2006 – Murmur Chapter 11

The Final Instalment

Final Results after SS19 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2 Hr 21 Mins 53 Secs
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 2h 24m 23s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 27m 13s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 28m 37s
5 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza) 2h 29m 40s
6 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 2h 30m 19s
7 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 2h 31m 14s
8 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 2h 33m 10s
9 Cameron MacLean/Alastair Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 2hr 34m 34s
10 Tristan Pye/Andrew Roughead (Subaru Impreza) 2h 35m 24s

12 Mike Storrar/Weazel Currie (Ford Anglia) 2hr 38m 05s – 1st 1600cc
28 Chris Woodcock/Heid Woodcock (Proton Satria) 2h 45m 40s – 1st 1400cc

There’s an old saying, ‘Beware the quiet man’. I never really knew what it meant – I do now. And anyone who witnessed the 37th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally will too.

Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte never get excited and don’t have much to say. Never in the limelight and never controversial, their motto would appear to be ‘Actions speak louder than words’. And so it proved. They had their problems over the weekend, but the McKinstry lads were on the case. Never a word of complaint or criticism from the ‘MullMeisters’, it was simply taken on board with quiet acceptance.

Mind you I could be wrong. He could be quite different around the house for all I know, kicking the dog and leaving his clothes all over the floor, but there was nothing untidy about his drive into the record books. His 11th Tour victory.

“I enjoyed that, and I enjoyed the car,” said  Neil, “There was never really a problem with the gearboxes, we could work round it. In fact the third one wasn’t a ‘new’ box, and we knew it wasn’t as good as the one we used on Friday night and the other on Saturday afternoon, but as long as I lifted off before changing up, it was fine. Having confidence in the car meant I could lift the pace whenever I needed, which was quite often, with the likes of Callum (Duffy) and John (Cope) behind me, but the suspension was good and so were the Michelin tyres – and so were the.McKinstry lads. Aye, this was good.”

In the face of such a force, Calum and Iain Duffy were always going to be looking at the tail end of a Subaru, but that didn’t stop them trying. It’s one of the great ‘sanity tests’ of life, seeing Calum in a MkII, your eyes see one thing but your brain refuses to absorb it. His speed and commitment are a revelation to be hold. “It was certainly the fastest rally I’ve ever done,” he said at the finish.

By darkness on Saturday the Copes were virtually resigned to their fate, third again. “We were pleased with our pace on Friday night,” said John, “but the puncture left us always coming from behind – and you don’t give them two a chance like that! But what was really good was just how few retirements there were, it was a good fight.”

Paul Kirtley was beaming at the finish despite a rock-clattering, track-splaying impact on the long penultimate test and did just enough to keep ahead of Denis Biggerstaff who had his own last minute dramas. A power failure towards the end of the penultimate stage and a puncture before the start of the last one saw him drop down the running order, but he finished. And finally getting to grips with the Hyundai was Tony Bardy, just doing enough over the closing stages to displace John Price for sixth. But was JP annoyed or upset? “It was another tough rally – but I absolutely enjoyed it.” And so too, did we who only watched.

But those were the lucky ones. Last year’s winner James MacGillivray crashed out of contention on Saturday night, Dougi Hall suffered engine failure and so too did the O’Donnell twins. So gutted were they, neither has yet had the energy or the desire to lift the bonnet to see what gave up. Willie Bonniwell broke a driveshaft and Daniel Harper broke his car. If he hadn’t lost a wheel on Friday night who knows where the MINI might have finished!

But this rally is not just about the top seeds, everyone who finished are heroes including the John Easson Scholarship winner, Ryan Borthwick: “I didn’t really enjoy it on Friday night, it was the first time I had rallied in the dark – but by the end it was good!” And the last I saw of Ryan he was badgering his Dad: “We need something quicker for next year Dad.” And what of the Bear Cubs, Heather MacCrone and Sarah Jayne Daly. They finished one place behind Ryan, in 55th place overall, a simply stunning and richly deserved result and one of which every one of the youngsters and teenagers involved in the project should be proud. And for once, Steve Davies has come up with a good idea and got a result out of it – unlike his own exploits! And a special word for 17 year old Drew Sturrock, son of Bulletin Bill, who was co-driving for Jonathan Mounsey. It was only his fourth rally and 1st Mull. He finished, and finished 34th – something his Dad never did on the island!

