2001 – Murmur Chapter 10

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 10

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 18 (of 18) Special Stages:
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza) 2Hr 20m 54s
2 John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos) 2.29.59
3 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 2.31.07
4 Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.31.34
5 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort) 2.32.37
6 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 2.33.42
7 Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 2.34.25
8 Roger Binyon/Nick Bray (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.35.00
9 Bob Cowe/John Baird (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.35.45
10 Stuart McQueen/Alistair Green (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.36.34

Just how tough was the 32nd Philips Tour of Mull Rally? 12 of the top 20 seeds either didn't make it, or struck serious trouble. Multiply that through an entry of 160 cars and you get some idea of the terrible attraction that this unique event exerts.

Not so the number two seeds Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte. In a remarkable display of absolute control and commitment, MacKinnon scored a record 10th victory on the island in the Kenny McKinstry prepared Impreza. Well, apart from one indiscretion, "I had a big 360 plus at Dervaig on the first night. It was so tight I had to drive back up the road and handbrake it – but don't tell the organisers – after that, it just clicked. The GrpA car was easier to drive than last year's GrpN-and-a-bit machine. All I had to do was keep an eye on Duffy."

In second place were John and Tony Cope first time out in their new GrpA Escort. "What an animal," said John (about the car, not his brother), "it's just so quick I couldn't take my hand off the gearstick. I had to drive one-handed just changing up and down all the time with the other."

"I've finished in every position in the top ten on this event except 1st and 7th," said 3rd placed John Cressey and Ian Grindrod. Even more remarkable than their finishing record is the fact that it was achieved without the use of many of the colourful profanities which have punctuated previous attempts at winning this event. "I was 2nd in '86 but I've never been 3rd before. 17th at the end of the first night and 3rd now, and all thanks to the service crew." A sentiment echoed by every other competitor in this event. And whilst on the subject, what about the marshals?' Thanks to each and everyone of you. And to the good folks of Mull for putting up with us. Mind you it was all getting a bit fraught for a wee while with Foot & Mouth threatening the event in particular and the sport in general.

But it wasn't all good news. Number 1 seed Calum Duffy delivered his usual dose of fireworks but they fizzled out in Gribun courtesy of a broken oil-cooler and Dougi Hall saw delight turn to despair, oddly enough, also in Gribun, going the other way. Then the new-Dad, James MacGillivray, struck trouble when the engine developed a death rattle. And what about young Steven Clark? Up to 6th and going well, then bang – driveshaft broke. That was just bluidy cruel.

Many other top seeds didn't get that far. The O'Donnell twins blew a head gasket on Friday night and Willie Bonniwell in the 'Blue Bullet' fired himself off the road on Mishnish Lochs. Daniel Harper dropped 11 minutes with an off and then got stuck with 'notional times' in accident-effected stages. Otherwise his 25th o/a placing could have been a hell of a lot higher in the single figures. It's a damn shame that so much effort generated so little reward.

Mark Jasper lost a wheel in the Metro, Rob Barry cowped it and Mark Hudson wrecked it. Others who disappeared like ghosts in the dark included Lyndon Barton, Steve Davies, Martin Healer and George Grieve.

Doug Weir won 1600 class with a sensational run into 7th overall with Anguis Mathieson 2nd in class (13th (o/a) and Mark Durham 3rd (15th). Chris Tooze clinched the 1300 class (21st) ahead of James Wright (30th) and Terry Rooke (33rd). John Cressey was also top in the 2 litre class and also top 2 Wheel Drive runner while Eddie O'Donnell, Willie Bonniwell and Steven Clark were the undoubted stars of the Trophy Rally.

But Mull is not just about results, it's about taking part. Like Donald Brown (79) and his 16 year old rally-daft daughter, Lynsey, co-driving on her first event. Like Stuart Atkinson (99) who will always be able to find his service crew in the busiest of service halts courtesy of Emmannuelle the illuminated, inflatable sheep (honest, it's true). Like Tony Bardy's co-driver Reg whose wife gave him a lucky black cat to make sure he got round in one piece and with the instruction to keep it close at all times – so he sat on it for the duration (good job it wasn't a real one). And like Dave Calvert, competing on his 27th Mull, but breaking a half shaft and retiring – his first non-finish in all those attempts!

