2005 – Murmur Chapter 9

Provisional Leaderboard after SS19 (of 19)
1. James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza) – 2 Hrs 25 Mins 53 Seconds
2. John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 2h 28m 07s
3. Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 2h 29m 23s
4. Eddie O’Donnell Jnr/Eddie O’Donnell Snr. (Ford Escort MkII) – 2h 29m 42s
5. Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny Gti-R) – 2h 29m 45s
6. Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Ford Escort MkII) – 2h 35m 23s
7. Lyndon Barton/Johnny Vance (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 2h 36m 11s
8. George MacDonald/Ian Nichol – (Subaru Impreza) – 2h 36m 45s
9. Dave Hopwood/Paul Grattidge (Ford Escort RS) – 2h 37m 07s
10. Iain Grubb/Louise Sutherland (Peugeot 106) – 2h

Every Tour of Mull Rally is unique and special, and we knew we were in for a very special Mull this year, not just because of the tasty new maroon and gold colour scheme, but we lost the top seeds on the very first stage. The 36th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally started with a spark, a fire and a clatter and then built up to a climax. It also provided us with unexpected winners, but no less welcome and no less deserving for that. James MacGillivray and Ian Fraser scored their first ever victory on home soil. It had been a long time coming. Way back in 1993, a more gangly looking version of ‘Jock the Bull’ finished second overall in a Ford Escort MkII. Who would have thought it would take 12 years before he topped that?

“After Tobermory/Dervaig tonight I didn’t think I was going to do this,” said James, “I didn’t know what was knocking at the front end, it was in the back of my mind all through those last stages, but we’re here – I can retire now.” I don’t think so. “When Calum and Neil went out, and then Dougi (Hall), we all thought we could win this, and I knew John (Cope) would get quicker as the rally progressed.” Early on he had picked a pace he was comfortable with and then sat back and watched as the opposition wilted, but he wasn’t without hi s own frights. On the final stage at Dervaig he was nearly on the beach. Whether it was early morning dew or oil, the car suddenly snapped sideways and had James not been fully awake and concentrating completely it could all have ended there. This was a calculating, mature drive from a man in control backed up by an equally unflappable presence in the hot seat, big Ian ‘Fraze’ Fraser. And you know what, prior to this event James said: “If I win this I’ll do the Rally Forum next year.” Having avoided appearing in public for years now, this put James on the spot: “I suppose I’ll have to do the Forum now after all.” Yup, too right mate, we’ll see you on stage next October.

And what a run into second place. John and Tony Cope finished a fighting second. From last place on the first stage to second place on the last stage, that was some battle. They dropped to last place with a spin and an off on the opening test on Friday night (it seems such a long ago now, don’t it?) and thereafter made inexorable progress up the leaderboard to finish second. After the Calgary stage on Friday night, John turned to Tony and said: “That’s what I come rallying for.” With two stages to go and three stage records under their belt, John said: “We’re trying, but it’s all under control.” And so it proved.

In third place, and despite a hiccup with times on the last Bulletin (not my fault, honest) Denis Biggerstaff and Graham Thomson completed the ‘there was a Scotsman, Englishman and an Irishman line up’ but it lo oks as though Denis has unfinished business on Mull. 13th last year and 3rd this year, Denis said: “On the second stage, there was a bit where the rear diff was hitting the tar so hard it would have scared the life out of you, but we raised the car and it was better. Then we tried raising the front a little more but it upset the steering. We’ve learned a lot – for next time.”

Rounding off the top four were the O’Donnell twins, Eddie Jnr and Eddie Snr, and for a few glorious hours on Friday evening, we thought justice might be done. After years of bitter disappointment mixed in with equal amounts of sheer cussedness in the face of adversity and sheer brilliance behind the wheel, the top seeds were wilting and the O’Donnells were in the hunt. It was not to be. James was well in control and then the Escort’s throttle cable burned its casing on the hot exhaust crippling their times. Of more concern was the flickering oil pressure light and when asked how this was fixed Eddie replied: “I think someone took the bulb out!” There was another cheeky remark when Simon Proud asked Eddie what it was like to finish a rally with his tail lights intact! Eddie’s terse response is unrepeatable in a family publication.

And those were the lucky ones. As I said at the start, this year’s Tour started with a spark, a fire and a clatter. Calum Duffy’s coil failed on the approach to the start of the first stage and he retired almost before he had got the seat warm. Then Neil MacKinnon suffered a stuck throttle body on the Subaru and the ECU thought it was wanting more fuel. The resultant fire was quickly brought under control, but that was Neil’s run over. Dougi Hall also lost time early on, but then scorched over the island roads like a potential winner till he got to Calgary where the Mitsubishi romantically and intimately embraced a stretch of armco! Willie Bonniwell went off, Billy Bird rolled, Daniel Harper and John Cressey broke gearboxes, Dave Miller crashed, Stuart McQueen broke his gear linkage, Roger Binyon retired and then on the final stage, John Swinscoe crashed.

