Fred Arthur Blundell, who was Chief Marshal and Results Chief on the Tour of Mull, has died just before his 93rd Birthday.
His given name was Arthur. Taff Edwards began referring to him as Fred as a gentle leg-pull and it stuck. To his Rallying friends he was and is Fred. To the rest of the world he was Arthur.
For many years Fred fulfilled both of the above roles on Mull. This guaranteed him no sleep for the entire weekend. His genial manner was unaffected and his ability to party when the work was done was legendary.
Fred introduced computerised results to Rallying. In 1979 the Aros Hall in Tobermory was linked to the Philips mainframe in Croydon via a telephone handset pushed into a device with two rubber cups on it. PCs had not yet been invented. This was a success and was soon superseded by an Apple II computer running a tortuous BASIC program that was written by Fred.
Fred will be remembered as a lovely man. He was never visibly flustered even when dealing with a crashed computer program and a queue of results queries from agitated co-drivers. No-one can ever remember him swearing. He was always ready for a joke and a chuckle.
When Fred stood down from his major Club responsibilities he moved into a new role in his 80s. He donned a boiler suit and joined the road crew. This gang was known for their jokes and spoofs as much as for their practical skills and Fred became an integral part.
Fred’s funeral will be at St Josephs Catholic Church, Bury lane, Withnell, Chorley, PR6 8SD on Wednesday, 25th September, at 11.30.
Neil Molyneux from the 2300 Club joined Mark Stone on his Drystone Radio show ‘Back Seat Driver’, on 15th September 2019, to talk about the 2300 Club and the upcoming Andy Mort Tour, featuring Paddy Hopkirk
The link to the original show on Drystone Radio is no longer available, but the MP3 excerpt can be played here:
‘Get your entry in now’ is the urgent message from the organisers of October’s Andy Mort Tour. The 2300 Club of Blackburn have received an unprecedented level of interest since the regulations were published last week. “We were delighted to get almost 20 paid-up entries in the first 24 hours,” explained chairman Neil Molyneux. “Since then the numbers have been steadily rising, and we are now approaching the 40-mark, which leaves us with just ten more spaces left. The Andy Mort Tour has always been popular, but I think the ‘Paddy Factor’ has really taken effect this year.”
Thanks to Mini Sport and their managing director Chris Harper, the club will have the legendary Irish rallyman Paddy Hopkirk as their guest of honour on the day. The Padiham-based Mini specialists enjoy close personal and business links with Hopkirk, and have been entrusted to look after his famous works Cooper S replica 6 EMO, in which he won the 1990 Pirelli Classic Marathon. “Paddy will be flagging off the cars off from the start at West Bradford Village Hall, near Clitheroe, and greeting the finishers later in the day, “ said Chris. “And to round off a great day, there will be an unmissable talk by Paddy recounting some of the highlights of his long and illustrious career in motorsport, followed by a question-and-answer session with renowned rally navigator Ian Grindrod.”
Early entries include 2015 HRCR clubmans champion Steve Entwistle, who will be giving 6 EMO a run-out ahead of November’s RAC Rally of the Tests.
The 2300 Club are also appealing for marshals to help on the day, and volunteers will get a free supper and entry to the talk by Paddy Hopkirk. Anyone wishing to marshal should contact Simon Bibby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Award winner, George Lepley, kicked off his season with a class win on the Cambrian earlier in the year. He’s since been carrying on the good form by winning the championship! Very well done to a very worthy winner.
If you are a young rally driver or co driver, entry for the 2019 John Easson Award opens again on 1st of September. Check out this website for details nearer the time. Get your 2020 season of to a flying start.
The regulations and entry form for the 2300 Club of Blackburn’s eagerly-awaited Andy Mort Tour will go live on their website on Sunday, August 4 at 10am. And it promises to be a memorable day in more ways than one, with the organisers mapping out a route with a difference this year. “We have spent a long time making sure it will be substantially different from previous years, and we’ve found some lanes that many people will probably have never seen before,” explained club chairman Neil Molyneux. “All of these roads are non-damaging and perfectly passable in a road car, so there’s no need for sump-guards or roll cages. There is no competition element, it’s all about the enjoyment of driving on some of the best roads in Lancashire and Yorkshire. “We also looking forward to having Paddy Hopkirk with us for the day, which will make this year’s Andy Mort Tour very, very special. Although Paddy won’t be driving, he’ll be at the start at West Bradford Village Hall to meet everyone, and flag the cars off. He will then join us at the lunch halt at Blubberhouses before greeting the finishers back at West Bradford. “The day will finish in style with a talk by Paddy on his momentous career in motorsport, hosted by the equally-legendary rally co-driver and 2300 Club member Ian Grindrod. “It promises to be a fantastic day out for any motoring enthusiast, and we anticipate a lot of interest.”