In the classes, Mike Storrar scored an exceptional 12th place overall in the 1600cc winning Anglia, but is increasingly worried about sourcing parts for his car, apparently the doors are now made of ‘unobtainium’. Jim McKenna in the Toyota Starlet was 2nd in class while Donald Brown got third after a fire threatened to engulf the Sunbeam. Chris Woodock heaved a sigh of relief at the finish not just for winning the 1400 class, but because the Proton can now be returned to its owner in one piece, so the threat of banishment has been lifted. Only 17 seconds behind him at the finish was Alistair Willis in the Nova while Alan McLlaughlin was third in the Puma.

Yes, there were incidents but fortunately all are walking wounded, if not physically then certainly in the pocket, and only one casualty was detained overnight Friday, and our best wishes to them all. Lyndon Barton suffered transmission failure, Doug Weir crashed, Mark Jasper disappeared and Mark Durham left his Lancer in an awkward place in Mishnish last night. It’s nose was on the tarmac but the tail was on top of the Armco at Calgary.

Paul MacKinnon suffered engine failure (when knocking on the door of the top six!), John Cressey holed a piston, Iain Grubb broke a driveshaft, John Marshall blew a turbo and John Paterson converted a once pristine MkII into a badly collated box of constituent parts.

For the third year in a row, the backdrop to the rally looked like a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer wrapper, red skies and golden rays of sunshine, while the islanders hospitality was as warm and squidgy as a tea cake – so here’s a plea to St Tunnock’s of Biscuitry – don’t ever make a water biscuit!

And here’s a thought. In 1993, Neil MacKinnon ran with the number 4 on the door after four years without a result. This year, he had number 4 on the door, after four years without a result. He won then, and won again for the next four years! Ominous or what?

As ever, our thanks go to an increasingly long list of rather special people, to all at Tunnock’s, and to all competitors, service crews, marshals and officials, and also to those nice folk at Volkswagen, Bulletin Bill and all those who gave prizes at the Rally forum, Subaru, Ford, Kumho, Dunlop and Mintex. We love you all.

And finally, I couldn’t resist this one. Apparently a certain journalist had borrowed a brand spanking new Volkswagen Transporter California camper van from VW’s Press office to cover the Tunnock’s Tour, although the ‘real’ object of the exercise was to appraise the vehicle for an article in ‘Professional Van & Light Truck’ magazine. Late on Friday evening, our hero was parked outside the Salen Hotel, admittedly on a wee bit of a slope, whereupon he stepped out of the vehicle. The electrically powered side door slid quietly shut as the van rocked on its suspension – with the keys sitting on the table inside, and so were his phones! The Polis were unable to offer any help due to the deadlock sophistication of the vehicle, the local garage was busy and every AA and RAC patrol person on the island was out servicing for someone on the rally. So what did our hero do? He smashed a window. As he later explained, he hadn’t locked himself out of the van, the van had locked the keys in. First on the scene was Gerry from the Salen Hotel with dustpan and brush in hand – so that our hero could sweep up all the broken glass in his Car Park – Thanks Gerry.

And I couldn’t resist this one either. Local man Bill Langford was unable to start the rally when his engine failed, but when he was asked how he was getting on with the Pace Notes, replied: “You’d be as well reading ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ to me!”

And finally, finally, what a grand night we had on Friday. Warm and gloriously bright. But I know where that came from, somebody upstairs had turned on the fire, put up his feet and switched on the light – all the better to see what we were up to down here. Thanks Brian.

That’s yer lot for 2006,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Strongarbh, Tobermory, 12 Noon, Sunday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 10

Provisional Top Ten after SS19 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2 Hr 21 Mins 53 Secs
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 2h 24m 23s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 27m 13s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 28m 37s
5 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza) 2h 29m 40s
6 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 2h 30m 19s
7 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 2h 31m 14s
8 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 2h 33m 10s
9 Cameron Maclean/Alastair Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 2hr 34m 34s
10 Tristan Pye/Andrew Roughead (Subaru Impreza) 2h 35m 24s
 (Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

Ten years ago, Neil MacKinnon ran with the number 4 on the door and it was at the end of a somewhat barren spell in terms of results. Ten years on, he had number 4 on the door and hadn’t won for five years. Isn’t coincidence a funny thing?