For the second year running, the rally was held in dry conditions, and speeds were higher, but so were breakages and bashes. The top 1600 winners Iain Grubb and Louise Sutherland survived broken rear suspension to not only win the class, but finish 10th overall, a remarkable achievement in their wee Peugeot 106. They had been having one heckuva fight with Ian Chadwick in a similar car, but Chaddy took the tourist route in Mishnish and got lost in the scenery! Mike Storrar finished 2nd in class in the Anglia and was delighted with 14th overall while Chris Paton and Dave Cabena were third. What an achievement. No, not the 3rd in class. This was Chris’ 35th Tour while Dave has now done all 36 – I wonder if they’ll get a discount next year when they show their Bus Passes. In the wee class, Duggie Ingram and Olum MacCrone were top finishers in the ‘real’ Mini 1380 while Mark and Andrew Constantine were second. In the closing stages last night Mark was puzzled by a power loss till he discovered a blocked fuel filter while Matthew Tarbutt was third in the Nova and it looks as though Carol MacCrone was top lady driver in 50th place overall in her Mini.

It was small consolation, and good fun anyway, but Calum and Del Duf fy won Saturday afternoon’s Trophy Rally from Willie Bonniwell and Ian Chadwick in the wee Peugeot. Willie Bonniwell won the night time Trophy Rally from Ian Chadwick and Derek Carless bringing up the rear of an event in which more than half the entry fail ed to make the finish. What a rally. And what of the future? Well, it looks pretty safe. Way back down the field in car 156 were brother and sister Heather and John MacCrone on their first rally. Apparently there was no sibling argument about who was going to drive. Heather turned 17 three months ago and John is still only 16. They had their problems on the main event, but came back out last night for the Trophy and finished. Well done the pair of you. But I’ll leave the last words to 16 year old Alex Brown sitting beside his Dad, Donald on his first Tour: “I’ve been waiting 16 years for this,” he said simply and earnestly. And when they crossed the finish line in 32 nd place you’d have thought his finisher’s award was pure gold. Nope the future of this event is safe with enthusiasm like that around. The John Easson Scholarship winner also gained a huge chunk of experience this weekend. The 18 year old Stevie Brown was out in his Dad’s Nova and was going well till the clutch acted up, but showing remarkable restraint, Stevie refused to say who was to blame till step-dad Doug Weir volunteered that he was responsible for car preparation – then blamed overwork because he also had to prepare his own car and Linda Brown’s car, Stevie’s Mum. That’s what Mull does to you, it’s a family thing.

And now the big question. What will ‘Motorsport News’ make of it all? Jonathan Mudd and Matt Burt came up here on an adventure to see for themselves. They camped out, they spectated, they quizzed and questioned, but most of all I think they genuinely enjoyed themselves. I’ll bet the paper will have a big sale on Wednesday. And finally, on behalf of all at 2300 Car Club our grateful thanks to those purveyors of the finest foods – Saint Tunnock’s of Biscuitry, to all competitors, service crews, followers, Marshals, Safety Personnel and Radio Crews, Officials, Gerry at the Salen Hotel, Big Ade and the Oban FMers, the Isle of Mull and its population, some of the CalMac staff, and of course the Polis – it needs each and everyone of you to make this ‘the Best Rally in the World’ and it wasn’t me who said it first. And a very special thanks to one other. If you thought that was mist wisping across Tobermory Bay in the early hours of Sunday morning, I don’t reckon it was, it smelled like pipe smoke to me. Thanks Brian.

That’s yer lot for this year. Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Aros Hall, Tobermory, 11.00 am, Sunday morning.

2005 – Murmur Chapter 8

Provisional Leaderboard after SS16 (of 19)
1. James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza) – 2 Hrs 02 Mins 10 Secs
2. John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 2h 03m 49s
3. Eddie O’Donnell Jnr/Eddie O’Donnell Snr. (Ford Esco rt MkII) – 2h 04m 43s
4. Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny Gti-R) – 2h 05m 00s
5. Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 2h 06m 31s
6. John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – 2h 05m 53s
7. Lyndon Barton/Johnny Vance (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 2h 09m 34s
8. Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Ford Escort MkII) – 2h 09m 50s
9. George MacDonald/Ian Nichol – (Subaru Impreza) – 2h 10m 32s
10. Dave Hopwood/Paul Grattidge (Ford Escort RS) – 2h 11m 40s
(( Please note, this leaderboard is VERY provisional, and covers only those timecards received at the time of printing – it could well change.))

It’s windy and cold out there, but in the stages on this 36th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally the competition is red hot. John Cope has just set a new record on the long Tuath/Calgary stage, 3 seconds quicker than Calum Duffy’s 2003 record of 20m 37secs so there’s a lot still to play for with three stages to go.

Rally leader James MacGillivray looked a little more concerned this time: “There’s a knock from the front end. It could be a driveshaft but it’s definitely the transmission.” So that will need to be checked out at final service. Denis Biggerstaff is still going well but the car is sliding around a lot and he’s slipping down the order although he was pleased to take 25 seconds off his own time for the long stage which he set last year so the learning curves is still onwards and upwards. And just when we were expecting a late night charge from Eddie O’Donnell, the oil light started to flicker: “I’m ha ving to back off, I can’t afford to have another engine go,” said a disconsolate Eddie. For once Tony Bardy was having a little bit of good luck, the Nissan nicked a rock and damaged a rim but the tyre stayed intact!

