1996 – Murmur Chapter 8

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 8

– published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Provisional Leaderboard after 14 (out of 19) Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Hrs.Mins:Secs
1 Chris Griffiths/Stephen Griffiths Subaru Legacy 1.47:37
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte Subaru Legacy 1.48:13
3 James MacGillivray/Brian Kennedy Opel Corsa 1.48:41
4 John Price/Mike Bowen MG Metro 6R4 1.49:42
5 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith Nissan Sunny 1.52:23
6 Paul Kirtley/Jon Geldart Ford Sierra Cosworth 1.52:36
7 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 1.52:55
8 Steve Davies/Simon Proud Ford Escort 1.56:37
9 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 1.56:39
10 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles Ford Escort Cosworth 1.57:54
11 Mark Jasper/Guy Foster Ford Sapphire Cosworth 1.58:16
12 Gareth Jones/Lee Ellis Ford Escort 1.58:52

So they think it's all over, not likely it ain't. The final leg of this year's Philips Tour of Mull Rally is shaping up for a real cracking finish. There's only 36 seconds between rally leader Griffiths (5th last year and 3rd the year before) and 7 times winner Neil MacKinnon, and then half a minute to James MacGillivray, and there's still 56 miles to go to-night – in mainland terms that's virtually a rally on its own at that length, and these guys have already done over a hundred miles!

The McKinstry team soon had MacKinnon's earlier problem sorted out when he finished the first half of the afternoon's stages with a broken clutch and he put pedal to metal during the second half but on Mishnish Lochs he caught a slower car which wouldn't pull over and MacKinnon lost a lot of time before elbowing his way past at the big hairpin at Dervaig. On Calgary Bay he caught two slower cars but they saw him coming and quickly pulled over. This is always the problem when running late on the road out of sequence – catching slower cars but that will be solved with the altered running order for to-night's final leg.

Gareth Jones managed to change his gearbox at service too, broken during the first half of the afternoon and he's now pulled up to 12th just outside the top ten … But it was Eddie O'Donnell's turn to strike trouble this afternoon. He was off in Calgary and then burst the diff casing on the next one, so he'll be busy this afternoon and evening in the run-up to the final thrash to-night … Paul Kirtley was luckier, he hit some standing water at 120 mph on Calgary and saw his life flash before his eyes but he's still in the top ten … Tim Stell survived the afternoon despite a worry about his gearbox and clutch. He came out of Ensay jammed in third but when he stopped on the road section, found it was only the gear linkage which needed adjustment … Mark Jasper must have been trying too, he left his rear bumper on a bridge parapet in there … Gordon Boyd almost lost his top ten placing when he punctured a tyre on the Escort, and broke two rims before he could get the car stopped and called on spectators for help … more /…

In the 1300 class, things are no less fraught with class leader Daniel Harper having to try and cure a clutch problem before to-night but it looks as though Jim Fergusson is out. He appears to have been a victim of yet another bridge parapet … Grant Fleming is out too, courtesy of a broken stub axle, the Tunnock's Tea Cake Kid in trouble even before the rally start when an oil pump belt snapped as he lined up for the Start ramp … Monty Pearson is finding it difficult to drive with crossed fingers. The Nova has had a cracked brake disc since the start of the rally but he desperately needs to finish to clinch the F2 award in the EARS Motorsport/Motoring News Championship … Speaking of the national series, the fight for the runner-up spot is now a straight duel between Graham Dale and Michael Russell who are both still going but we'll need to have a word with co-ordinator Andrew Haill about the mathematical computations required about final positions, points and how many folk are between them … Another retirement earlier to-day was Martin Healer who replaced a diff last night but two miles into the first stage this afternoon, the new one broke and screwed up the crown wheel and pinion as he limped out of the stage … Mark Hudson got a fright when the front end of the Escort started wobbling. At first he thought he had a puncture or two, but when he stopped at the end of Ensay he found the wheel nuts were loose. Now he's wondering if there was a problem or merely if he had previously upset one of the service crew! … Dave Miller lost two minutes when the oil light came on and he stopped to investigate but it was OK it was just the fluid level which was low and oil surge causing the light to come on. When he found out what the problem was and realised he had stopped mid-stage because of it, he went a wee bit orange himself … Howard Moore's Honda came off second best after a hard landing last night, the wee thing's looking a bit knock kneed at the front end … Dawson Boyle had a slight off on Calgary and left his bumper behind … and Roy Jarvis thought he was in terminal trouble earlier to-day when a thick oil cloud appeared behind him. Thinking the engine was about to blow he stopped to investigate only to find that the wee Corsa was brim full of oil, must have money to burn these blokes, eh? … Oh, and by the way, a couple of first timers having been asking who this Jaggy Bunnet character is, well truth to tell, no-one really knows who he is. Man or myth, who can tell? But there is an easy way to spot when he's about, just leave a pint of Gillespie's on the bar at the Mishnish. If you turn your back for a minute and then turn round to find the pint glass empty, you'll know he's been – and gone … Take care out there to-night and for goodness sake, please use the single track roads and passing places thoughtfully and when parking your car, use your commonsense, otherwise the Polis will get you.

That's yer lot for now, Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, (Salen, Saturday evening)

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