Race Across The World's big rule change divides viewers

Race Across The World has banned the use of bullet trains

Race Across The World's Alfie and Owen competing on the show
Race Across The World's Alfie and Owen competing on the show. (Studio Lambert)

Race Across The World returned to our screens on Wednesday but there was a huge rule change which came as a surprise to those watching at home.

Five teams on Race Across The World will start the 15,000km race across several countries on a budget of £1,390. Starting in northernmost Japan, they will cross six seas and eight borders to reach the finish line in Lombok, an Indonesian island paradise.

Taking part this year are two mother and daughter duos, Brydie and Sharon and Eugenie and Isabel as well as best friends, Alfie and Owen, married couple, Stephen and Viv, and brother and sister, Betty and James.

As the show kicked off, the contestants were informed that another form of transport was banned for the fourth series while they were competing in Japan. Japan's high-speed rail system Shinkansen, known as "bullet trains", cannot be used during the race. The bullet trains are the fastest and most convenient way of discovering Japan.

Bullet trains

A Shinkansen Bullet-Train arrives to the Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan
A Shinkansen bullet train arrives to the Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan. (Getty)

Race viewers were divided over the new rule change imposed on the contestants. Some complained they would have liked to have seen the bullet train on the show. Among the comments, one wrote: "Really wanted to see a bullet train."

"Oh man extra rules in Japan…no bullet trains."

"In fairness, I'd be pretty gutted to not be able to go on the bullet trains."

Others wrote: "Banning the bullet train is savage. They should have let them take the bullet train if they want, they’d have literally used half their budget up."

Race Across The World's Brydie and Sharon competing
Race Across The World's Brydie and Sharon competing on the show. (Studio Lambert)

However, some people loved the bullet train ban. Someone wrote: "Love that bullet trains are banned!"

"Banning them from using Bullet Trains is a bit genius."

"Lol that Shinkansen is out of bounds for this Japan length because otherwise this episode would have been wrapped in ten minutes."

"Obsessed with the producers banning bullet trains."

Some viewers joked that series three competitors Kevin and Claudia, the father and daughter duo who trekked across some of Canada, would have broken the bullet train rule.

Famously, the father and daughter pair loved to use taxis – rather than get into the spirit of the race – and had to quit the show when they ran out of money.

With a picture of Kevin and Claudia, fans wrote: "They definitely would’ve got the bullet train."

"You just know they’d have broken the Bullet Train rule!"

Race Across The World rules

Race Across The World's teams
Race Across The World's teams include: Eugenie, Isabel, Betty, James, Alife, Owen, Stephen, Viv, Brydie and Sharon. (Studio Lambert)

The five teams had to hand over their smartphones and bank cards when they arrived to start the race in Japan. They will not be able to use internet either while on the race, meaning they must rely on the kindness of strangers or read the map or find out in more creative ways. This will push the candidates to their physical and emotional limits.

They are restricted to a budget of £1,390, which is the price of the air travel. Of course contestants are not allowed to use planes. Their budget works out at about £27 per person for each day of the race. Not all teams will make the finish line.

Instead, contestants must find ways to earn or make up the money along the way because they won't be able to reach their destination on £1,390. They can reach out to kind strangers for lifts or take up jobs during the journey across the countries. Race Across The World's winning couple will claim the cash prize of £20,000.

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