John Swinscoe is going well in the EVO9: “I just don’t want this to stop, it’s great out there.” It’s not so good though for top ten placed Dave Hopwood, the salmon pink Escort is not looking quite so smart as it was. Dave slid off on the outside of a hairpin and clattered the front corner. It’s only panel and headlight damage but he dropped a couple of minutes. Doug Weir is going better now that he’s changed the ignition pack and Lyndon Barton reckons he’s losing time on some of the dips in the dark when he cant quite see the landing points! A nd Keith Hall still has only 2 gears in the Lancer, 2nd and 5th.

John Cressey has joined the growing list of retirements with a broken gearbox in the MINI. The local fire brigade did their good deed for the day when the owner of the cottage at the end of Mishnish, Garth who is a member of the Fire Brigade, called the boys out to hose down an oil spill on the road which could have caused havoc to the rally cars in the dark tonight – nice one lads! Tony and Alasdair of the Sporting Escort Owners Club are running an X-Box Rally Challenge for RNLI funds in the Mishnish on Sunday – and there is a prize!

That’s yer lot for now, Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Riverside, Tobermory, 10.30 pm, Saturday night.

P.S. If you hear a siren ahead of the rally tonight, that could be The Bulletin Boys delivering copies of MullMurmurs, so get ready for them! Oh and by the way, remember that Posh Nosh behind the Post Office in Tob Main Street will be open into the early hours tonight to provide hot drinks and sustenance.

* * STOP PRESS * * * STOP PRESS * * * STOP PRESS * * * STOP PRESS * * * STOP PRESS * *

It has just come to the attention of the mullmurmurs team, it is the birthday of that weel kent rallying scribe “Baggy Junnet” who, like this rally has iconic status within the rallying fraternity. Many happy returns and we look forward to celebrating with you again next year!!

2005 – Murmur Chapter 7

Provisional Leaderboard after SS14 (of 19)
1. James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza) – 1Hr 34 Mins 25 Seconds
2. Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 1h 36m 07s
3. Eddie O’Donnell Jnr/Eddie O’Donnell Snr. (Ford Escort MkII) – 1h 36m 18s
4. John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 1h 36m 27s
5. Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny Gti-R) – 1h 36m 48s
6. John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – 1h 38m 18s
7. Dave Hopwood/Paul Grattidge (Ford Escort RS) – 1h 38m 22s
8. Pat Johnson/Graham Harper (Subaru Impreza) – 1h 39m 24s
9. Lyndon Barton/Johnny Vance (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 1h 40m 06s
10. George MacDonald/Ian Nichol – (Subaru Impreza) 1h 40m 28s
(( Please note, this leaderboard is VERY provisional, and covers only those timecards received at the time of printing – it could well change.))

The 36th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally is not finished with the front runners yet. Billy Bird has rolled the Lancer in Loch Scridain and recovery services were called to the scene to clear the road, but James MacGillivray is still in charge at the front. Eddie O’Donnell is still struggling with thro ttle cable problems and that has helped Denis Biggerstaff who has powered past into second place and John Cope is now on a mission and has closed the gap to Eddie: “I had double shredded wheat for breakfast” said John. Following Billy’s accident the stage was stopped till his car was cleared so some of the delayed top seeds were given ‘notional’ stage times and these are reflected in the times above.

More news from the front, 1600 class leader Ian Chadwick is out. He’s put the Peugeot off in Mishnish Lochs and it took over an hour to get out of the stage! Ian Grubb then took over the class lead, but he’s in trouble too. He’s burst the Proflex rear suspension and has no spares. The car is bottoming out badly especially over the yumps and he’s going to try and fit standard suspension units at service before tonight’s run.

On the first stage today, Paul Daniel had an alternator problem but was unable to re -fit the sumpguard after changing the unit, and Bulletin Bob noticed a trail of oil when he left the Contro l here aboveTobermory … Mike Russell is overheating at the start of each stage and is running out of water. That means the anti -lag system is not working but he’s still going …Derek Carless has had electrical problems, the car cutting out dead twice this afternoon and then firing up again after a few moments …Brian Ottridge had a puncture on the first stage today …Having to push start the car at each stage start is Chris Paton and Dave Cabena after the starter motor packed up … Robert Mathieson had a big spin on Calgary and slid off and had to drive 50 mtrs over the rough to regain the road … Duggie Ingram is driving the Mini without the clutch after it failed … Alan McLaughlin lost time in Mishnish with a front wheel puncture … Dave Barritt is losing gears and oil in the Chevette … Bruce Hosie is getting bad vibrations through the steering wheel and the front n/s wheel is wobbling like mad … Paul Marshall is also having gearbox problems, can’t get 2nd or 3rd … Jim McDowall is going well but the radiator is losing water from the Lotus Avenger … and get this, 3 new stage records today, O’Donnell got one on the Hill Road and Cope got two on Calgary and Mishnish, so the pace is fierce out there.

Following his accident on SS8, George Grieve has been airlifted to Glasgow for a check-up but appears fine. Methinks this is just his way of getting off the island first class without having to pay for it! Co -driver Lee Carter is OK and has been left behind to tidy up. Oh and by the way, Matthew Wilson was leading Rally I reland earlier this afternoon from Eamon Boland! And some more good news.