And finally, my own personal thanks to 'Bulletin Bill' and Hyundai for the loan of the 'Big Red Bulletin Bus' (Hyundai Trajet) and all those competitors and service crews who have so generously contributed to 'MullMurmurs' over the years. Without you, there would have been no bulletins, all I did was record the facts. And just as the pen is mightier than the sword, so the airwaves will become mightier than the newsheets. Thanks for everything. Our thanks also to Philips – the vital spark!

And finally, finally. As an example of tenacity and an inspiration to us all, our thanks must also go to the 'silent spectator' without whom we would have nothing to report. Next time you pass the Cairn at Dervaig just doff the cap or tug the forelock in acknowledgement. You know something? He really WAS there over the past couple of nights, I could smell the pipe baccy. Thanks Brian.

That's yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Sunart View, Tob, 2.00pm Sunday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 9

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 9

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 18 (of 18) Special Stages:

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza) 2Hr 20m 54s
2 John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos) 2.29.59
3 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 2.31.07
4 Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.31.34
5 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort) 2.32.37
6 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 2.33.42
7 Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 2.34.25
8 Roger Binyon/Nick Bray (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.35.00
9 Bob Cowe/John Baird (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.35.45
10 Stuart McQueen/Alistair Green (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.36.34

Records are made to be broken and that's what Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte have done. On the 32nd Philips Tour of Mull Rally, MacKinnon clinched his 10th outright victory. As ever, he made it look easy, but driving these roads in such slippery and changeable conditions is anything but, as the cleaning bills for underwear will testify when everyone gets round to it next week!

John and Tony Cope came here aiming for a top five finish, "We had the car and the ability, all we needed was a bit of luck. To get second, we're just over the moon."

As for John Cressey and Ian Grindrod, their achievement must stand out as a beacon to all those who think that youth and vigour will always win out against age and experience, "I was second in '86 but I've never been 3rd before. 17th at the end of the first night and 3rd now, it's all due to the service crew, they've put in a power of work. I break it, they mend it."

But they are the lucky ones. Calum Duffy disappeared from the runner-up position when the oil-cooler broke. It wasn't really his fault, the road just came up and smacked it. James MacGillivray too was in trouble, "The throttle cable broke. I used a bit of baler twine to operate the throttle and steered with the other hand, while Brian worked the gears – and no-one passed us in 7 miles." But they were out at the end of the next stage with an engine rattle. As for Dougi Hall, second place was in the bag till the Escort coasted to a silent halt in Gribun. As yet we haven't found out what exactly happened.

It also looks as though Doug Weir has clinched the 1600 class with an excellent 7th overall in such high speed company while Chris Tooze appears to have the 1300 class sewn up. Cressey's 3rd earned him top 2 Wheel Drive accolades but all results are provisional until declared final at 2:00 pm on Sunday. Jim Oddy retired at the end of SS13 with a broken gearbox and Chris Paton retired with a broken clutch.

That's yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, 3:00am Sunday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 7

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 7

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 13 (of 18) Special Stages:

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza)  1Hr 28m 07s
2 Dougi Hall/Gareth Williams (Ford Escort) 1.30.39
3 James MacGillivray/Brian Kennedy (V'hall Corsa) 1.34.31
4 John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos) 1.35.07
5 Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort) 1.35.16
6 Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1.35.33
7 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 1.35.53
8 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort) 1.36.57
9 Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 1.37.35
10 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 1.38.01

Rallying can sometimes be one of the most cruel sports in the world. Just when you think things are going well, Lady Luck gives you a right good slap on both cheeks, just ask Calum Duffy and Steven Clark.

