2000 – Murmur Chapter 4

Provisional Leaderboard after 5 (of 18) Special Stages:

1   Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza)   49mins 04secs
2   Callum Duffy/Hugh Duffy (Mitsubishi Lancer)   49m 12s
3   Eddie O'Donnell/Billy McClymont (Ford Escort)   50m 29s
4   Dougi Hall/Gareth Williams (Ford Escort)   50m 36s
5   Andy Knight/Graeme Noble (Ford Escort RS2000)   51m 33s
6   Daniel Harper/Daniel Barritt (Vauxhall Astra)   51m 38s
7   John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra)   52m 47s
8   Mark Jasper/Alan Snell (Ford Escort Cos)   52m 56s
9   Martin MacLean/Andy MacLean (Talbot Sunbeam)   54m 24s
10   Martin healer/Martin Pettit (Ford Escort Cos)   54m 42s
11   Steve Smith/Alistair Douglas (Subaru Impreza)   54m 48s
12   Paul KIrtley/Jon Geldart (Subaru Impreza)   54m 51s

Oh, what a night. It was a night for fish and frogmen, not rally crews and marshals. According to Chris Paton who has competed on 30 of the 31 Tours so far, it was the third wettest in his memory. I'll drink to that. And then you wonder why us British talk so much about the weather?

So, after 5 out of 18 stages, the wily ol' 'reignmeister' himself is still at the top of the leaderboard on this 31st Philips Tour of Mull Rally. He just looks so relaxed I don't think Neil MacKinnon has even noticed it's raining. OK, so I exaggerate a wee bit, but what a display of controlled power boating from the nine times winner. The only thing that phased him was seeing deer so close to the road at one point. Luck was with him too. When he got a puncture he was close enough to the stage finish not to lose much time.

As for the white water rafter, he looked a bit glum as he booked in at Tobermory in the early hours of the morning. Callum Duffy's Mitsubishi broke a rear arm on the 14 miler Ballygown/Hill Road and dropped valuable seconds. "I felt it was sitting on its ar*se" said Callum, but hey, he was 3 seconds behind the ol'man after 3 stages, the gap is still only 8 seconds, what a pair.

Eddie O'Donnell completes the local stranglehold at the top of the leaderboard at this point, in the top 2WD car, the Salen Silver Escort. Having borrowed a fan belt from Ronald Dunsmore he restored the Pinto to full health again, that's all it needed, it wasn't the alternator after all.

Dougi Hall held on to 4th place despite an indiscretion on the long one which required him to select reverse, and Andy Knight said he had tried everything to get the hang of the Escort 'kit' car, and now he was back to square one!

John Cope had a dismal night. The Escort is misfiring badly and it cut out altogether on the Hill Road, but at least he reached Tob … Daniel Harper needed jump leads at Dervaig to start the Astra for the last stage, "the battery's not holding a charge," he said but doesn't quite know the cause … Steve Smith is auditioning for 'come dancing' with the number of spins he's had … Mark Jasper's screen keeps misting up, and he can't see … Steve Davies had problems with the brakes early on but fine now due to water cooling effect! … George MacDonald passed Robin Hamilton's Metro at Calgary, "I saw a gap, took a gamble and then went for it" the masochistic sod is still grinning even though he had a hairy spin in the next one … Lyndon Barton is sliding all over the place, despite 4WD … Graham Shiel got passed by Duffy on the Dervaig hairpins, "I don't think I cost him any time, I didn't see him coming till he was on top of me – that boy has webbed feet!" … I'm worried about Curley Haigh in the MkI, he was grinning all over his face, "that was fabulous" he said, the poor soul must have flipped his lid and thinks he's on Madeira, not Mull … Stuart McQueen was tight lipped, "that was ph*kking hairy stuff, I'll need to change my undergarments" … the philosophical Ian Colman said, "we're still here – a lot of people aren't" … but what about Martin Maclean in the Sunbeam? Leading the class and in the top ten, "my 2 litre block cracked so I borrowed a 1600cc engine from Alan Clark". At the speed he's going I think Clarky lied about the engine, it must be a 3 litre! … and speaking of nutcases, what about Duggie Ingram? 22nd overall at the overnight halt, in a bluidy Mini! The puddles are taller than his car … John Swinscoe echoed the fears of many about the dense mist over the Hill Road … John Woodward has some sort of electrical problem but can't trace it … Tony Bardy's another masochist, "that one really suited the car," he smiled – or was it a grimace? … Frosty Smart won't rev above 4,000 and it's been like that since half way through the first stage … first time out in FWD, Donald Brown lost 2 mins in SS1 and can't understand it but seems to be going better now … James MacGillivray is back in the top 30 after losing 5 minutes on SS1 with a puncture … Gareth Jones spotted off in SS1 … Brian Otridge skelped a bank and went to play on the beach at Calgary … the laughing cavalier's off again. Bill Bonniwell was giving it yee-haa big-time and paid the price … Doug Weir and Duncan Brown are lucky boys this morning. The Nova kissed the barrier at Dervaig and flipped over it into the loch coming to rest upside down in the water. Spectators and marshals waded in to help and they regained the road eventually, but the last stage last night was completed with Duncan hanging out the space where the window had been with a borrowed torch to see where they were going. The lights had been wiped out in the accident. Words fail me, but crazy, nutters, locked up, and off their effing heads, spring to mind … Bob Cowe says he's going well, "that's because he's ignoring me quipped driver turned co-driver John Baird!" … and Postman Pat's wee motor went off in the sodden wet rain with driver Willie Paterson heaving a big sigh of relief – until the spectators pushed him back on, "the rotters!" he said.

That's yer lot meantime, more sodden news to come. Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, early hours Saturday, (too early, too wet, I'm bluidy soaked and I want my mammy)

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