That’s yer lot for now, Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Island Bakery, Tobermory, 4.30 pm, Saturday afternoon.

P.S. If you hear a siren ahead of the rally tonight, that could be The Bulletin Boys delivering copies of MullMurmurs, so get ready for them! Oh and by the way, remember that Posh Nosh behind the Post Office in Tob Main Street will be open into the early hours tonight to provide hot drinks and sustenance.

2005 – Murmur Chapter 6

Provisional Leaderboard after SS12 (of 19)
1. James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza) – 1Hr 24 Mins 29 Seconds
2. Eddie O’Donnell Jnr/Eddie O’Donnell Snr. (Ford Escort MkII) – 1h 26m 04s
3. Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 1h 26m 05s
4. John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 1h 26m 17s
5. Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny Gti-R) – 1h 26m 50s
6. Dave Hopwood/Paul Grattidge (Ford Escort RS) – 1h 27m 54s
7. John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – 1h 27m 56s
8. Pat Johnson/Graham Harper (Subaru Impreza) – 1h 28m 58s
9. Lyndon Barton/Johnny Vance (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 1h 29m 27s
10. George MacDonald/Ian Nichol – 1h 29m 46s
(( Please note, this leaderboard is VERY provisional, and covers only those timecards received at the time of printing – it could well change.))

The sun shone on the righteous, and the not so righteous, at the start of Leg 2 on Saturday afternoon’s run of this 36th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull, and it looks as though James MacGillivray is more righteous than everyone else, but the big surprise is the O’Donnell twins, they’re still there and still fighting. James reckons: “It’s good crack. I’ve found a pace I’m happy with and it seems to be right, so I know what to do.” Eddie did have one problem though on the Hill Road when the throttle cable melted but a spectating Daniel Harper helped out at the end of the stag e and a new one will be fitted at Tobermory service. Denis Biggerstaff is: “Still steady away, just putting the miles in, you won’t learn this event on a second visit, I’ll need to come back next year – we’re just two old f*rts in a fast car.” Tony Bardy says he’s getting better and: “Not sweating as much as Denis.” John Cope was looking better pleased “I’ve just taken another 6 seconds out of my record over there (Mishnish) we’re fine at present.” Dave Hopwood is finding it a bit warm inside the Escort: “We seem to have a harder tyre than some of the others but I wouldn’t want to go any softer in there.” John Swinscoe found the cause of last night’s misfire, a turbo pipe had come loose so is back on full song now. Billy Bird had to buy a new helmet this morning after ripping the old one last night during his rapid tyre change kerfuffle. Keith Hall is running out of gears, he’s only got 1st and 5th at present – and no spare gearbox!

Other tales from the dark side include … Andy Blower in the Nova doesn’t know whether it’s his big ends or his small ends that are rattling – or it could be his dentures! … Simon Cottrell’s only got half a steering wheel. It broke last night. It doesn’t half make hairpins hard work … John Bennie lost 6 minutes with a puncture in Gribun last night and has unwittingly upset his domestic arrangements. His lodger Mark ‘Speedy’ Runciman is also doing the rally and is beating him. At stake is who’s doing the dishes for the next month … Linda Brown thought she was out last night when a driveshaft broke and then the fire extinguisher went off, but those nice folks in the Beatson’s team loaned her a fire estinguisher so she can go out tonight … And nearly finally, Mike Russell was a puzzled lad when he encountered thick fog last night and couldn’t see where he was going. And then he smelled it. It was oil smoke. The car in front had blown up in a big way … And how about this, who is the furthest travelled Marshal? Could it be Lex Covoert from Rotterdam who was on duty at Ardtun last night, such is the international appeal of ‘The Best Rally in the World’.

Now here’s a final thought. Stan Quirk co-driving for John Cressey was explaining how quick it was last night. “We were going so fast in some stretches I couldn’t keep up with the Notes. He was driving faster than I could speak, it was coming out as gibberish at times – no surprise there then, Stan’s a lawyer by profession!

That’s yer lot for now, Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Island Bakery, Tobermory, 2.30 pm, Saturday afternoon.

P.S. If you hear a siren ahead of the rally tonight, that could be The Bulletin Boys delivering copies of MullMurmurs, so get ready for them!

2005 – Murmur Chapter 5

Provisional Leaderboard after SS7 (of 19)
1. James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza) – 49 Mins 22 Seconds
2. Eddie O’Donnell Jnr/Eddie O’Donnell Snr. (Ford Escort MkII) – 51m 18s
3. Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 51m 39s
4. Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny Gti-R) – 51m 51s
5. John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 51m 58s
6. Mark Durham/Andy Mort (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO5) – 52m 01s
7. John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – 52m 03s
8. Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Ford Escort MkII) – 52m 16s
9. Pat Johnson/Graham Harper (Subaru Impreza) – 52m 40s
10. Dave Hopwood/aul Grattidge (Ford Escort RS) – 52m 54s
(( Please note, this leaderboard is VERY provisional, and covers only those timecards received at the time of printing – it could well change.))

