Photographs of the 2010 Tunnock’s Mull Rally

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2010 – Rally Report by Jaggy Bunnet

Rally Report – Monday 11 October 2010

The Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 8/9/10 October 2010

Comet Sighted Over Mull

This was an unbelievable event. One for the history jotters and record books. The 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally will enter folklore for years to come. No, I’m not talking about the titanic struggle between eventual winners Calum and Iain Duffy and Paul MacKinnon and Ewen MacGillivray, I’m talking about the fact that the sun shone from the Thursday pre-event day, right through Friday Scrutineering, blessed the rally itself, and even sent us homewards with a warm and cheery glow. It was so unexpected, it was frightening. All that, and one of life’s epic motor rallying spectacles played out before our very eyes, you couldn’t wish for better.

Unfortunately, a quick look at the Final Results does nothing to indicate the high drama and even higher speeds that characterised this year’s rally. Indeed, looking at the gaps, the top eight finishers all appear to have been pretty secure in their placings at the finish. Secure? Just about as secure as a bleary-eyed, hungover service crew with a welding torch and a case of the jitters trying to fix fuel lines.

That the rally run at all is a tribute to a small band of determined and dedicated individuals backed up by a large band of helpers and volunteers, and the fact that it ran so well is evidence that the new team is fit for the job. And just in case anyone tries to slag off 2300 Club. Don’t. If anyone does, then allow me to be the first to kick their a**e. Let’s not forget that they started it, they stuck with it and through them it prospered. And it was only because of them that something rather special took place just off the west coast of Scotland each year and had done for the previous 40 years.

That is not to diminish Mull Car Club’s efforts, and the fact that they were on the case when two serious incidents befell the rally shows that the organising team has strength in depth, as it now marshals its resources and its troops to move on to the next level.

As it was, 115 cars and crews gathered in Tobermory to contest this 41st event backed once again by the patron saint of pies, biscuits and snacks – Saint Tunnock’s of Biscuitry.

Leg 1

The rally started with three crews beating the Bogey on the first stage, the 14.15 mile dash up Glen Aros and over the Hill Road. Now to put things in context, the record for this test was set in 1999 by Chris Griffiths who recorded a time of 12m 01 seconds for the run against a Bogey of 11m 20s.

This year the Bogey was set at 11m 19s – and three crews beat it. In fact, they demolished it. Now don’t let on I told you, but MacKinnon the Younger beat it by 18 seconds, Calum the Comet by 10 seconds and Dougi Hall was on a mission too, one second under. On that basis, no advantage was gained, and so on to the next test, the 8.38 mile test down Gribun Rocks.

Paul MacKinnon set a new record last year for this stage of 6m 56s, and he was the only driver under the 7 minute barrier this year, with a time of 6m 53s, yet another new record. Calum Duffy was only 7 seconds down and Dougi Hall a further 4 seconds back, but at least there was daylight (or should that be spotlight?) between them.

The third test on Friday night was the 2008 version of Loch Scridain. At 4.46 miles (Bogey time, 3m 34s), Neil MacKinnon held the record with 3m 36s. This year, Paul and Calum set identical 3m 40s times with Dougi Hall only 4 seconds off the mark. That meant that at first service, the gaps were 7 seconds between cars 1 and 2, and 8 seconds between cars 2 and 3 – after a total of 27 miles. Crazy, eh?

Then came Mishnish Lochs, the 6.55 mile version (as opposed to the 6.32 mile length) where Neil MacKinnon’s 6m 45s record from 2006 still stood. Not any more!

It was MacKinnon the Younger again with 6m 25s from Calum on 6m 29s. “I was lucky to come out of that one in one piece,” said Calum at the end of it, “the new tarmac sections were very, very slippy and I had two full-max slides and just somehow stayed on the road.” Always quick and always spectacular on this test, it was John Cope who was third quickest (6m 35s) just ahead of James MacGillivray and Dougi Hall.

MacKinnon was quicker again on Calgary and Tuath to close the first Leg with a 15 second lead over Duffy, but he was having his own troubles. “The ‘dog ‘box broke on the third stage,” said Paul, “and we only had a standard ‘box as spare, so I am having to be extra cautious and precise every time I select gear.” Calum was in trouble too with a misfire, and in response to the question ‘what?’ came up with an extremely detailed and technical response: “There was shit in the fuel filter!” So it doesn’t take a genius to work out how that was fixed.

Dougi Hall was still in with a shout, keeping tabs on the top two, but had to be aware that James MacGillivray was playing his own ‘waiting game’ in fourth place ahead of John Cope. Daniel Harper had been holding sixth place in the MINI till the fourth stage when the car disappeared some 30 feet into the undergrowth: “First I ran out of road, then I ran out of talent!” said Daniel in the MacDonald Arms afterwards.