“This is good, I enjoyed that, and I enjoyed the car,” said  Neil, “The gearbox was fine just as long as I lifted off before changing up. I went quite well in the first two stages on Friday night just to see what the pace was like and then again this afternoon. But the tyres were good too. I started my road rallying days on Michelins and I was using Michelins again tonight, and I was in a McKinstry car. Aye, this was good.”

As ever Calum Duffy finished with a flourish. He had just survived another ‘moment’ in the penultimate stage: “There was all sorts of sh*t and mud at the last junction and I thought this is not the place to have an accident!” But he survived and at the Dervaig junction executed the perfect pirouette to the great appreciation of the serried ranks of spectators. “It was a fast pace all rally,” added Calum, “certainly the fastest rally I’ve ever done.”

John Cope was third : “We had a good run tonight but we were always coming from behind after that puncture. Then we blew a seal in the gearbox and lost the active diffs, and it blew the replacement, but we fitted an old seal for the final stages and we got here.”

Second in class last year, Mike Storrar was top 1600 this time in the Ford Toyota Anglia: “We bent the steering on Friday night after hitting a rock through the Flying Finish at Ardtun and then I drove like a tart in the long one tonight b ut we finished and we used the same set of Matadors all rally, second hand on the back and new ones on the front.” Who said budget rallying was finished.

The Tunnock’s Tour of course is not just about winners, it’s about those taking part. For instance, Donna Ingram (124) in the wee Mini lost all her brakes in the 23 miler and then went into Mishnish quite brakeless. She made it all the way through the stage and Flying Finish to the ‘Stop’ line where the Marshal stepped out into the middle of the road to stop her and give her a time – only he didn’t know she had no brakes! Well, the poor lad executed a lightning-quick audition for ‘Billy Elliot’ while Donna did all she could to miss him, and physical contact was avoided – just!

That’s yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Aros Hall, Tobermory, 2.30 am, Sunday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 9

Provisional Top Ten after SS16 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1 Hr 58 Mins 30 Secs
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 2h 00m 31s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 03m 02s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 03m 57s
5 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 05m 13s
6 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 2h 06m 18s
7 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 2h 06m 46s
8 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 2h 08m 22s
9 Cameron Maclean/Alastair Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 2hr 09m 20s
10 Tristan Pye/Andrew Roughead (Subaru Impreza) 2h 10m 11s
(Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

This was the big one, the 23 miler Loch Tuath/Calgary Bay adrenaline charge. And like something out the ‘Charge of the Dark Brigade’ Neil MacKinnon sped down the valley and round the bay stopping the clocks on 20 mins 26 seconds – you couldn’t do it quicker even if strapped to an Exocet, but there is still cause for concern in the McKinstry camp. The gearbox Neil is using will have to spared, no full rev changes, there’s a long way to go. Calum Duffy is having to be careful too, 2nd gear is beginning to ‘crunch’. Paul Kirtley struck something and knocked the tracking out so the Subaru is a handful and according to Tony Cope brother John thought he was a tractor driver for 400 yards in Calgary – but they got away with it.