What a night! Forget unpredictable weather, what an unpredictable rally. Jo hn Marshall summed it up best when he booked into the Final Control at Dervaig in the early hours: “Are there any previous winners of this rally left in it?” So here’s one prediction, there will be a new winner for the 36th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally on Sunday. So where do I start? James MacGillivray is the new rally leader following Dave Miller’s off in Gribun and the O’Donnell twins are up to second place with Denis Biggerstaff wearing a smile wider than the Irish Sea … MacGillivray survived a 5th gear scare when a deer jumped out in front of him, O’Donnell is happy, but not tempting fate and Biggerstaff has raised the ride height of the Subaru and it’s handling much better now! Tony Bardy is getting back up to speed having bled the brakes at service … Willie Bonniwell has put the Escort off in Calgary – and it won’t be coming back out without some outside assistance … Dougi Hall has also gone off in Calgary which is a great pity, you should have seen the times he was setting after his earlier 4 minute loss … Ashley Field has also departed the fray. As high as fifth overall at one point, the Darrian has gone off in the new stage at Ardtun … John Swinscoe is bothered by a misfire in the EVO9 … John Cressey says the MINI is a different car now, he’s got the rear suspension sorted a bit better but can’t do much about the brakes: “I’ll just have to live with them as they are – and not use them!” … Billy Bird has dropped way down the order to 24th place after stopping to change a punctured tyre in Gribun and then in his haste to jump out the car tore out the intercom … Martin Healer appeared with a noisy Escort: “That’ll be the anti -lag, it’s been stuck on for the past three stages and the engine temperature would melt a volcano, and now the centre diff is pla ying up” … Doug Weir is dropping back down the order after a superb start to his rally. The Escort has developed a misfire and won’t pull over 5000 revs … Pat Johnson lost the use of his intercom for three stages and Graham Harper was having to shout at him – nothing new there then! … Keith Hall has sorted out his earlier brake problems by fitting new pads at service and then noticed that the front wheel studs were loose! Once tightened up, order restored … John Marshall was full of disbelief when he stopped at Dervaig: “I just can’t believe what I saw out there to -night – is there a previous winner left in this rally?” … George MacDonald’s not so cheery. He has broken three wheels and suffered one puncture and now the Subaru is running too hot. He got it re mapped just before the rally and reckons it’s not quite right …Lyndon Barton got caught up in the aftermath of Ashley Field’s accident and dropped some time … Tim Stell admitted he was hopeless in the first two but is going much better now …Young Iain Ogg MacKenzie stopped in the first stage with suspected head gasket failure … Mike Storrar is pleased with his Toyota engined Anglia. After fitting new pistons to the ‘elderly’ beast he reckons its got better mid range punch …Alan Gardiner’s brand new MkII is going well: “I was slower than before in the first five stages but I was quicker than the old car in that last stage, so I’m getting there”, but he’s had to disconnect the power steering because there was just no feel to the system, he’ll have arms like Arnold Sshotzenriddler, or is it Schitzenstirrer, by the time he’s finished … Cameron MacLean had a misfire over the first two stages then broke a brake pipe in the next but clamped up the broken end with a set of vice grips and carried on (the exuberance and confidence of youth!?) at unabated speed … Ian Chadwick is bubbling with enthusiasm over the rally so far despite doing the 2nd stage on 3 cylinders when a spark plug broke but he’s just loving it out there … Rick Fry’s co -driver Stephen Thompson lost his place on the Notes then in the last stage the map light failed and he had to dig out the torch then find his place again, but Rick was bubbling too: “I’ve never been as fast down that last stage in my life before. I was suffering sphincter creep by the end, it was going faster than a dump valve in a turbo” – Thanks for that Rick, I think you could have spared the tender nature of my readers …Curly Haigh in the MkI was going well: “My hair was on fire in there”. Mind you it wouldn’t have been a big blaze were it to be true, but I think I know what he meant … Andy Tearle had a big spin in Gribun in the wee Peugeot but wishes he was back in his Chevette. But I’ve got a thought for Andy, just how big a spin would it have been in the Chevette? … Chris Woodcock ran out of brakes over Mishnish and then had to stop in the next stage when the bonnet started flapping as the bonnet pins were not properly secured … Alan Cameron has lost count of the number of times he’s been off already – on 7 stages! … Alex Taylor is fast running out of tyres. He had 3 punctures on Ardtun and then had to fit his spare (which was flat from his latest puncture) to reach the Control at Dervaig … Grant Fleming and Fergus Louden are still going with Fergus handing out Tunnock’s Caramel Woofers to all and sundry … and the veterans are still going strong. Chris Paton is on his 35th Tour of Mull and co-driver Dave Cabena is on his 36th – and he doesn’t look a day over 40, a few years over forty more like … and an apology is due to a new member of the Bulletin Team. In addition to the Bulletin Boys, Bill’n’Bob we have to add Drew the Disherouterer who is helping to distribute MullMurmurs around the route.

In the classes, Ian Chadwick leads the 1600s in the Peugeot 106 by 9 seconds from Ian Grubb, these two going at it like rats fighting over a lump of cheese … Duggie Ingram is leading the 1400cc class in his ‘real’ Mini by almost a minute from Alan McLaughlin in the Puma … and Doug Weir is leading the 2 litre class from Dave Hopwood. Phew! And that’s only for starters. It can’t get any more exciting tomorrow (Saturday), or can it? Here’s a taster – having caught up with Calum Duffy at Dervaig after his bitterly disappointing start to the rally I thought he would have been ready for attacking his wrists with the breadknife, but no, what was concerning him most? “It was bad enough breaking down and stopping so early in the rally but it was worse – it wasn’t a good bit to spectate!” There speaks the words of a true enthusiast, but he’s coming out on the Trophy Rally tomorrow, and he’s not so much caring about stage times as having a bit of fun, now that sounds like a threat!