Hugh Hunter was another early casualty when he broke a wheel and punctured two tyres in the Focus WRC01 clattering over a rock in Calgary, while young John MacCrone was left heartbroken when he retired his Fiesta on only the second stage. The car had stopped on the first stage with ECU failure and after repairs, he started the second stage only for the clutch to fail this time. He wasn’t the only one heartbroken, big things were expected of him that night. If he thought he was unlucky, think how Eddie O’Donnell must have felt. After a quick and encouraging top ten start, the alternator failed leaving him with no lights and no electrics stranded in the darkness in the middle of nowhere – a place he’s often found himself in the past.

Bruce Edwards was another early casualty when the Darrian cracked its sump and John Cressey was spotted perspiring heavily, but it was only the fear of spinning the MINI – because the starter motor had broken and he didn’t fancy trying to push start it if he did! Tristan Pye thought he was out of it when a loud ‘banging’ noise was heard coming from the rear in the second stage, but it was only an exhaust hanger which had broken and the pipe was clattering away under the Subaru.

Alan Gardiner was lucky too. Prior to the rally start the team discovered that a shock absorber had burst and replaced it. Alan shuddered to think what might have happened had it gone on the stage! John Morrison had a torrid time over the opening stages too. The Mitsubishi had developed a bad misfire and it looked as though it was overfuelling itself, but it defied all attempts to diagnose the problem. Reay MacKay was keeping an eye on the Subaru’s gearbox which was leaking oil (probably over-filled he thought) and Jimmy Christie got a puncture in the first test followed by the lightpod plug coming loose in Mishnish at which point everything suddenly went dark, very dark.

Pat Johnson went one better with two punctures in the first two tests and Tim Stell was another to incur a puncture when he clipped a rock in SS2. Steven Ronaldson broke a driveshaft in SS4 (and another one later but with no more spares had to retire) and Mark Borthwick in the Lancer was experiencing a misfire at full boost following a hard landing after the big jump in Calgary, while Alan Kirby was struggling with a two-wheel drive Impreza due to gearbox problems. Stephen Lockhart got a big scare in Gribun when the Lancer landed awkwardly after a jump which resulted in a tank-slapper, but he got away with it and then he had another at Calgary steps. You’d think he’d learn, eh? Another needing to learn quick is Lewis Gallagher. After a stunning time on the first stage, the number 54 seed parked it on the beach on the second!

And I liked Wayne Sisson’s quote at the end of the first Leg: “I’m not brave enough, but happy enough. It’s too quick and too dry!” Not helping matters much was a loose spotlight which was waggling around and very disconcerting to say the least.

Leg 2

The sun came up with a vengeance for the Saturday afternoon second Leg. As the temperatures rose and the road surfaces got hotter, tyres turned to the consistency of butter in a baker’s oven. Everyone had tyre trouble, even the wummin pushing her wean in a balloon tyred buggy!

It was into this cauldron that the survivors headed with MacKinnon, Duffy and MacGillivray all cleaning the first test before Duffy got his nose in front for the first time in Calgary. “I think we hit the same rock as Calum did,” said Paul, “but he got away with it and we got a puncture. That’s rallying.”

MacKinnon bounced back with an 8 second recovery over Mishnish, but it was Duffy by a second on Gribun and MacKinnon by a second on Scridain which left the Saturday afternoon leaderboard showing Duffy ahead by 8 seconds. MacGillivray had moved up to third after a scintillating run over Mishnish: “That was the fastest I’ve ever driven over the Lochs,” he said, while Dougi Hall had dropped back with punctures on the 7th test and 9th tests but still well in the hunt, although he did happen to mention that: “I’ve brought my really hard tyres with me every year – except this year.”

John Cope was fifth and Willie Bonniwell sixth – and about to move up a place. Just before the Saturday night final Leg start, Cope’s Subaru developed an engine fault and with no time to fix it, the pub beckoned. John Swinscoe was in the top ten and he too was experiencing trouble, but with his brakes: “I’ve got new discs and pads coming over on the 4 o’clock boat hopefully in time for tonight,” he said. John Cressey with his son Martin on the Notes was in the top ten by this time and was chuckling hard at the finish of Scridain: “I’ve just had a huge moment in there,” he said, so what was funny I asked, and he replied a bit more sheepishly: “I was showboating to my boy!” Aye, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Tony Bardy was the next high profile non-finisher when the Nissan broke an input shaft on the gearbox just as the car coasted over the Finish line of the final stage, but he was a long way from Service.

Leg 3

As the sun dipped over the horizon, the wind sprang up, but mercifully it stayed dry, although the competition was still white hot. It was Duffy by 2 seconds and 1, then MacKinnon by 1 over the next three stages, before the matter was all but settled on the 22 mile Loch Tuath/Calgary monster. MacKinnon’s Subaru slid on to the grass on the first corner and buckled a wheel on a rock. “The vibration was so bad, it nearly shook the windscreen out,” said Paul. Even so, he didn’t relax the pressure with Duffy only too well aware that his slightest mistake would drop him into his rival’s clutches.

The long stage was also MacGillivray’s undoing and he punctured too putting him at the mercy of the shadowing Hall who took full advantage and kept the Lancer in front all the way to the finish.

