Howard Bicknell and Sahran Abeysundara are a team of Best Friends on The Amazing Race Asia 1.
- Age: 39
- Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka
- Age: 31
- Hometown: Colombo, Sri Lanka
With ten years of friendship under their belts, Sahran and Howard from Sri Lanka have decided to take on the big challenge of being together 24/7 under pressure-cooker conditions.
The biggest challenge these guys will face is missing the comforts of home - Howard needs regular meals, and Sahran isn't comfortable not having a shower every day - they do not know how well their friendship will survive the open road, but they are willing to give it a shot.
Howard and Sahran have been friends for ten years, and to celebrate they've decided to go onto The Amazing Race Asia instead. This quirky team might catch the eye of nearly every home viewer, because the potential for something interesting is very high, given the intercultural nature of their friendship.
Howard is British while Sahran is Sri Lankan, and both of them live in Sri Lanka. This clash of east and west makes their friendship interesting, even after ten years.
Sahran is an interior decorator and events manager, a job where every day is different, and offers different challenges all the time. Howard is the area manager for a British tour agency, and his wide range of responsibilities also brings him a wide range of new and interesting experiences every day.
The quest for new experiences is what motivates Howard.
"What drives me in life is a new day, every day - new experiences, new people, new places - and I'm fortunate to have a job that allows me to get that," says Howard.
Sahran's motivation is slightly different. "I'm motivated by one thing - excitement," he says.
Certainly, ten years of friendship has not erased all of the differences between the two, but you can certainly tell that they are aware of their differences.
The two best friends have similar but distinct and different personalities which are best expressed through their astrological signs.
Sahran is a typical Aries, who is immediate, lives in the moment, and makes decisions on the spot. Howard, on the other hand, is a typical Taurus, who needs to think about things for a long while before he's able to come to any conclusions.
The result is what Howard calls the seesaw effect - if one is up, the other one is down and vice versa. Done right, this allows each one to pick up the other one, when they are down, a perfect situation that will keep them going during the Race.
The two met ten years ago through a series of coincidences that took a week to happen, and that both of them swear is too complicated a story to explain. What they will tell you, however, is the giant laundry list of countries that both of them have visited together.
"Our team's advantage is our sensitivity to the people and the environments we go into," say Sahran.
Howard is quick to add a coda. "We've traveled a lot in the past, so we're used to going to new countries and finding our way around."
These traits might give them a heads up on the other teams, particularly those who don't have a great deal of travel experience. Their other traits will also set them apart, particularly since they imagine themselves as being outgoing, fun, laughing, outrageous, adventurous, excitable and just utterly mad as a team.
"Our biggest strength as a team is that we'll bounce off each other really well."
Howard's achilles heel is that he needs regular meals, otherwise he gets grumpy. Sahran is nursing a few fears, and he counts those as his biggest weakness. They hope to cover for each other's flaws.
Where most people would think that the pressure of being on The Amazing Race Asia could be disastrous for any relationship, friendship or otherwise, Howard and Sahran are quietly confident.
"Our friendship will certainly be there at the beginning, and definitely there at the end. There'll be arguments along the way, but we'll be there. We'll come out of it smiling," says Howard, and Sahran simply nods and smiles.
At moments like that their friendship shows through, particularly since these two are more reserved than many of the other teams. Not only are they confident that their friendship will survive, they're hoping to finish the Race as well.
"We'd very much like to be there at the end of the race. We definitely want to see the whole thing through," says Howard.
Sahran admits, almost sheepishly, that they don't have a game plan, but they're waiting until they meet the other teams before coming up with a concrete strategy.
There will definitely be some challenges for them, though.
"The toughest part of The Amazing Race Asia is not having the home comforts that we're used to. I'll have to cope with not knowing whether I'll be able to have a shower at the end of the day. It's going to be tough," says Sahran.
"The toughest part for me is not eating at regular times," says Howard, meaningfully.
Still, the two have watched nearly every series of The Amazing Race, and have often thought that they would be quite good at it, which is what motivated them to throw in their application for this challenge. Besides, both of them are strong advocates for travel.
As Sahran puts it, "People's problems come from their lack of understanding of other countries and civilizations in the world. The more people travel, the more understanding they generate within themselves."
The Amazing Race Asia 1
|Howard & Sahran's Race History|
|Episode||Leg||Destination(s)|| Detour Choice|
|1||1||Malaysia||Paint / Pot||No Roadblock||9 of 10|
|2||2||Malaysia → Indonesia||Push / Sell||Sahran||3 of 10|
|3||3||Indonesia||Wet / Dry||Howard||1 of 9|
|4||4||Indonesia → Australia||Elevation / Crustacean||Howard||8 of 8|||
|5||5||Australia → New Zealand||Rugby / Rigging||Howard||4 of 8|
|6||6||New Zealand||Ledge / Luge||Howard||6 of 7|
|7||7||New Zealand → Singapore → Thailand||Bacon / Eggs||Sahran||3 of 6|
|8||8||Thailand||Smash / Grab||Sahran||6 of 6|
- Howard & Sahran are the only team of racers from Sri Lanka.
- First Team to be eliminated in Thailand.
- Marisa de Silva at Sunday Times (09/09/2007): "Amazing!"
|The Amazing Race Asia 1 Teams|