I’m so excited I won’t be able to sleep. Also excited are the two visitors from ‘Motorsport News’, Jonathan and Matt (who are camping out at Angus Williams’ place because there was no room at the Inn or the hotel or the B&B or anywhere cos the island is full) who are up here visiting their first ever Tunnock’s Tour. So be nice to them when you see them and ask for lots of good coverage.

That’s yer lot for now, Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Dervaig, 3.00 am, Friday night/Saturday morning.

2005 – Murmur Chapter 4

Provisional Leaderboard after SS2 (of 19)
1. Dave Miller/Andy Bailey (Subaru Impreza) – 20 Mins 56 Secs
2. James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza) – 20m 58s
3. Eddie O’Donnell Jnr/Eddie O’Donnell Snr. (Ford Escort MkII) – 21m 26s
4. Doug Weir/Duncan Brown (Ford Escort MkII) – 21m 40s
5. Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) – 21m 41s
6.Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) – 21m 55s
7. Alex Taylor/Kim Baker (Subaru Impreza) – 21m 56s
8. John Swinscoe/Paula Swinscoe (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) – 22m 03s
9. Willie Bonniwell/Kevin Rae (Ford Escort MkII) – 22m 04s
10. George MacDonald/Ian Nichol (Subaru Impreza) – 22m 08s
(( Please note, this leaderboard is VERY provisional, and covers only those timecards received at the time of printing – it could well change.))

Day 1 of the 2005 Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally was dry and sunny and the weather forecast for the weekend was good, but as night fell and rally cars fired up in anger, the wind started to rise, and it started to get cold, very cold. Was that a spot of rain I felt?

And if you think the weather is uncertain, nothing is more uncertain than this sport. Within a mile from the start of the first stage, top seed Calum Duffy pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. It would appear that the Escort has suffered electrical problems. Then came number 2 seed and Neil MacKinnon had to pull over in the Subaru when the throttle body jammed. He lost time in the stage. He managed to get out under his own steam, but running late on the road he was catching cars in stage 2.

Tony Cope was off in the first stage for 3 minutes but got going again and Roger Binyon is reported off the road and so far hasn’t appeared at the Control here in Salen. Daniel Harper in the MINI is out with a broken gearbox, but John Cressey’s twin car is still going, although the suspension is not right and the brakes are fading on him. Tim Stell had a major 5th gear moment in SS2, and discovered that fear has both a texture and a colour. It’s soft and brown!

Dave Miller was quite pleased, faster on both those tests than he was last year. Denis Biggerstaff is going well too but feels the Subaru is ‘moving around’ on him a nd is thinking about raising the ride height of the car at service. George MacDonald has a serious misfire and Stuart McQueen is suffering gear selection problems and did SS2 in 3rd gear. Mark Durham who used to drive the Corsa Kit is enjoying his Mitsubis hi Lancer: “I should have got one of these years ago!”

Tony Bardy is finding the brake pedal going ‘long’ on him so will need to get that fixed at Craignure service and Dougi Hall is going well although he slid wide on one bend and lost a bit of time. Dougi also took time to remind Jaggy that he didn’t go off in Calgary last year as claimed in the programme, he broke a driveshaft! Oops. It looks as though Dave Thwaites is out in the ‘wide’ Escort, with engine failure and Paul Miller in the Sierra is report ed to be well off the road in SS1. Steve Davies is also out, mechanical problems in SS2. And possibly the shortest rally of the weekend? Pete Jackson’s gearbox failed on the start line of the first stage.

That’s yer lot for now, Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Salen Hotel, 9.30 pm, Friday night.

Breaking News – Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte are out, OTL!

2005 – Murmur Chapter 3

The Scrutinatorising is almost over for this year with folk starting to get excited ahead of to-night. But a word of caution to all would-be spectators, please do as the Marshals advise and instruct, not only for your own personal safety but to ensure the safe running of the rally. So pick your spot carefully, park sensibly and get there in plenty of time. And make sure you’ve got a programme so you know who you are watching!

On that very point, you won’t mistake car 45. It’s a Darrian. It’s got a 2.5 Mill ington in it (to those in the know, no explanation needed – to those who don’t, stand well clear, this thing should have a blue touch paper and a government warning!). And it’s also Ashley Field’s first time on the island with it. So what do I think? Tupperware boxes should be used for keeping sandwiches, not for sticking big engines in and driving them!

As ever John Swinscoe’s car is a work of automotive art, the first EVO9 in the country, but he’s not sure how it will go. Apparently, the electrics are nothing like the EVO8, and GEMS have set it up as best they can based on experience – there’s no such thing as a workshop manual with these things. Built to a strict budget and every bit as nice as the big cars is Pierre Newton’s (his Mum’s French) wee Peugeot 1.9. He had been servicing on this event for 15 years for folk like Dave Hopwood and decided it was time to do it himself, but took 2 years to build the car.