Willie Bonniwell was pleased with fifth ahead of Tristan Pye who was pretty much on top ten pace throughout despite so few events this season. Wayne Sisson was 7th ahead of John Swinscoe just relieved to see the finish: “That’s given me my confidence back after the shunts we’ve had,” said John.

Rounding off the top ten were Steve Cressey and Billy Bird, but John Cresssey might well have been in there too, but for a puncture on the 22 miler. He had no choice but to stop and fit the spare – and then found the jack had seized solid. Once it had been freed off and the car jacked up, it jammed again, and if anyone saw some puffs of bright blue air in the darkness on the west coast they’ll now know the reason why. That guy can cuss for ten minutes without repeating himself.

At the finish, Calum paid tribute to Paul: “That’s the hardest we’ve ever been pushed. The commitment levels were phenomenal and despite the dry weather, conditions were changeable, especially the new tarmac which offered different levels of grip depending on whether it was night or daylight.” It was an opinion shared by co-driving brother Iain: “It’s the fastest he’s ever driven. We say it every year ‘the pace can’t get any hotter’ and yet it does, and it did again this year.”

And to top it all off, Tunnock’s had delivered a truck load of pies for the finishers, so I had one too. Then when the second tray of pies came out, and purely in the interests of science, quality control and maintaining standards, I had one from the second tray. By goad it wiz hoat, awfy hoat. So there I was, surrounded by all these rally stars under a star studded sky looking out over the harbour lights of Tobermory Bay, munching a Tunnock’s pie. Magic, pure magic. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

The Classes:

Mark and Andrew Constantine were convincing winners of the 1400cc Class A, their Vauxhall Corsa simply requiring a bit of extra ride height at first service. Mark Tarbutt was less than a minute and a half behind, but engine problems during the daylight section cost him dear. Duggie Ingram was third in the Mini despite having to constantly top it up with oil: “It’s not a problem,” he explained, “it’s just a BL thing.” while the expected challenge from John Paterson faded as did the engine in his Nova.

Ian Chadwick was the 1600cc Class B winner and delighted with that as he was a previous 1400 class winner and had now added the 1600 class win to his trophy list. In second place, Euan MacKay was happier with the fact that he had closed the gap on his Dad Allan MacKay (driving a Mitsubishi Lancer) to 4 seconds rather than taking second place in the 1600 class. Oddly enough, third placed Alex Brown was just as delighted with his Dad-catching exploits finishing 8 seconds behind Donald (driving a Subaru Impreza) in his Citroen Saxo. And this despite a broken shock absorber mounting after a clattery landing over a jump in Gribun. Mike Storrar might have given these three more of a run for their money had his Toyota engined Anglia not blown a head gasket and the same goes for Richard Sykes. His wee Citroen leapt off the road and into a ditch on Friday night and it would have stayed there had it not been for the spectators lifting the whole kit and caboodle back on to the road, while Gareth White’s C2 also ended up in the heather, but without enough spectators to help him out. Malcolm Davey’s Mk1 Escort retired with a dead alternator and Jim McDowall had the Avenger’s head gasket fail on Friday night and then broke the gearbox on Saturday.

Billy Bird was the 2 litre Class C winner in his immaculate looking Vauxhall Chevette from Grum Willcock in his Opel Manta which had survived a few sessions without brakes on its way to the rally finish. More worrying was an occasion in the darkness when a wire broke on the alternator plunging him into darkness. But what I loved best was his comment after he looked at the times on Saturday: “I’ve driven shitloads faster than I’ve ever driven before, and I’m still dropping back places this afternoon!”

Chris Haigh had to overcome a few brakeless moments too on his way to third although early class leader Iain Ogg MacKenzie retired following a road accident when he swerved trying to avoid a large deer. Derek Carless had a puncture in the Peugeot on SS1, Stewart Morrison broke the Escort’s panhard rod on the daylight stages and had to drive the Lochs with the rear axle floating about doing its own thing and Neil Morgan had problems with his Escort’s ECU cutting out at Stage Starts and then broke down on the way to Craignure service. Matthew Fisher was having clutch trouble in the Escort while Lorn McFadyen did half the first stage jammed in 4th gear then cracked the manifold, but after changing the ‘box and doing a bit of welding was back on the road for Saturday.

Tony MacKintosh from Colby on the Isle of Man retired after the very first stage when the Corsa developed a bad fuel problem filling the car with fumes and making the crew ill. They couldn’t fix it, and that was the end of that.

Stuart Egglestone was another front running retirement when he first had an oil pressure problem, followed by fuel, pump failure, then an ignition fault followed by clutch failure – busy times, eh?

Paul Daniel had a wee off in Gribun rumbling over the rocks, but it bent the Escort’s panhard rod at the rear. John Woodward had to stop and change the Escort’s ECU in SS1 and then the alternator packed up. Young Steven O’Donnell’s rally ended when the Escort head-butted a boulder, Andrew Moverley’s Escort had diff problems, David Riley’s Astra broke its clutch release lever and Fergus Gray’s wee Peugeot left its exhaust somewhere in Gribun while Craig Rutherford retired his Honda Civic with engine problems.