Neil MacKinnon now appears to have settled into 'rally lead conservation' mode. The Subaru's progress is still pretty rapid but it doesn't half look composed and under control. As for Duffy, 'heartbreak hell' happened in Gribun with he and Del walking away from a mechanically dead Escort. Pity too, Steven Clark. Going from 6th to 4th gear in Mishnish, the Peugeot snapped a driveshaft. Steven's immediate response was "Thank God it's not the gearbox, a driveshaft is cheaper" and then realisation dawned, he was out of the top ten and out of the rally.

Dougi Hall says "Every stage is a drama", but he's now lying 2nd. James MacGillivray also has a problem, the gearbox has lost 1st gear whereas John Cressey has lost 5th gear but the lads are hard at work getting it ready for to-night.

Frosty Smart (40) is out. After a succession of troubles last night he broke the throttle cable this afternoon and despite replacing it with Jason's bootlace he's going no further … also out is Grant Fleming (77) with head gasket failure … Robert Davies (27) got a fright when he clouted a rock and the car went up on 2 wheels … Pat Johnson (59) says "I get the usual twitches with the car over the big yumps, but my ar*e is twitching too … Tony Bardy (20) has a problem with the engine cutting out … Stuart McQueen's Lancer is looking distinctly 2nd hand after a flailing tyre took off the wing … Dave Thwaites (47) spotted on the end of a rope … Giles Brooksbank (68) has a lazy turbo, it's lagging more and more with each passing mile … Chris Tooze (38) has got a vibration from the front end … Chris Paton (67) had the nuts come off his strut tops … Alan Gardiner (60) is parked up in Gribun.

Please note, above times are provisional (we do our best!)
That's yer lot meantime, more later
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory Car Park, 6:30pm Saturday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 6

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 6

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

6

Provisional Leaderboard after 8 (of 18) Special Stages:

Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza)  57mins 40secs   
Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort)  58m 49s
Dougi Hall/Gareth Williams (Ford Escort)  59m 49s
John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos)  61m 46s
Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort)  62m 35s
James MacGillivray/Brian Kennedy (V'hall Corsa) 62m 38s
Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer)  63m 15s
Steven Clark/Barry Young (Peugeot 106) 63m 38s
John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort) 63m 40s
10 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 63m 45s

No changes at the top of the leaderboard on this 32nd Philips Tour of Mull Rally but more delightful drivel follows. First an important announcement for all competitors – It is VITAL that all crews display their 'OK BOARDS' if they go off or park-up in a stage. Failure to do so has already caused some unnecessary delays today.

Maybe it's psychological but when daylight comes, most competitors cheer up, altho some get further depressed – now they can see where they are having their accidents! … Mark Hudson (15) copped a big one in Calgary, the Escort well off the road and him taken to hospital with a broken wrist … Peter Smith (45) also had a big one in the same stage but both crew members OK … the crew of 89 both heaved a sigh of relief, Jim Brindle and John Bould in the Mini have both co-driven for Pete in the past … the O'Donnel twins are out, head gasket gone … Ian Dixon (48) has skelped something on the co-driver's side (of course) and the Escort's crabbing a bit … Chris Paton (67) thinks power steering is a wonderful thing, he has done 31 Mulls and co-dvr Dave Cabena has done all 32, still anything which makes it easier for a pair of old-timers has to be good … Allan MacKay is off at the Toilets in Calgary … Gerry Kilmurray (74) hit a patch of mud and skelped a wall – lightly … Chris Woodcock is OK now after his pre-rally scare. Two dowels in the cam shafts sheared late Friday afternoon and Daniel Harper helped him rebuild the engine making the start with minutes to spare … Dave Calvert (56) has dinged the nose of the Escort … Brian Otridge had a fuel pump fail last night (and nearly forgot he had a spare wired up) and then the turbo failed so it has been replaced and he's catching cars today … Mark Hughes (113) smacked a banking in Calgary and the Escort went up on two wheels but got away with it … and finally, let's not forget the service crews who have to refettle all the above – that is when they are not causing damage. Grant Fleming (77) has a bent co-driver's door courtesy of service crew chief Fergus who drove up on the pavement alongside the car as Graham Thomson opened the door! But no-one will fall out with Fergus, he is the guy behind all the Tunnock's biscuits which are being dished out to crews and marshals. Nice one Fergus – and I won't tell a soul about your embarrassing mishap. It's a secret between you, me – and the population of Mull.