Damien Hagan is another looking forward to tonight. The man from Monaghan is one of a three ca r team from Ireland along with Jim McKenna and Gerry Cassidy. More used to the Irish tarmac of home, Damien says this place has a bit of everything, tight and twisty, and top gear high speed stuff. Linda Brown is obviously taking her rallying seriously, she has a lipstick holder bolted to the roll cage. Carol McCrone is chuffed to bits. She was on the reserve list till she got a call on Monday to say she had a start and then it was a rush to get the Mini ready. Paul Miller is back with the Sierra after a big accident on Calgary Bay last year. The whole thing has been rebuilt including the greasy bits. Lewis Gallagher is back for more and it’s worth being nice to him, his Mum Jeanette and Jane McLean own the award winning chippy on Tobermory Pier! He’s also got a new MI16 engine in the Peugeot but says he’s worried about noises from inside.

Co-driver turned driver John Bennie turned up in his latest rally weapon. 8 weeks ago it was a low slung boy racer cruiser but in the past 5 weeks has been turned into a rally car – apart from the boy racer exhaust. It’s so big you could walk up inside it and do a de-coke on the cylinder head from the inside. Stephen Thompson is expecting to go quicker this year. It’s the same car but Eddie O’Donnel Snr co-drove for him on his first event, but this time his new co-driver Rhoda McKinnon s abut quarter of the previous incumbent’s weight! Light means flight.

Donald brown’s got a new car but it’s no ordinary Nova. It’s got a 2 litre lump up the front end driving a back axle. Gr ant ‘Sid the Parrot’ Fleming has hired a Rally Xtreme Escort which once upon a time was driven by a certain Russell Brookes (HHJ 702N). According to owner Grant Shand he’s going to repaint it in its original colours and then use it himself on the Roger Albert Rally next month, that’s provided Sid is sensible, which he should be since he’s got the eminently sensible Fergus Loudon (pretty high up in Tunnock’s) sitting alongside in the co-driver’s seat.
Rod Brereton is co-driving for Graham Howard. The first time they won a trophy together was in a Talbot Samba, but in between times Rod took the wrong ‘sensible’ pills and bought a Renault Clio for rallying. It’s still not ready but on Tuesday night, his quiz in the Mishnish raised £312 for the RNLI. Nice one Rod. Dave Barritt has finally pensioned off the Opel Manta and replaced it with a shell he found in a shed. Trouble is, it’s not a Manta any more it’s a Chevette.

And since I started with Scrutinators let me finish on a true story regarding these august upholders of the regulations. Big Chief Roger nearly didn’t pass John Cockburn’s fearsome looking TomCat device because co -driver George wasn’t wearing her tartan miniskirt from last year (yes, that’s right George is a she). Apparently that was remedied in such a fashion that it brought a rosy glow to the Chief Scroot’s cheeks – and no, it had nowt to do the whisky fumes at all. Ask me later!

That’s yer lot for now, Yer aul pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Tobermory Car Park, 3.00 pm, Friday

P.S. Could the crew of Car 160 please return to Scrutineering because your Log Book has got mixed up with someone else’s!

2005 – Murmur Chapter 2

Well, let’s start with the good news. Colin Johnstone and Gilda got married at Tobermory Registry Office this morning. Apparently it was a snap decision and allegedly, Colin was (relatively) sober at the time. Now they will go on honeymoon, servicing for Jim McDowall (92) – so who’s idea was that? Congratulations to you both, from all of us on Mull, and if you see two pairs of legs sticking out from under a rally car this evening – stay well clear!

But back to the real business and just to keep me on my toes, the Scrutinators aren’t stopping for lunch, they’re working in shifts the rascals! Next through was young Iain Ogg MacKenzie who has converted his MkII to run leaf springs as he kept bending the coilovers last year on the bump s. Dave Hopwood turned up again in his awfy smart salmon pink MkII, back to its pristine condition after a clatter on its flanks on the rocks last year. And when you’re out and about to-night, have a giggle at Neil Morgan’s car 35. Across the top of the windscreen is the legend “244 horses and 2 donkeys” – work it out for yourselves. Dave Taylor also has a nice reg number ‘T99 MUL’.

Getting a right slagging from his service crew is Alex Taylor. On Monday he bought a rolled Subaru Forester to convert into a service barge/recce car but the lads are going round telling everyone he rolled it himself on the recce for Mull! The more Alex denies, the more everybody believes the service crew! Last year’s runner -up James MacGillivray got his Subaru back last week after getting bigger brakes fitted to it, but I reckon it also sounds deeper and more fruity!
I overheard John Donaldson, who services for John Marshall, explaining to a scribe what a turbo was: “It sucks, squeezes, bangs and blows, but if it sucks, squeeze s, blows and bangs, it’s on anti-lag – or it’s got a bad misfire!” so now you know. Who says these bulletins aren’t educational?

Working on the basis is you can’t beat them, join them, Mark Durham has left the 212 bhp Corsa at home and turned up here in a Mitsubishi EVO5. When asked what the bigger car is like up here, back came the one word answer: “Frightening!” Curly Haigh’s got a ‘new’ motor. He has re-shelled the MkI and had a run out on the Pendragon Stages recently before bringing it over here – and then nearly went off on the last corner of the last stage – getting too cocky, eh? Mike Storrar has been hard at work on the Anglia, but nothing wimpish like paint and polish, no, he’s put new pistons in the Toyota 1600 lump to try and get better compression.