Results:

1 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort MkII) 2h 06m 13s
2 Paul MacKinnon/Ewan MacGillivray (Subaru Impreza) 2h 07m 43s
3 Dougi Hall/Alistair Wylie (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 10m 32s
4 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Ford Escort MkII) 2h 11m 56s
5 Willie Bonniwell/Allan MacDougall (Subaru Impreza) 2h 12m 12s
6 Tristan Pye/Andrew Falconer (Subaru Impreza) 2h 16m 12s
7 Wayne Sisson/Daniel Stone (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 17m 46s
8 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 19m 11s
9 Steve Cressey/Sam Collis (Subaru Impreza) 2h 20m 10s
10 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Chevette) 2h 20m20s

Class A:
1 Mark Constantine/Andrew Constantine (Vauxhall Corsa) 2h 27m 11s
2 Matt Tarbutt/Joff Haigh (Vauxhall Nova) 2h 28m 35s
3 Douglas Ingram/Olum MacCrone (Austin Mini) 2h 36m34s

Class B:
1 Ian Chadwick/John Bould (Peugeot 106) 2h 27m 00s
2 Euan MacKay/Michelle Falconer (Peugeot 106) 2h 30m 48s
3 Alec Brown/Stewart Wilshire (Citroen Saxo) 2h 33m 48s

Class C:
1 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Chevette) 2h 20m 20s
2 Grum Willcock/Donna Harper (Opel Manta) 2h 21m 55s
3 Chris Haigh/Sally Peacock (Ford Escort MkI) 2h 22m 10s

**

The Accidents

Stage 2 was stopped when the Ford Escort of John Cowe and Colin Richardson smacked ‘Horne’s Rock’ and the duo were taken to the local hospital in Salen. Colin was later airlifted to Paisley and he’s still there, as this is being written, but out of danger.

The other accident occurred prior to the start of the final Leg on Saturday night when Iain Ogg MacKenzie and his Dad, Angus, were driving up the Craignure road towards Salen. Iain swerved to avoid a large deer on the road and the Fiesta struck a tree. Again both were taken to Salen Hospital where once again an airlift was called in to transfer Angus to Paisley. By Sunday afternoon, Angus was all ready for going home but the authorities reckoned he should stay in another night!

****

2010 – Murmur Chapter 8

MullMurmurs – Chapter 8

From the Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 2010

Provisional Leaderboard after 16 of 16 Stages

1 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)                                   2h 06m 13s
2 Paul MacKinnon/Ewan MacGillivray (Subaru Impreza)                     2h 07m 43s
3 Dougi Hall/Alistair Wylie (Mitsubishi Lancer)                                  2h 20m 32s
4 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Ford Escort MkII)                           2h 11m 56s
5 Willie Bonniwell/Allan MacDougall (Subaru Impreza)                      2h 12m 12s
6 Tristan Pye/Andrew Falconer (Subaru Impreza)                          2h 16m 12s
7 Wayne Sisson/Daniel Stone (Mitsubishi Lancer)                           2h 17m 46s
8 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer)                      2h 19m 11s
9 Steve Cressey/Sam Collis (Subaru Impreza)                                2h 20m 10s
10 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Chevette)                                2h 20m20s Class C Winner

21 Ian Chadwick/  (Peugeot 106)                                              2h 27m 00s Class B Winner
22 Mark Constantine/Andrew Constantine (Vauxhall Corsa)            2h 27m 11s Class A Winner

Lords of the Miles

To those of our visitors wondering where the term ‘Lords of the Miles’ came from, perhaps a word of explanation is needed. The original ‘Lords of the Isles’ were the first kings of Scotland almost 1,000 years ago, and I suppose I was just getting carried away with the sheer majesty of Mull and the speed and spectacle of those magnificent men and glorious gals in their fleeting machines. And to the newcomers to Mull from amongst these visitors, I have another word of knowledge to impart. The weather is always like this over here! Honest it is, would I fib to you?

And what a weekend this was for the 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally being run by a brand new team. The weather was as benign as the competition was fierce, but as in any sport, there can be only one winner. Last year’s winner had the Number 1 on the door panel, and that was the position that Calum and Iain finished on this year’s historic event. But it wasn’t easy. Paul MacKinnon and Ewan MacGillivray snatched an early lead and hung on to it tenaciously like a wee dug wi’ a burst ba’.

Even when the gearbox broke and a standard unit had to be fitted, MacKinnon kept his head, but a puncture in Calgary and a failed centre diff dropped him into Calum’s clutches. His fate was sealed on The Long One when he slid off the road within sight of the start and buckled a wheel. He dropped over a minute to the leader and you don’t do that to a man like Calum the Comet. He wasn’t without his troubles either, a blocked fuel filter on Friday night had caused a misfire but he was back on song on the Saturday afternoon daylight stages. He also dropped the gearing for the final night’s push, changing g the drop gears to give himself better acceleration at the expense of top speed. After that there was no stopping him.