That's yer lot meantime, more later
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory Car Park, 4:00pm Saturday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 5

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 5

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 8 (of 18) Special Stages:

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza) 57mins 40secs   
2 Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort) 58m 49s
3 Dougi Hall/Gareth Williams (Ford Escort) 59m 49s
4 John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos) 61m 46s
5 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort) 62m 35s
6 James MacGillivray/Brian Kennedy (V'hall Corsa) 62m 38s
7 Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer) 63m 15s
8 Steven Clark/Barry Young (Peugeot 106) 63m 38s
9 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort) 63m 40s
10 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 63m 45s

It's daylight on the 32nd Philips Tour of Mull but it's still damn slippy out there, especially at Torloisk, where Neil MacKinnon and Dougi Hall both admitted to big moments.

Stuart McQueen has dropped out of the top ten with a puncture and Steven Clark has lost time with a puncture too. A number of people are asking who this guy Clark is, but he has a reputation for being quick in Scottish and Peugeot Cup forests. This is a new car with a Kit Car 1600 engine but his Dad, Ivor, has been tinkering with the engine. He couldn't afford the 4 grand for the branded induction system so he made his own from four Honda Fireblade throttle bodies and his own fabricated inlet manifold!

Martin Healer's Max on SS2 was easily explained "No-one goes off uphill, but I did, and got a puncture. It took ages to change" … Willie Bonniwell was also in philosophic mood "We had to get a tractor to lift it out, the rear brakes failed when we hit standing water on the approach to a 90R and we went straight on" … Chris Tooze (38) got a puncture on SS2 last night … this is Jim Oddy's first event since last Mull and he's still using the RWD 2.5 Hart engined Metro, as his 4WD project is not finished yet … Derek Carless (39) has borrowed his son's Peugeot but has lost his son's water, the radiator hose split on the first stage and he had to keep stopping at puddles to fill it up … Roger Binyon (13) had his lights go out in SS2 last night … John Morrison (22) needs bigger wheels and bigger brakes, top speed is only 92 mph!

That's yer lot meantime, more later
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Silver, Tobermory, 2:00pm Saturday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 8

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 8

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 15 (of 18) Special Stages:

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza) 1Hr 56m 13s
2 John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos) 2.04.44
3 Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.05.31
4 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 2.05.37
5 John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort) 2.07.08
6 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 2.07.55
7 Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 2.08.01
8 Bob Cowe/John Baird (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.09.17
9 Pat Johnson/Graham Harper (Subaru Impreza) 2.09.48
10 Stuart McQueen/Alistair Green (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2.10.20

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more fraught, the excitement level steps up another gear on this year's Philips Tour of Mull Rally. Latest news suggests problems for 2nd placed Dougi Hall and 3rd placed James MacGillivray. Both were spotted parked up in the long one, first of to-night's final five tests, and it looks as though neither may reach Craignure let alone the finish.

"It's still gey slippy out there," said Neil MacKinnon, "I was a bit scrappy over the first three stages of this rally, but it just clicked after that. I really like this car, it really suits me." Ominous words for all those running behind the leader!

"I was catching Dougi," said John Cope, "so when we passed him I knew he was in trouble." In 3rd and 4th are Robert Davies and John Cressey. "I was up to third after the first one to-night," said Cressey, "but he (Davies) took it back on that last one – but there's an awful lot of miles left to-night yet." For his part, Davies is enjoying the scrap, well most of the time, "I don't like that b*st*rd behind me," said Davies, "he just keeps pushing and pushing, he never gives up."

