MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 2
– published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet
Well, it's starting to feel likes there's a rally on here. The 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally should be underway soon. Big Roger (Whittaker) is reeling from the numbers of cars queuing up for scrutineering – or could that be the fumes from Tobermory Distillery. Everyone seems to be behaving themselves, but one bold sod turned up with racers on the car and was promptly shown the door (or should that be the gate?). Even Gus Morrison (65) passed, but then he's a got a new Peugeot this year, although when it started misbehaving itself, he nearly sent home for the Clan – Roger nearly fainted!
You know something? Looking around the brand new, glorious car park facility in Tobermory, I can't help thinking it's not big enough. No matter how much space you give service crews and competitors, it's never enough. I reckon this lot could clog up the whole of Americky given half a chance! "Car Park" is the wrong name, it should be called "Abandoned – with no thought for others!"
Jim Smith (60) was out recceing the other morning and co-driver Michael Armistead fell asleep. Jim didn't notice until about 6 bends later!
Keeping it in the family. Ali McKay (75) is back for the first time in 20 years and will be navigated by son Garry. He remembers his last visit well, he wrote the wife's car off
Jayne (daughter of George) Hill (72) is here this weekend for her first shot at Mull but when she took co-driver Paul Stringer home to meet the family, he didn't know who George was, and of course George didn't say owt. Anyway, they're sitting there watching an old Tour of Mull film and the commentator says, "Now we'll have a word with rallying legend – George Hill!" Poor Paul, he didn't know where to look!
Steve Woodcock (107) doesn't know how well the wee Toyota MR2 will go on Mull. It's fine for single venue stuff down south but he didn't get much help from Toyota GB about parts. All they could advise was stiffen it up 25 to 30%. The full Grp A engine pushes out around 170 horses but it's only got standard brakes. They'll take a beating to-night.
Another smart car is Richard Thompson's (49) Nissan GTI-R. Richard works for Nissan Motorsports so they allowed him to borrow the car for this weekend. Since it is Stig Blomqvist's 1000 Lakes car I asked him if the bosses knew where he was taking it this weekend. He assures me they do! The car is in fact similar to the machine he used last year but it is left hand drive so he'll need to think twice about cutting corners! More …..
Tugs Sherrington (22) was in bother to-day, the car was overheating on it's way to the Noise Check. Earlier in the week it wrecked a cam when he fired it up but he managed to buy a cylinder head and camshaft from a local chap in Salen and the engine was rebuilt on Thursday night.
Brian Otridge (95) has taken the full race engine out of his Metro and put something milder in. Last year he spent half the rally replacing snapped driveshafts. There are 3 Metros in this year's event so Brian has entered a team called "14R8" comprised of one 6R4 and two 4R2's. Work it out for yourself!
So who's going to win the 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally? Well, the guy at the front will be hard to beat. Neil MacKinnon is using the same car he used for the last two years but it's got a fairly new engine for this event. Car builder Neil Hiorns ran it in on the Trackrod. However, young Duffy's got a better 2 litre engine and is praying for a dry night, he reckons that the first stage to-night, the Glen Aros/Hill Road is "cleanable" in the dry! I reckon he's nuts. And what about the O'Donnell twins? Young Eddie's got a new 2 litre car and with all that extra power he shouldn't notice the weight penalty he carries in the left hand seat!
Amongst the visitors, John Price is bound to go well. Sixth twice in the past two years, he'll be keen to go a bit better this time but what about Paul Kirtley? He was up to 3rd last year before the car started breaking up around him. Derek McGarrity has been here once before but he's got a Ford instead of the advertised Metro and Ian Corkill should have a good night if it's dry.
As for Steingrimur Ingasson, there's no doubting the lad's speed and talent but the closed public roads on Mull are a lot narrower than the closed public roads on Iceland. Gordon Boyd will no doubt be praying for rain as that should suit the 4WD cars better than the 2WD machinery but John "The Flying Doctor" Shirley will be praying for dry in the 2.2 litre RWD job.
And finally, a message to all spectators. Remember "Closed Roads" mean just that. Behave yourselves out there. Pick your vantage point and get there early then wait till the Road Opening car comes through. Full details and timetable are available at the Aros Hall – where they are selling all the Mull Merchandise.
And, please, take your litter back to your digs for proper disposal. Mull's a wonderful place. Keep it that way.
And finally, finally. From 2300 Car Club to all competitors, have a good rally, but a safe one. Take care out there.
That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet
Late Afternoon, Friday, Tobermory.