Up to an excellent 9th overall is yet another Muileach, Cameron MacLean (41), but he admitted to backing off a bit this afternoon when he saw Doug Weir’s accident … Tim Stell (40) was troubled with a sticking throttle which made his anti-lag interesting … Tristan Pye (36) had a puncture and the car’s not handling too well since … Pat Johnson (23) is troubled with his brakes, they keep snatching the left front and he thinks something is broken … Chris Chadwick (34) struggled through Calgary and the Lochs, the co-driver was changing gear while Ian was steering with one hand, and operating the throttle by the other hand out of the window using a boot lace. Oh, and by the way, some of our ‘foreign’ readers wonder what a ‘midge on a squib’ is, a phrase I used to describe Chadwick’s progress in an earlier bulletin. A ‘midge’ is a small biting gnat and a ‘squib’ is a firework. OK? … Alan Gardiner’s intercom has gone … Tugs Sherrington (35) is having steering problems and Curly Haigh (44) reckons he was setting some fantastic times – for this rally 10 years ago … class leading Mike Storrar (38) is having to hold the door shut with a bungee as the lock has failed and he’s annoyed – the 1600cc Anglia is ‘only just’ out of warranty by some 30 odd years … the politically incorrect Stuart McQueen (28) was spotted having a fly fag at the end of Calgary, just to calm his nerves …  ex Land Rover pilot John Cockburn started the rally gently by not using the anti-lag first time out in a Subaru, but used it throughout the second Leg, so I wonder what he’ll do tonight – use the throttle maybe? … Brian MacLeod (71) has a leaking core plug … and Steve Davies (51) got a fright when both throttle cables broke simultaneously, and then the sumpguard fell off … and Chris Woodcock (54) is under serious pressure, he’s driving Harry Hockly’s Proton and he’s been told to bring it back in one piece – and he’s leading the 1400 class, so no pressure then …and Alistair Willis (110) has returned to Scotland to rally his old Nova run by Andrew Wood. He returned from Bucharest in Rumania where he runs a sandwich factory! … and here is a true tale, would I tell a fib? – Fooey the Fireman (118) went on fire! He was driving Alan Gardner’s old MkI on the basis that if he fixed it he could use it on Mull so the part-time fireman and full time mechanic at MacKay’s Garage was going well till the boot went on fire. It was spotted by other folk and Robert Mathieson (57) pulled over to help him with the merry blaze. But it was only the electrics and the paint which suffered, but I bet his mates will give him a ribbing next time he goes to work.

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

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 8

Provisional Top Ten after SS14 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1 Hr 31 Mins 37 Secs
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 1h 33m 09s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 35m 36s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 36m 05s
5 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 36m 36s
6 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 1h 37m 44s
7 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 1h 38m 09s
8 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 1h 39m 11s
9 Cameron Maclean/Alastair Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 1hr 40m 04s
10 Mark Durham/Andy Mort (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h 40m 10s

(Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

As most of you will know after trudging out of empty stages late on in the afternoon, rallying was curtailed due to a number of separate incidents. Thankfully none too serious, but the cumulative effect meant that the organisers were running out of Road Closure Time to get everyone through. One competitor has been airlifted out of  a stage, but this is purely a precautionary measure as the competitor in question was able to make phone calls whilst the Medics were attending!

So rallying will resume on this 37th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally at 9.00 pm to-night outside the Salen Hotel in Salen, that is provided the event leader makes it to the start time. It would appear that Neil MacKinnon will re-start the third and final Leg tonight on his third gearbox! But at least he is still in the rally, his son Paul isn’t. “I just felt it miss a little last night,” said Paul, “but we thought it was fuel starvation but then on the first stage this afternoon it wasn’t revving too well, and when the oil light came on, I switched off!”

Calum Duffy is still holding off John Cope in second place, Paul Kirtley’s doing the business in fourth but Denis Biggerstaff is closing in and with John Price running in sixth place we have all four home nations represented in the top six of the Tunnock’s Tour.

And just to round off this rather official style bulletin, here is a true tale to warm the hearts of a hospitable nation. Apparently a French family arrived on the island to drive to their hotel earlier this afternoon completely unaware of the fact that this is ‘Motorsport Month on Mull’. Confusion reigned when they were denied access to the road which led past their hotel till Safety Officer Ron Cowan threw his cape across the puddle and bridged the cultural gap. He personally escorted them by orange flashing beacon to a safe spectating point, provided a variety of Tunnock’s confections, apparently they had never seen a teacake before let alone eaten one, and some bottles of Irn Bru, another foreign taste to their culture upbringing. Delighted? Ils sont tres hereuse (that’s French you uneducated lot!). Aye, it just proves the ‘Auld Alliance’ is alive and well on Mull.

And remember, the Mediterrania Restaurant at Salen does the best pizzas on the island. Genuine Italian food cooked to genuine Italian recipes, and both sit-in or takeway. Why not drop in when down that way tonight.