And yet he couldn’t give up, MacKinnon was still on full re-heat, the Subaru harrying the tail of the Escort. One mistake and that lead would have gone. The pace was relentless, it was also quite lunatic. In this sport, the win is never assured till the car crosses the finish line. Calum could not relax until he could smell the Tunnock’s pies at the rally finish in Tobermory. Over that final 12 mile mad dash up the Hill Road and wild plunge down Glen Bellart, they both beat the Bogey (11m 10s) and blootered the previous record.

At the finish Calum paid tribute to Paul’s persistence: “That’s the hardest we’ve ever been pushed. The commitment levels were phenomenal and despite the dry weather, conditions were changeable, especially the new tarmac which offered different levels of grip depending on whether it was night or daylight.” It was an opinion shared by co-driving brother Iain: “It’s the fastest he’s ever driven. We say it every year ‘the pace can’t get any hotter’ and yet it does, and it did again this year.”

Paul was naturally disappointed: “I couldn’t have done much more. We had some good stages and some bad ones. In Calgary I think we hit the same rock Calum did. He got away with it we got a puncture. That’s rallying.”

The competition was just as fierce behind them. Dougi Hall initially held third place but James MacGillivray was persistently on his pace and on Saturday afternoon edged ahead going into the final night section when Dougi had two punctures: “My own fault,” he said. James then punctured on the long one and Dougi was there to capitalise, snatching third place with 3 stages to go. He still didn’t let up, but neither did James and they went at it like two wasps in a bottle.

John Cope failed to re-start on Saturday due to engine problems, so Willie Bonniwell moved up into fifth place after a slow start. The Dad-to-be has missed a few rallies this year so professed to being  a mite rusty at the start. Tristan Pye scored a solid sixth in the GrpN Impreza ahead of Wayne Sisson on his third visit to the island while John Swinscoe was delighted to finish: “That’s given me my confidence back after the shunts we’ve had,” he said at the finish. Steve Cressey moved up to 9th place after a hectic close-fought dice with namesake (and no relation|) John Cressey who punctured on The Long One and then the jack seized! Rounding off the top ten was Billy Bird in that stunning looking Chevette with wheels the size of windmills winning the 2 litre class in the process. Ian Chadwick was dead chuffed with his 1600cc class win adding that to previous 1400cc class wins while the tiddler class this year was dominated by Mark Constantine.

But those were the lucky ones. Daniel Harper plunged off the road on the 4th test when first “I ran out of road, then ran out of talent” and Tony Bardy was on the case till the Nissan hit mechanical problems with one stage to go. Hugh Hunter shattered a wheel, John MacCrone parked up on the very first stage and Eddie O’Donnell had alternator failure. John Morrison had over-fuelling problems, Stuart Egglestone had an ignition fault and then the clutch broke and Reay MacKay was getting quite used to the big Subaru before it spat out its dummy after final service. Cameron MacLean broke the Escort, Bruce Edwards cracked the Darrian’s sump, Jimmy Christie was cruelly robbed of a finish on the final stage when the head gasket failed and Steven Ronaldson had two separate driveshaft failures – and no more spares!

There were two accidents during the weekend, one on the rally and the other avoiding a deer before the start of the final Leg. As we write this, two crew members remain in hospital for observation and we wish them well. Scottish rallying has had a tough time over the past couple of weeks but it has highlighted the sheer professionalism of the ‘amateur’ Rally Rescue and Paramedic crews who look after our sport. We hope we never need you, but are only too glad to have you. Our thanks to all of you who do such sterling and dedicated work.

Our thanks too, to the brand new team who took over the running of this year’s 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally. I won’t highlight any individuals because this was a team effort supported by the local Cooncillors and the Polis, who had an extra busy night, and to all the local folks and businesses who rallied round to ensure that the ‘best rally in the world’ lived up to its name and reputation. And in keeping with one of my own traditions, a special thanks to the man whose vision and tenacity led to the creation of this annual motor sports extravaganza in the first place. Thanks Brian.

If I was asked to sum up this year’s event, oddly enough, I could do it in one word:

Supercaramelisticallyextremelytastilydelicious

In other words our grateful thanks also to Saint Tunnock’s of Biscuitry, the purveyors of the bestest biscuits in the business and the most succulent pies. And how do I know this? I had two pies last night, one from each tray – purely in the interests of assessing the standards of quality you understand.

That’s yer lot for this year,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory Bay, Sunday, 12 Noon.

( Note: MullMurmurs also available online at: www.mullrally.com  or  www.scotmaps.co.uk )

2010 – Murmur Chapter 7

MullMurmurs – Chapter 7

From the Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 2010

Top Times after 11 (of 16 Stages)

1 Calum Duffy 1hr 18m 43s
2 Paul MacKinnon     1hr 18m 51s
3 James MacGillivray 1hr 20m 44s
4 Dougi Hall 1hr 20m 53s
5 John Cope 1hr 21m 32s
6 Willie Bonniwell 1hr 22m 19s
7 Tristan Pye 1hr 24m 46s
8 Wayne Sisson 1hr 25m 48s
9 John Cressey 1hr 26m 24s
10 Steve Cressey 1hr 26m 37s

12 Iain Ogg MacKenzie Leading Class C
24 Ian Chadwick Leading Class B
27 Mark Constantine Leading Class A

If the sun shines on the righteous then the Mull Car Club stalwarts must be among ‘the chosen ones’. If you had told me prior to the rally that we would have had sunshine and pavement cafe temperatures I would have taken your wine gums and Sanatogen away from you. Or maybe it’s sunstroke. Whatever, lets enjoy this sun-blessed caramelicious 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally.

