want to complete the race. We don’t want to get chucked off or eliminated or anything.

Have you packed anything for this trip that you just can’t live without?

Betty: I’ve brought an iPod to listen to music. I think again just for occupying yourself during long stretches of time. Even if I’m in my room I usually have the TV on for noise, I’m not very good at sitting in silence.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve brought with you?

Betty: We both got given a gift from our Mum and Dad which is quite nice. James got given a St Christopher bracelet because St. Christopher is the saint of travel and I got a little hug ring and my Mum’s got a matching one.

Is there one thing you’re going to miss from home?

Betty: My dog, his name is Stanley, he’s a chocolate Labrador. I probably should have said my boyfriend!

James: Quite a lot of things but I don’t know what I’ll miss the most. I feel like mainly the structure of just a normal day, like knowing when you’re going to sleep.

Episode 1 airs at 9pm on Wednesday 10th April on BBC1

We wish them luck!

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