John Swinscoe dropped time on the battling duo ahead of him, "I had an off in there,"he said, "right over the grass and through the bracken but didn't hit anything." Tony Bardy is fighting back after his earlier time loss with an engine sensor, "It's going well now, let's hope it stays that way." With MacGillivray out, it looks as though Doug Weir is top 1600 runner, "We had a fright at the re-start to-night when the car wouldn't fire up. We had to fit a jump lead as earthing strap and we're just hoping it holds out." Pat Johnson hopes all his problems are behind him, "We're going well now, let's hope it stays that way." Stuart McQueen is back in the top ten and Roger Binyon is holding 11th, "It's fierce at this position, everyone wants to be on the Mull calendar! We lost time when a car spun in front of us this afternoon but it's going well at the moment." Dave Thwaites' earlier problems were down to a faulty alternator and Dougie Ingram (32) has just pushed the Mini into service.

That's yer lot meantime, more later
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Craignure, 11:30pm Saturday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 4

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 4

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


Provisional Leaderboard after 5 (of 18) Special Stages

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza)  38mins 10secs
2  Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort)  38m 14s
3  Dougi Hall/Gareth Williams (Ford Escort)  39m 05s
4  John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos)  40m 22s
5  Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort)  41m 06s
6  Stephen Clark/Barry Young (Peugeot 106)  41m 11s
7  James MacGillivray/Brian Kennedy (V'hall Corsa) 41m 13s
8  Stuart McQueen/Alistair Green (Mitsubishi L)  41m 20s
9  Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer)  41m 43s
10  John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Escort)  42m 23s

It's rightly called' the best rally in the world' but the 32nd Philips Tour of Mull is also one of the toughest, with around 15 cars already reported off the road in the first two stages. No doubt once the St Bernards go out they'll find a few more as daylight dawns.

There's no real surprise at the top of the leaderboard at this early stage but whereas Duffy and MacKinnon tied after three, the ol' man has taken a clear lead. In Mull terms, 4 seconds is a clear lead! Lying third is Dougi Hall but he's flying hard and fast too. On 'white line crossing' out there in Gribun he flew so high that the Escort almost landed on its nose, wiping out three spotlights.

But perhaps the real revelation of the rally so far is the pace of Stephen Clark in the wee Peugeot. He's up to 6th overall and a mere 2 seconds in front of local hot-shot James MacGillivray. Is James upset? Not a bit of it, he's rubbing his hands with glee "We've got a fight on our hands now, he's going well. I don't really know Stephen very well but he was impressive at the Mull Rallysprint earlier this year." James lost time over the first 3 stages with brake troubles but they were fixed at service.

Another in brake trouble was Ian Colman "We lost brakes half way through the first stage and then did the next two with none, but they're fixed now" … Curley Haigh is well chuffed with the new suspension set-up in his MkI and he's lying inside the top 20 … top 1300 at the moment is the irrepressible Dougie Ingram, inside the top 30 in a Mini … but there's a lot of gaps appearing in the entry list … Mark Jasper failed to get the Metro fixed and he's out and George Grieve has gone missing … it also looks as though Rob Barry's going no further, reports coming in suggest he's had a 'biggie' on Gribun … Linda Allen is still going. On Tuesday night the Astra dropped a valve and there is a crack in the block.The crack has been filled with plastic metal and the rest repaired from scrap engines … and spare a thought for Paul Daniel (85). It's his first 'full' Mull. He was a reserve last year and did the Trophy, but if he could finish the big event then that would be just 'magic'.

That's yer lot meantime, more later Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, 1:00 am Saturday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 3

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 3

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 3 (of 18) Special Stages

1 Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort) 27mins 01secs
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza) 27m 01s
3 Dougi Hall/Gareth Williams (Ford Escort) 27m 24s
4 John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cos) 28m 31s
5 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort) 28m 50s
6 Stuart McQueen/Alistair Green (Mitsubishi L) 28m 59s
7 Steve Davis/Lesley Hastie (Ford Escort) 29m 12s
8 James MacGillivray/Brian Kennedy (V'hall Corsa) 29m 14s
9 Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey (Subaru Impreza) 29m 16s
10 Robert Davies/Neil Fraser (Mitsubishi Lancer) 29m 20s

The 32nd Philips Tour of Mullstarted dry in Tobermory, but a slight smirr of rain has left the roads greasy rather than wet. Apparently it's not dry enough for slicks and not damp enough for intermediates.