Calum Duffy continues to lead the rally but can’t relax for a moment because MacKinnon the Younger is like Tam O’Shanter’s witch – hanging on to his tail! It’s the same in third place where James MacGillivray is just doing enough to stay ahead of Dougi Hall, but I’m a tad sad at the moment. Young Iain Ogg MacKenzie has dropped out of the top ten in his Fiesta – but only because the auld men in the faster cars can see where they are going in daylight!

Speaking of auld men, John Cressey had a ‘big moment’ in Scridain: “I was showboating to the boy,” he said referring to his co-driving son Martin. It kind of makes you wonder who the more adult member of the crew is!

Tony Bardy had a lucky escape too. He had just ‘yumped’ through the Flying Finish at Scridain and snapped a shaft on landing but it was downhill to the Stop line and he coasted all the way and got his time! Jammy sod, eh?

And here’s a tale that would bring a tear to a glass eye. Tony MacKintosh from Colby on the Isle of Man had long wanted to do Mull, and this year was his chance, so over he came. After the very first stage, he was back on the road to home! The Corsa had developed a bad fuel problem filling the car with fumes and making the crew ill. They couldn’t fix it, and that was the end of that. Rallying, eh? It will break your heart quicker than your bank balance.

And here’s a tale to warm your heart. One of the girls in the Results team is celebrating her 32nd wedding anniversary today. Hearty congratulations to Catherine and Miles, and what a wonderfully romantic way to spend such an occasion here on this golden isle – working in the bleedin’ Rally HQ sweatbox!

And now there is just one Leg left. To be run during the hours of darkness. A time when monsters and ghouls stalk the glens. You’ll hear them roaring in the hills tonight but don’t believe the locals trying to tell you its only the stags and the rutting season. Nope, they are just trying to be kind to you, it really will be scary out there tonight.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ONE AND ALL – When you are out watching tonight, can you all please ensure that you take your litter home. This is a plea from the organisers to all spectators, failure to do so could jeopardise the future of the rally!

That’s yer lot for now,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Saturday, 6.00 pm.

( Note: MullMurmurs also available online at: www.mullrally.com  or  www.scotmaps.co.uk )

2010 – Murmur Chapter 6

MullMurmurs – Chapter 6

From the Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 2010

Top Times after 9 (of 16 Stages)

1 Calum Duffy 68m 22s
2 Paul MacKinnon     68m 30s
3 James MacGillivray 70m 00s
4 Dougi Hall 70m 19s
5 John Cope 70m 42s
6 Willie Bonniwell 71m 48s
7 Tristan Pye 73m 38s
8 Wayne Sisson 74m 27s
9 John Cressey 75m 07s
10 Steve Cressey 75m 15s

The weather is warm, the drivers are hot and the competition is boiling on this 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally. So it’s not surprising that cars and crews are wilting and tyres are melting. That’s the biggest issue of the day so far – tyres!

The biggest news is that Calum Duffy has snatched the lead from overnight leader Paul MacKinnon.

“The misfire last night was caused by shit in the fuel,” explained Calum, “the filter was clogged so that seems to have cured it.”

As for Paul MacKinnon, he got a puncture in Calgary: “We clipped a rock and the front tyre went down,” said Paul, “and now the centre diff has stopped working in that last stage.”

Dougi Hall has also dropped behind James MacGillivray to 4th place: “We got a rear puncture with 5 miles to go in that first one today and I think I cooked the clutch a wee bit on the uphill hairpins out of Devaig,” said Dougi.

Willie Bonniwell commented: “Nobody has hard tyres. It’s Mull, it’s October, who would have thought we would have need some hard tyres on this event?”

John Cressey’s co-driving son Martin was awestruck by his Dad’s driving over Mishnish: “The tyres went off half way through – I’ve never been driven so fats in a rally car before,” he said.

So just how difficult are conditions? Calum Duffy said:” I had two of the biggest moments of my life in there on the new tar,” he said, “full max power slides and I wasn’t sure I was going to get away with it.” Fortunately for him, and use, he did.

So if you think it’s warm for us just outside watching, what must it be like inside those cars today?

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ONE AND ALL – Please take your litter home. This is a plea from the organisers to all spectators, please take your litter home for proper disposal. Failure to do so could jeopardise the rally!

That’s yer lot for now,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Riverside, Tobermory, Saturday, 3.00 pm.