That’s yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Aros Hall, Tobermory, 6.30 pm, Saturday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 7

Provisional Top Ten after SS12 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1 Hr 22 Mins 18 Secs
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 1h 23m 32s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 25m 36s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 26m 19s
5 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 26m 45s
6 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 1h 27m 36s
7 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 1h 28m 12s
8 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 1h 28m 49s
9 Mark Durham/Andy Mort (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h 29m 35s
10 Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (MINI) 1h 33m 23s

(Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

Come daylight, come drama. Last year’s winner of the Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally is out. James MacGillivray crashed towards the end of Mishnish Lochs this afternoon. Given that conditions were dry and bright, it would seem that many folks were after John Cope’s 6m 25s record from last year (including the man who set it!)

But still leading this year’s teacakingly tortuous Tour is Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte, but Neil was looking a bit concerned at the end of the Lochs: “I’ve lost 5th gear again, properly this time, we changed the box last night/this morning, and it looks as though we’ll need another for tonight.”
 
Holding station behind is Calum Duffy: “It’s all we can do, Neil took 12 out of us on the long Tuath. That’s not too bad but it means he’s still pulling away. But I had the biggest moment of my career (what? another one? Ed.) in Calgary Bay. It’s really slippy in there – and there’s lots of spectators!” No doubt playing to the grandstands again, eh!

As for John Cope, he’s still holding third place despite two punctures, one on Tuath and the other in Calgary and has dropped over a minute and a half to Calum. Paul Kirtley had a puncture too and is now up to fourth. “We landed very heavily in Calgary and the tyre just blew out with a big bang,” said Paul, “we were lucky.”

Denis Biggerstaff is fifth: “ We’re starting to get it together. We changed the Notes this morning and it’s working better.” John Price had a front puncture too: “If it had been a rear we would have had to stop and change, but as it was a front we were able to drive out and only lost 33 seconds.” Tony Bardy reckons he’s winning the Hyundai over – at last! And John Swinscoe had a smile wider than Tobermory Bay at the end of Mishnish. Mark Durham is moving steadily up the leaderboard now and Daniel Harper is still battling away with a recalcitrant MINI; “It’s now running straight—ish,” said Daniel, referring to his wheel losing and suspension damaging incident last night.

But James is not the only one, Peter Jackson (50) and Doug Weir (18) are both off in Calgary and it looks as though their rally has been run, and John Cressey is out with a holed piston in the MINI, and we found out what happened to Dougi Hall – engine failure. And now we’ve lost young Paul MacKinnon.

Now here’s a thought for tonight, why not try the Mediterrania Restaurant at Salen? Genuine Italian food cooked to genuine Italian recipes and both sit-in or takeway. Or if you fancy a real Pizza give them a call on 01680 300200.

That’s yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Riverside, Tobermory, 3.00 pm, Saturday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 6

Provisional Top Ten after SS8 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 54 Minutes 20 Seconds
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 54m 58s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 55m 21s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 56m 04s
5 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 56m 50s
6 Paul MacKinnon/Kirsty Riddick (Mitsubishi Lancer) 57m 33s
7 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 57m 39s
8 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 57m 41s
9 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 58m 22s
10 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 58m 36s

(Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

For a few hours early on Saturday morning the Isle of Mull fell silent as exhausted crews and red hot rally cars switched off, but not quite for the army of service crews who then had to refettle the first night’s ravages on this 37th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull.

Looking beyond the leaderboard (which we covered in the previous bulletin) it’s not only the front runners who are having fast and furious fun, although it looks as though the O’Donnell twins have joined the growing ranks of the retired. The Salen Silver Escort was spotted at the side of the road late last night … Bob Grant (52) is out, although in a rather more violent fashion. He rolled in Ardtun but when the car landed back on its feet he tried to drive on, till he was flagged down by spectators, because the rear end of the car was on fire! Fortunately it was just a wee lick of flames, but they did the sensible thing and pulled out …Geoff Wright (78) rolled out of the rally too. Something broke in the rear suspension and that was it, over and out … Another to bite the dust (or the tarmac in this case) was John Paterson (97), the Escort went ‘A’ over ‘T’ over a yump when the nose dug in on landing … Fred MacLean’s (103) suspension snapped on the Hill Road and there was no possibility of carrying on without suspension – if he had, all his teeth would have fallen out by the time he got to service … And there was sadness too for Chris Paton (36th Tour) and Dave Cabena (37th Tour) who retired the Nova at Ardtun when the diff broke … earlier on in the night, Ross Marshall (98) had the top mount on his steering column fail and it was waggling about in his lap, but alternator failure at the end of Ardtun would appear to have put him out … Dave Calvert (95) is out too. When the car slid off the road it got stuck in a ditch and they ran back to get help. By the time they had rounded up the spectators and got back to the car, it had slipped a further 150 feet down a banking into a field, all on its own! … Rick Fry’s (99) Subaru is covered with power steering fluid, but is still going … Ian Curwen (92) was off for 4 minutes at the top of the Lochs but the speccies pushed him back on … and Lyndon Barton is a worried man this morning. He lost 5th and 6th gears last night and was well on the rev limiter in fourth coming over the Lochs. So we wait to see if he-restarts at 12 Noon from Salen.