Even so the guys at the front are setting a hot pace, already the 9m 01s sec record for Tuath (SS3) has gone with the top 3 under that time … Calum Duffy says it's very greasy "On the first stage I kept expecting it to turn in like the EVO, lots of understeer, but it was better over the next two" … Neil MacKinnon was grinning at first service "I had a big 360 at Turner's approaching Dervaig, just a case of too much braking on the rear. I was approaching kind of quick and I really had to stand on it" … Dougi Hall is also on the pace "But so is Calum, he's taken time out of me on all three so far" but as a measure of the pace, he's over a minute clear of 4th placed crew … John Cressey's in trouble "I've had more attempts at an accident in 3 stages than I had all rally last year" but the suspension is far too soft and he's going to full tarmac settings at service … first time out with GrpA power John Cope is driving with one hand "I daren't take my hand off the gearstick, everything happens so fast with this", spectators have reported it gets off the start line like a rocket … Daniel Harper was off at Ulva Ferry but he and Daniel Barritt with the help of one spectator pushed it back out of a bog 30 yds on to the road "I'm kn*ck*r*d" said Daniel, but they lost 11 mins … Stuart McQueen has slight front end damage after taking to a ditch "It was a big moment at a KR and I had to throw it into a ditch to get round" … the O'Donnell twins had to stop between SS1 and SS2 to fix a loose wire on the alternator … and Bob Cowe is on his own because co-driver John Baird is not feeling well at all … John Morrison is needing a change of brake discs at service … Martin Healer says "I've been off in every stage so far it's so slippy" … Mark Jasper broke a wheel in the Metro but is still going and Willie Bonniwell is reported off in SS2 at the school.

Remember, don't treat the above positions as gospel, but the times are pretty accurate.

That's yer lot meantime, more later Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Cragnure, 11:00 pm Friday.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 2

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 2

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

Scrutineering is now finished for the 32nd Philips Tour of Mull Rally and all the top stars are safely through so no last minute surprises. As usual some poor sods were turned away to get things attended to but it was all done in good humour and mild swearwords. But remember, all you competitors, the Scroots are going to be out checking during the rally!

Chris Paton who has starred in more Mull events than anyone (31 out of 32 so far) is back for more with the wee Nova but it wouldn't tick over the other night. It just so happened he bumped into the Pro-Tec guys in the pub (as you do on Mull) who originally built his engine and Mark popped down the very next morning and within 5 minutes the wee Nova was ticking over like a sweetie.

Compare that to Mark Durham's own Vauxhall. The Pro-Tec boys have b built their own Corsa Kit Car which has a 193 bhp engine and 6 spd dog box and this will be it's first run out this weekend, a real rapid wee machine.

John Cressey appeared with a few scars on the Astra. He had been entertaining guests at a corporate day when the wheel studs sheared and a wheel came off. The rally virgin alongside thought it was all part of the thrill ride! John didn't let on, his guest was really impressed.

Martin Healer was sweating a wee bit before the rally. The wheel bearings on the Escort failed earlier this week and he has had to fit his spares. That means he doesn't have any back-up and therefore daren't hit anything this weekend.

Dave Thwaites has been hard at work on his MkII since last year. He's chucked away the Bilsteins and fitted Pro-flex to the 220 bhp Vauxhall 16v engined machine which now has a full set of big Brembos all round. Apparently it stops so quick that he's had to install a palette knife which scrapes him off the windscreen and drops him back in the seat after emergency stops!