( Note: MullMurmurs also available online at: www.mullrally.com  or  www.scotmaps.co.uk )

 

2010 – Murmur Chapter 5

MullMurmurs – Chapter 5

From the Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 2010

Top Times after 6 (of 16 Stages)

1 Paul MacKinnon     47m 07s
2 Calum Duffy 47m 22s
3 Dougi Hall 48m 14s
4 James MacGillivray 48m 45s
5 John Cope 49m 31s
6 Willie Bonniwell 50m 25s
7 Tristan Pye 51m 35s
8 Wayne Sisson 52m 19s
9 Iain Ogg MacKenzie 52m 21s
10 Steve Cressey 52m 43s

14 Billy Bird Leading Class C

22 Ian Chadwick Leading Class B

28 Mark Constantine Leading Class A

The Lords of the Miles ruled the roads of Mull last night. The weather may have been mild and benevolent but not so the pace of this 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally.

Paul MacKinnon is in blistering form leading the rally by a mere 15 seconds after 6 Special Stages, from last year’s winner Callum Duffy. Even so the leaders are wilting. “I’m having to be so delicate with the gearbox,” said Paul, “we had to put a standard ‘box in last night at service when the dog box broke and I’m scared the torque of this engine will break the new ‘box.” The words ‘delicate’ and ‘rally driver’ don’t usually run together, but hopefully there is a new competition gearbox on its way from the mainland overnight, “I’m not giving up yet” he said.

Callum Duffy struck trouble over the last three stages last night too: “I’ve got a misfire,” he said, “I switched over to the spare fuel pump for the thirds test, and it was better, but by the end of the stage it was misfiring again, so we’ll have to check that out before the Daylight run.”

Having been there so often before, either leading or in the leading pack, Dougi Hall was staying tight lipped: “The tyres are to soft,” he said, “and I was advised to run these, but I need harder tyres for these conditions.” Even so, he’s less than a minute behind Duffy and happy with his own pace.

James MacGillivray is another looking for harder tyres … Wayne Sisson had a loose spotlight which was waggling about – very disconcerting at high speed in the dark! … Steve Cressey heaved a sigh of relief at the end of the first Leg, “I haven’t hit a deer yet!” referring to last year’s narrow escapes … Alan Gardiner’s gearshift is a bit sticky: “It goes into gear OK but you have to tug the stick back out” … John  Morrison’s spluttering has been cured but the Lancer is still not right … Reay MacKay thinks the Subaru is brilliant: “I’m getting into it now, the gearbox was rebuilt before this so took it easy over the first three” … Jimmy Christie lost his spotlights on Mishnish when the plug came out, and it’s now popping fuses, hardly the ideal problems to inspire confidence on night stages in the dark! … Mark Constantine’s class leading Corsa is handling much better having raised the ride height … Dave Thwaites has softened up the MkIIs suspension and it’s much better … Mike Storrar had a minor excursion in Calgary … Steven Ronaldson broke a driveshaft in Mishnish … and if you think the competition is fierce at the front spare a thought for Allan MacKay in the Lancer. His boy Euan MacKay is catching him in the wee Peugeot 106. “I daren’t pass him,” said Euan, “otherwise I’ll be sleeping in the garden!”

And my star of the rally so far, it has to be Iain Ogg MacKenzie. First time out in the Fiesta he’s lying in the top ten. Gaun yersel Oggy.

And if you think that a mild Mull is kinder to rally cars than a wild Mull, don’t kid yourself. Higher speeds mean that when you go off, you go off further, just ask Daniel Harper. He disappeared through the trees and bushes for 30 feet before coming to a rest off the road in Mishnish Lochs last night. Hugh Hunter is out too with a broken wheel and punctures, John MacCrone retired earlier on the Hill Road with the Fiesta, the O’Donnell twins are out with alternator failure and no lights, Cameron Mac Lean retired too as did Bruce Edwards who cracked the Darrian’s sump which lost all it’s oil. As for John Cowe, he celebrated Guy Fawkes early when the Escort had a bump and caught fire in Gribun. Fortunately both he and Colin Richardson got out although the reckoning is that John’s wallet will be well singed too by the time he gets this fixed!

That’s yer lot for now,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory Hotel, Saturday, Noon.

( Note: MullMurmurs also available online at: www.mullrally.com  or  www.scotmaps.co.uk )

2010 – Murmur Chapter 4

MullMurmurs – Chapter 4

From the Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 2010

Top Times after 3 (of 16 Stages)

1 Paul MacKinnon     21m 52s
2 Calum Duffy 21m 59s
3 Dougi Hall 22m 07s
4 James MacGillivray 22m 33s
5 John Cope 22m 53s
6 Daniel Harper 22m 58s
7 Hugh Hunter 23m 22s
8 Willie Bonniwell 23m 31s
9 Eddie O’Donnell Jnr 23m 41s
10 Tristan Pye 23m 58s

The top three are going at it hammer and tongs out there in the dark and the dry on this 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally. And that’s a surprise in itself – dry I mean. This is Mull after all!