*The Andy Mort Tour is a non-competitive ‘Touring Assembly’ starting and finishing at West Bradford Village Hall, near Clitheroe on Saturday, October 19. It is run in honour of club member Andy Mort who was competition liaison officer on the Tour of Mull Rally for many years, and a top National-level navigator in his own right. He sadly lost his life in an accident on the 2015 event. Open to any ‘vehicles of interest’, the Tour will see crews embarking on a scenic route of at least 100 miles using simple navigation of tulip diagrams or map references, with code-boards and marshalled checkpoints. With a limit of 50 cars allowed, the organisers expect the entry list to fill very quickly. Entry fee for the Andy Mort Tour is £50 for a car and two occupants. Extra passengers are £15 each. For enthusiasts who cannot take part in the Tour, but would like to come to the Paddy Hopkirk talk, tickets are available at £10 each for the evening meal and entry to see the guest speaker. Pre-booking for these tickets is essential. Regulations and entry forms for the Andy Mort Tour, along with booking information for Paddy’s talk, will be on the club website www.2300club.org or their facebook site: Tour of Mull by 2300 Club.
“We have won the BTRDA Silver Star in the mighty Avenger, beating all the Escort BDA’s, Millington’s, modern R2’s etc! It was great to win 4 from 4 events. Needing to finish 6th or higher on the Nicky Grist event, we finished 3rd.”
“Tyre choice and being held up by catching a car in stage 1 was challenging, but our result was all the more sweet by beating the best of the British Historics! A great result for the team. The amount of PR that the car has created has been phenomenal, it’s everywhere and everyone has talked about it.”
“I would like to thank everyone at 2300 club for putting your faith in me and I’m proud to be the ambassador for the Award.As for future plans, the Avenger is on its way back to Baz Jordan. We are currently 2nd O/A in the Gold Star too and we are hoping do at least the Woodpecker, if possible the Trackrod, in order to gain some more points for the championship. I have put an entry in for the Woodpecker. For now, I’ll try to enjoy the summer break but get plans in place for the last 2 BTRDA rounds followed by 2020.”
Paddy Hopkirk will be greeted with a familiar sight when he flags off the crews at October’s Andy Mort Tour – his own Mini Cooper S!
Although entries don’t open until next month, Mini Sport of Padiham have confirmed that Paddy’s 1990 Pirelli Marathon-winning car, 6 EMO, will be among the starters. The iconic red-and-white machine is still owned by Hopkirk,and is prepared and maintained by Mini Sport. Managing director Chris Harper said: “We were delighted to be able to facilitate Paddy’s appearance at the Andy Mort Tour, and it only seemed right that 6 EMO should be there too.
“Although Paddy won’t be driving on the day, he will flag off all the cars at West Bradford village hall and then meet up with everyone at the lunch halt, before greeting the finishers back at West Bradford ahead of his much-anticipated talk.” Mini Sport have invited rallyman Steve Entwistle, who drove 6 EMO on last year’s RAC Rally of the Tests – and led for much of the event – to drive the car on the day. Entwistle, from Rishton, near Blackburn, is one of the favourites for victory in this year’s Rally of the Tests in the same car.
Organisers 2300 Club of Blackburn are expecting a bumper entry for the Tour, which takes place on Saturday, October 19. It is run in honour of club member Andy Mort who was competition liaison officer on the Tour of Mull Rally for many years, and a top National-level navigator in his own right. He sadly lost his life in an accident on the 2015 event. Club chairman Neil Molyneux said: “It promises to be a memorable day out for any enthusiast. Coffee and bacon sandwiches are served to all participants before the first car gets underway at 10am, driving a 120-mile route through stunning Lancashire and Yorkshire countryside.
“There is a lunch halt where crews can purchase snacks and drinks, before the afternoon leg which is due to finish around 4.15pm with the option of a couple of fun driving activities on private ground. “An evening meal will be served at about 5.30pm and after that we have the legend that is Paddy Hopkirk entertaining us with anecdotes and stories from his glorious career in motorsport. “There will also be the chance for to ask Paddy questions before the day wraps up at about 8pm.”
*Entry fee for the Andy Mort Tour is £50 for a car and two occupants. Extra passengers are £15 each. For enthusiasts who cannot take part in the Tour, but would like to come to the Paddy Hopkirk talk, tickets are available at £10 each for the evening meal and entry to see the guest speaker. Pre-booking for these tickets is essential. Regulations and entry forms for the Andy Mort Tour will be out next month, along with booking information for Paddy’s talk, on this website.
The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Scholarship Winner reports on his progress
George had another mega weekend. The Rallynuts stages, starting in Builth Wells for round 3 of the BTRDA Rally Championship. A new engine in for this event, a 2 litre 16 valve BRM.
“The first loop of stages were much drier than expected and we set out on tyres that were too soft, causing some time loss. Furthermore, a differential issue meant the car was effectively 1 wheel drive with little/no pre-load when checked in service. The car wasn’t driving quite as George had hoped and felt as if they were struggling for traction, so this explained a lot! George found himself not leading for the first time this year, in fact 8 seconds down. But with 2 stages left, it was a case of giving it their all to ensure they got the win that they were after, especially after the first 2 wins this season. 21 miles through Hafren and Sweet Lamb awaited them. Although the car was wounded, George and co-driver Tom Woodburn, had a big push to come out with a 12 second win! Despite their issues, it was great to be first 2 wheel drive, first historic and first Junior! It puts them in a very good position in the championship with 3 wins from 3.
Most importantly, it was the first win for the new BRM engine and so I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team and to all the supporters and 2300 Club John Easson Award for their continued support and belief in me. I’m proud to have re-paid everyone with this win with the new engine.
The next event is on 11th May in Oswestry, the Plains Rally.