John Rintoul has fitted a new turbo since his last one blew up two weeks ago at the Milltown Stages. The unfortunate thing was that when it blew it damaged the engine so it was a major rebuild all round to get ready for this. As if that wasn't enough he's changed the gearbox from a 6 spd with o/drive to a 6 spd with direct top.

Newcomers Naomi Knight (Andy's missus) and Rebecca Paterson (Jimmy's daughter) are making their rallying debut this weekend in a wee Peugeot, but Andy is contemplating a return next year. As for this year, the twice Mull winner is chief tea-maker in the service crew for the girls.

An unusual sight on the roads this weekend will be Gavin Gray's Citroen (100), but he's not so daft. Apparently it's just a Peugeot 309 with a different body. That means parts are available and cheap and with its MI-16 engine, it's quick for half the price of the wee lion badge.

Rod Brereton is back with the 1800cc Clio. An under-rated wee motor this, and with its Clio Cup tarmac suspension it's a value for money offering that provides just as much fun as his previous 200 bhp Renault 5 Turbo.

The reason that Richard Egger's Nova (123) looks so wide is that it's got a 2 litre lump under the bonnet.

Alan McLaughlin (126) is hoping to get further in the Ford Puma this year than last. He got 6 miles before the battery Master switch broke!

It's 29 years since Alan Conley won this event in a Clan Crusader but Michael Curry (149) is hoping to stir the memory boxes. He last competed on Mull in an Imp 14 years ago and here he is with a Crusader this year. He bought the shell 6 months ago and fitted his Imp gearbox and bought a new engine for it.

By the way, Mark Wagstaff was spotted on the Island. Winner in 1992 he's back on his hols from Australia and his wife has never been in the UK before, let alone on Mull. Apparently she has never experienced wind before (the airy kind, not the Heinz beans kind) and that's something this part of the world has plenty of!

And NO, you're not seeing things. That really is a Mr Blobby paint job on Fred MacLean's Peugeot (132) pink with yellow spots. The only thing is, he couldn't get a race suit to match!

And finally, the Polis really are a nice bunch around here. They took pity on a certain individual who is a member of a service crew (who shall remain nameless to protect his embarrassment) and who appeared to be celebrating rather too early last night. In the early hours of this morning, the boys in blue encountered the aforesaid gentleman wandering the dark roads of Mull in his jeans and stocking soles, completely oblivious to his whereabouts and surroundings, and took him into protective custody (till he sobered up and could tell them who he was!). I don't know what he was on, but I wouldn't mind a pint of it!

And finally, finally, Eddie O'Donnell was just about last man through Scrutineering. The number 4 seed was on an all-nighter last night trying to get it ready. Some things never change, eh?

And remember, all you spectating folks. Take care out there to-night, pick your spots (no, not those ones, if they get infected you'll get acne), but pick your spectating spots and get there early before the Polis shut the road, and then stay there till they open it. Enjoy yourselves, there will be hot fun on the roads of Mull to-night.

That's yer lot meantime, more guff to come. Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Friday tea-time.

2001 – Murmur Chapter 1

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 1

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

 

Well hullawrerr chinas, an' howzitgaun? Welcome all youse yins to the 32nd Philips Tour of Mull Rally here on the unique Atlantic kissed piece of rockery known affectionately the world over as the Island of Mull. Or as it's even better known, the home of the 'best damn rally in the world!'

And for those of you new to the island, a word to the wise. It has it's very own eco-system. Forget biospheres and Cornwall, we had it first without a big greenhoose! First-time visitors should also be aware that it doesn't actually rain here, not ever. It's just that the islanders like to wash the fresh air fairly frequently!

More advice – the essential PHILIPS TOUR OF MULL PROGRAMMES are on sale in the Aros Hall with full entry list and spectator guide along with all sorts of other exclusive 2300 Car Club goodies.

And just before we get started, what is this here scrap of paper you are endeavouring to read? 'MULLMURMURS' is the offishul on-event newsletter and propaganda sheet. Over the course of the weekend, this periodical will attempt to inform and enlighten so look out for it around the island. And it goes without saying, we never let the facts get in the way of a good story!