MacKinnon and Duffy tied on the third test at Loch Scridain and Dougi Hall was only 4 seconds behind them, but MacKinnon’s Subaru is showing the strain already. He was having to hold it in 5th and 6th gear over the last stage before service as it was jumping out, but the Pye Motorsport boys changed the gearbox although it’s only a standard synchro box they have put in. Fingers crossed. Duffy is having his own troubles too: “The tyres keep going off so you have to back off till they come back, and then they go off again. You just can’t rely on the grip when you need it!” As for Hall: “I’m just keeping in touch – that Bogey on the first stage helped though!” Holding station in 4th is James MacGillivray: “I’m just hanging back – waiting to pick up the pieces!” he said hopefully.

Other tales included Willie Bonniwell losing his maplight in SS1 … Tristan Pye snapped an exhaust hanger and the banging noises made him think it was something worse so he backed off … Wayne Sisson said: “I’m not brave enough but happy. It’s too quick and it’s too dry!” … Hugh Hunter is really enjoying his first Mull sporting a huge grin … Young Ogg MacKenzie is enjoying his first run in the Fiesta but hasn’t found its limits yet: “It’s deceiving. It’s much smoother and quieter than my own car, but it’s quicker” … John Cressey had to push start the MINI at SS3 when the starter motor failed: “I daren’t spin it” he said … Alan Gardiner said a shock absorber burst a seal before the rally start: “Better then than on the rally,” he said … John Morrison lost 4 mins in SS3: “I think it’s the CAT material in the exhaust blocking it, it popped and banged its way all through the stage” … Reay MacKay’s Subaru is losing gearbox oil … Curly Haigh is back to his old brake pads … Eddie O’Donnell had his alternator fail … Stuart Egglestone says the car is fine just the driver that’s rusty but having to keep an eye on fluctuating oil pressure and fuel pump which has cut out twice so far … Grum Wilcock had the brakes go again on SS2 and then a wire came off the alternator finishing the stage with very little light … Jimmy Christie got a left front puncture in SS1 … Pat Johnson was luckier, he had two punctures just as he was leaving the finish of SS1 so got them changed before SS2 … Paul Daniel went off over the rocks in Gribun but bounced back on the road bending the Watts linkage in the process … Mark Constantine’s suspension in the Corsa was crashing out over the first 3 tests but raised the ride height at service … Mike Storrar is losing a bit of gearbox oil … Dave Thwaites is finding his suspension too hard in the MkII, crashing out and bump steering … Billy Bird is having his first run out in the Chevette: “It’s a lot better than the Astra” he said … and Tim Stell hit a boulder in SS2 and punctured a tyre

And with the weather holding out so far, Mull is sure in a mellow frame of mind – and so am I, I’ve just had a lovely vegetable and chicken pie in the Salen Hotel. Ain’t life wonderful.

That’s yer lot for now,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Friday, Gone Midnight.

( Note: MullMurmurs also available online at: www.mullrally.com  or  www.scotmaps.co.uk )

 

2010 – Murmur Chapter 3

MullMurmurs – Chapter 3

From the Tunnock’s Mull Rally, 2010

Top Times after 2 (of 16 Stages)

1 Paul MacKinnon     18m 12s
2 Calum Duffy 18m 19s
3 Dougi Hall 18m 23s
4 James MacGillivray 18m 44s
5 Daniel Harper 19m 06s
6 John Cope 19m 08s
7 Hugh Hunter 19m 33s
8 Willie Bonniwell 19m 41s
9 Iain Ogg MacKenzie 20m 00s
10 Tristan Pye 20m 04s

What’s that old saying – starts with bang and builds up to a climax? That’s the 41st Tunnock’s Mull Rally for you. The top three seeds cleaned the opening stage up Glen Aros and over the Hill Road – incredibubble, that’s what it is. How fast were they going? All three overtook the Tardis.

No advantage was gained by MacKinnon the Younger who was quicker than Calum Duffy with Dougi Hall beating the Bogey time too.

At the stage finish, Paul said: “We lost the intercom part way through that test and the tyres went off. The pressures were up to 50 psi!” That speaks volumes concerning the pace of the leading Subaru.

Calum looked quite calm saying: “That was a good start, the stage was good.” As for Daniel Harper, he uttered: “That was effin quick in there.” I wonder what he means.

James MacGillivray went too soft on tyre choice for the first one but has fitted harder compounds now. John Rintoul lost the Notes half way through too.  Curly Haigh said the brakes were fading and Grum Wilcock had similar problems, as did the O’Donnell twins. John Morrison came in sweating hard despite saying: “That was just a steady run through there.” On the other hand, his co-driver Louise Sutherland looked as fragrant and unruffled as ever. She fair puts us sweaty blokes in our place!

Sadly, young John MacCrone hit trouble in the first stage. He was spotted parked up on the Hill Road and phone in to say he had mechanical trouble so we don’t yet know what’s up.

The hectic pace continued through Gribun where Paul MacKinnon was fastest from Calum Duffy by 7 seconds with Dougi Hall still pushing hard just 4 seconds behind.

That’s yer lot for now,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Friday, Gone 10.00 pm.

( Note: MullMurmurs also available online at: www.mullrally.com  or  www.scotmaps.co.uk )