2002 – Murmur Chapter 10

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 10

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

The 2002 Philips Tour of Mull Rally – Final Results after SS20 (of 20)

1  Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2 Hr 28 mins 13 secs
2  Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 28m 39s
3  Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 33m 43s
4  John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth)  2h 35m 51s
5  John Swinscoe/Allan Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 39m 02s (Class C)
6  Ian Colman/Neil Colman (Nissan Sunny)  2h 39m 04s
7  Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth)  2h 39m 29s
8  Mark Durham/Andy Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit)  2h 40m 54s (Class B winner)
9  John Baird/Stan Quirk  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 41m 57s
10  Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey (Subaru Impreza) 2h 42m 43s
20  Ian Chadwick/Graham Shiel  (1.4 VW Polo)  2h 51m 44s (Class A)

It was a night to remember and savour. In years to come when darkness falls and fires glow bright, rally fans will huddle round glasses of memory retention fluid and recall the epic deeds which were done in the name of their sport last night. The bare bones of the story will relate that Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell won the 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally. But behind that bland statistic lies a heroic tale of high adventure and even higher speeds.

Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte finished second. “I lost it on Friday night,” says Neil, “Daniel got his nose in front and I was struggling to catch up.” Even so, MacKinnon was full of praise for the Subaru Impreza WRC: “It’s a helluva car but it took me a while to get used to it. By the time I did, Daniel was up and gone, full marks to him, he drove well.”

Lest we forget, this was the guy who finished 10th overall in a Mini just six years back and here he was in a Mitsubishi Lancer with more engineering design input in its ash-tray than the entire British Leyland device which preceded it. Surprisingly, it was Daniel’s second run out in a four wheel drive machine – ever.

Going into the final loop of three stages, 17 seconds separated the top two and most folk would have put money on MacKinnon to do the business. Chris Griffiths set the record on the 22 miles Loch Tuath/Calgary stage three years ago with 21m 01s. Last night MacKinnon broke the record with a 20m 57s. Then Harper smashed it with 20m 43s. MacKinnon knew then that he was in for one hell of a fight over the closing stages and so it turned out.

Earlier Harper had said he was taking no risks. That all went out the window on the final three: “I took a lot of risks in Scridain and Gribun,” said Daniel, “I had the biggest moment of my life in that last one, we kind of lost the place on a couple of Notes, and I thought we were gone!”

After 150 miles of timed-to-the-second lunacy over the island’s treacherously tortuous tarmac, which ranged from streaming wet to merely dangerously slippy, the winning margin was 26 seconds.

If the pace of these two was impressive, Callum Duffy’s was mesmerising. Even with no clutch on the final night his flight down Glen Aros was unbelievable. According to co-driver Del: “The shift light was on in sixth gear. Not just flashing, it was glowing!” And this in a two wheel drive machine which was geared for 140 mph plus. According to Del: “You know, when it’s flat out in sixth it goes very quiet in the car”. I’ll bet. If it had been me you would have heard my sphincter muscles working.

John and Tony Cope saw the oil pressure dive with three stages to go but with fingers crossed finished fourth. And after a determined charge over the dark island roads on the final night John Swinscoe and Allan Whittaker overtook Ian and Neil Colman and Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn for fifth. Mark Durham and Andy Mort scored a quite sensational 8th in the 1600 Corsa but only after a last minute drama when the Corsa’s rear wheel hub and bearing collapsed. John Baird and Stan Quirk got a result, in more ways than one. Not only did they finish ninth, someone bid them for the car! Rounding off the top ten was Dave Miller and Andrew Bailey.

But those were the fortunate few. Dougi Hall crashed out when leading in the first night. No damage, and the car was just a few feet from the road, but it was stuck fast … Eddie O’Donnell suffered two punctures on the first two stages and was left struggling to catch up after that … John Cressey broke a driveshaft on the first night and parked it on its ear on Saturday night … Willie Bonniwell had two punctures and then blew the engine (big style!) … Paul Kirtley and electrical problems … Stuart McQueen was forced out before the final Leg … James MacGillivray blew the turbo on the second stage (again!) … and Martin Healer blew his engine.

Mark Durham won the 1600 class but Doug Weir was running him close till he rumbled off the road at Dervaig although he survived to finish a thoroughly impressive 14th with Mike Storrar an incredible third in the Toyota engined Ford Anglia (and not Vauxhall as reported erroneously earlier) and who will now have to suffer the wrath of ‘the wife’ who spotted his comment about this rally in an earlier Bulletin: “It’s better than sex!”

Ian Chadwick was an impressive 1400 class winner in the German sausage tin, the wee VW Polo finishing a hugely impressive 20th overall! Duncan Cameron was second in class in the Peugeot after a spirited battle with third placed Jim Brindle in the Mini.

As ever, the Marshals were wonderful, the Polis were great, the organisers in control, the islanders welcoming, the sponsors supportive and the competitors tremendous. From all of us to all of youse, a big and special ‘Thanks’. And to Oban FM for giving us such delightful earache – and my own thanks to the efforts of Bill’n’Bob the Bulletin Boys.

And finally, spare a thought for Chief Results Officer Mark Goosens who has been detained in hospital in Glasgow following his accident on Wednesday, but the team did such a good job in his absence he might find himself out of a job next year.

And finally, finally, a special word of thanks to the ‘silent spectator’ at Dervaig. To the man who inspired a rallying revolution in the history of closed public road rallying in the UK and to the man who inspired the team behind the success of the Philips Tour of Mull Rally.

Thanks Brian.

And do you know something? That wasn’t mist, or fog, or low cloud, that was drifting down the Bellart last night, it was definitely pipe smoke.
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Sunday, 2:00 pm.

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