Last night was Forum night in the Aros Hall where that cheery chappie John Fife, aided and abetted by Callum and Del Duffy, John Cressey and Ian Grindrod and Wild Willie Bonniwell regaled an over-capacity audience with tales of talent and bravery.

The evening kicked off with the usual Mastermind quiz for flying tee-shirt prizes for correct (or nearly correct) answers. But in another unique first, we had some high-value prizes for the first time. In addition to the Burmah tee-shirts, Hyundai Cars gave us some top quality polo shirts and Volkswagen GB some really tasty goodies. Thanks guys you made a good night, great.

Over at Scrutineering the MSA tyre-kickers and wheel shooglers are in fine form and warning all competitors that there will be spot checks during the rally as well as post-event Scrutineering – you have been warned.

As for the gap in the No.2 slot, that has been filled. 9 times winner Neil MacKinnon is using a full Group A Impreza in his bid for a record-breaking ten wins. Local rival Calum Duffy is returning to an Escort MkII for this year's bid to score his third victory, but he's been up to his elbows in greasy bits already. The new car broke its clutch earlier this week and while the gearbox was out they noticed a problem. Both Calum and new co-driver Del (his younger brother) are grateful to Graham Hargrave (car 75) who lent them his spare 5 spd dog box. Who says sportsmanship is dead? Nice one boys.

Another local burning the midnight oil is Eddie O'Donnell. After last year's exploits they have replaced the dyke-vaulting shell with a 4 door left hooker acquired from one Ronald Dunsmore who arrived with it and was put to work installing Eddie's oily bits under the bonnet.

John Cope's got a new motor. It's the ex-Ioan Pritchard, Dennis Osborne built Group A Escort which is a bit more serious than the Group N and a bit car he had last year. 7 spd gearbox, big diffs and big brakes – all he needs now is big ba**s to drive it.

Mark Jasper's got a new motor too. A brand new Metro 6R4 built from an unused brand new shell and parts. Had a shakedown on the Three Sisters (the racetrack, not the Beverly sisters!) where the car had a bit of a misfire but that has been sorted now – hopefully.

Rob Barry is sporting a worried frown. The Mitsubishi is on its fourth alternator this week alone, it has blown three already and they can't find the fault, so it's fingers crossed for to-night.

Ian Colman is back with the Sunny for its first run out since he cowped it on the Christmas Stages last year and the four wheel drive machine looks a treat as usual.

Another car which looks fine and tasty is Dougi Hall's 2.4 MkII, but sponsor Scott Bainbridge is out for blood. He's after the person responsible for the rally programme and who used a photo of the car when it was bent rather than pristine. He's also none too chuffed about the words 'he should have stayed in bed' but this was a reference to Dougi's luck not his ability. Remember this was the guy who finished runner-up to the 4WD Subaru of Chris Griffiths two years ago.

Peter Smith (45) has hired Grant Shand's absolutely minted ex-Russell Brookes works MkII complete with 2 litre BDG and fully floating rear axle with Watts linkage. It sounds just as good as it looks.

And speaking of minted MkII's, John Swinscoe (18) has got more power from his engine this year and has tightened up the diff hoping to improve on last year's 6th place.

The Rally starts to-night at 8:00 pm from the car park in Tobermory alongside the Philips Exhibition unit, but if you're intending to spectate on the stages, remember to get there early – before the Road Closure Orders come into effect. Also please do as the Marshals tell you for safety's sake, and take care out there and please comply with all provided Foot & Mouth precautions that the 2300 CC organising team have provided around the island.

And finally, anyone noticed an ol'man on crutches? None other than former Mull CofC, Nigel Worswick. Well I have to tell you, there's nothing wrong with him. Rumours of leaping out of first floor windows in his birthday suit clutching his trousers are untrue. It's a ruthless attempt to get folk to buy him drink in the Mish and the two Macs when he claims he can't fight his way through the throng to buy his own drink!

That's yer lot meantime, more guff to come. Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Friday mid-day.