Speaking of minted motors, Alan Gardiner’s has finally finished his MkII after 18 months and has put the John Reid engine out of his old car into the new one, but he hasn’t driven it in anger yet. Dave Thwaites MkII just made it through the Tobermory Distillery arch and no more, it’s so wide. He’s got an extra wide English axle on the rear and the front track has been widened by three inches by fabricating new bottom arms and steering links. This is a proper tarmac car.

Chris Woodcock was on the Isle of Man earlier this year and popped into Tesco’s where he met George Collister’s (he won the John Easson scholarship last year) Mum. Apparently George hasn’t stopped talking about Mull since he went home: “It’s like Druidale on steroids!” Andy Tearle hasn’t been here since 99 with the Chevette but since it’s not ready yet, he’s got a wee 1360cc Peugeot. Cameron McLean has got a ‘Dunsmore Special’, a MkII built by (and not quite finished by!) Ronald Dunsmore who had a repair job to do in it after the Mull Gravel Sprint – when Cameron rolled it!

And here’s a note worth keeping in mind. ‘Posh Nosh’ behind the Post Office in Tobermory Main Street will be open in the early hours of Sunday morning for bacon butties.

That’s yer lot for now, Yer aul pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Tobermory Distillery, 12 Noon, Friday

2005 – Murmur Chapter 1

Wellhullawrerrchinasanhowzyertastebudstingling? It’s a new year and a new era, and we bid a warm welcome to the masters of culinary tastiness, Messrs Cumnock’s of Uddingston, manufacturers of Scotland’s ‘other national food’. So warm greetings to one and 2300 Car Club’s new sponsors to the 36th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull.

As ever, the 36th Tour ‘officially’ got underway last night in the Aros Hall when that helluva nice big chap John Fife hosted the Tunnock’s Forum. There were a few bruised hairdos after the usual ‘fling tee-shirt’ competition with additional prizes courtesy of Nissan UK, Yokohama Tyres, AP Racing and Browns of Tobermory. Guests included last year’s winner Calum Duffy, co – driver Stan Quirk and former international rally driver, Andrew Wood who looks after Dunlop Tyres this side of the border. By heck we had a good crack last night and put the world to rights!

Let’s start with a bit of housekeeping. Keep up to date with rally progress via these Bulletins which will be d istributed around the island during the rally, so look out for ‘Bulletin Bill’n’Bob’ in the Subaru Legacy. Otherwise keep up to date on the 2300 Car Club website (www.2300club.org) with results and Bulletins. Also, tune in to Oban FM on 103.3 for the latest rally news from Big Ade.

You can also buy a full colour and fully informative programme in the Masonic Hall at the southern end of Tobermory High Street where you can also tart yourself up with the latest Tunnock ’s Tour of Mull rally gear. And now to the serious business, scrutineering. The tyre kickers and wheel shooglers are having a rare old time in Tobermory Distillery breathing in the ‘fresh’ air as they go about their business. One of the first through was top seed Calum Duffy in his minted MkII. And did you see the wheels on the back? A full 10 inches wide – it would stick to a ceiling upside down! Up at the other end is a BDG so listen out for magic sounds to-night, but the big question on everyone’s lips? Can he score a hat-trick of wins this year? Oh, and by the way, congratulations to brother Del, he got engaged yesterday to Michelle MacLean yesterday, but don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret!
Out to stop him is 10 times winner Neil MacKinnon in an S8 Impre za, the one with the paddle shift and all the toys. Trouble is Neil will have to learn to drive it first, he’s only had one shottie in Ireland last week. According to Mike Stayte: “It’s funny watching the gearstick moving around on its own because Neil is using the paddles!” He won’t be doing that to-night he’ll be watching his Notes.

Tony Bardy was looking rusty although the Nissan GTI -R was looking wonderfully fresh. He hasn’t been out since February while fellow Nissan front runner Ian Colman also claims to be rusty since he hasn’t driven the car since the Jack Frost Stages last January. Apparently he’s been out in India for 7 months helping build a new steel plant. The MININ twins looked wonderful, the cars, not the drivers, Daniel Harper and John Cres sey still putting the finishing touches to them yesterday, but according to Cressey, finished just in time to squeeze in a couple of pints last night. Apparently it took 6 weeks to build these two wee beezers.

Doug Weir’s Escort was looking smart as were the crew with their garish, sorry, very pretty blue and white rugby tops. This is Doug’s 2nd run out on Mull with the Escort after handing over the 1600 Nova to step -son Stevie Brown (94) who is this year’s John Easson Scholarship winner which has helped t he 18 year old to get his car over to Mull. Having sold his Impreza WRC, Stuart McQueen appeared with the ex Wayne Sissons GrpN Mitsubishi and it’s great to see Denis Biggerstaff back, The Irish champion was over last year for a first look and the Subaru was pretty new to him then, so having learned how to drive the thing this year, he’s back for more.

That’s yer lot for now,Yer aul pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Tobermory Distillery, 10.30 am, Friday