In the classes, Ian Chadwick (18) is going like a dingbat in the wee Peugeot 106, it’s like a midge on a squib darting through the night and he’s lying 18th overall well clear of 2nd in the 1600 class, Mike Storrar (38) in the Toyota powered Anglia and Chris Tooze (53) who is only 8 seconds behind Storrar in the Corsa Maxi. Top 1400 runner is Chris Woodcock (54) in the Proton Satria while Graham Muter (76) is going well too in his 1400 cc MkII. Also going well is Nicola Harper (136) in the wee Skoda. When the tow car blew its engine on the way here on Wednesday on the A66, they sent the tow car back home on the AA truck and drove the rally car to Mull! It just goes to show that it’s not only John Wayne who had ‘true grit’!

And do you know something, some of these service crews have little to occupy their times when waiting for rally cars to show up. For instance, Denis Biggerstaff’s lot made up a new sticker for the car and applied it to the rear window of the ‘Feckin Irish Whiskey’ sponsored Subaru when he wasn’t looking. The new sign reads: “Two old f*rts in a fast car.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

And now for Leg 2, please take care out there today, park sensibly and watch responsibly. Please do as the Marshals advise and instruct and don’t delay the rally, there’s one heckuva battle brewing at the front.

That’s yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Strongarbh, Tobermory, 11.00 am, Saturday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 5

Provisional Top Ten after SS8 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 54 Minutes 20 Seconds
2 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 54m 58s
3 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 55m 21s
4 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 56m 04s
5 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 56m 50s
6 Paul MacKinnon/Kirsty Riddick (Mitsubishi Lancer) 57m 33s
7 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 57m 39s
8 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 57m 41s
9 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 58m 22s
10 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 58m 36s

(Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

“MullMeister” Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte lead the 37th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally at the end of Leg 1 of Britain’s longest and toughest national rally, but there was slight concern as he booked into the Final Control in the early hours. “I’ve got no 5th gear,” said Neil, “it’s not meshing properly so I haven’t been able to use it over the last few stages. We’re going to have to change the ‘box for tomorrow.”

And after a valiant start John Cope has slipped back into the clutches of Calum Duffy. “Neil’s got the ‘wedge’ now, and I’m battling with Calum,” said John, “but it’s great fun out there, and it’s nice to see most of the front runners still running!” Calum slipped ahead of Cope on the far side of the island after stunning times over Gribun and through a very slippery Calgary: “It’s really bad in Calgary, slippery and sh*tty,” said Calum, but when asked how hard he was trying, back came that impish smile, “It’s on the door handles!”

Paul Kirtley has really got the bit between his teeth: “I had a big moment in Calgary, we got out of shape approaching a crest, landed with two wheels on the grass, and it was one of those moments, you were either off on one side or the other, but we survived.” Closing the gap is James MacGillivray. He raised the front ride height at Service and the car is handling better, but when he went for the handbrake on the Dervaig hairpins, he knocked off the electrical Master Switch and that cost him 20 seconds while he and ‘Fraze’ fumbled about in the dark looking for it. In sixth place and going well is young Paul MacKinnon: “I’m trying to save the car and just see where we are in the results at the end of this Leg. We’re steady away.”

Denis Biggerstaff is 7th and struggling a wee bit in the dark stages, John Price is 8th despite one hard landing that cricked his neck, John Swinscoe is just pleased to have completed ‘Mission 1’ i.e. get to the end of the first Leg in one piece. Rounding off the top ten is Tony Bardy moving up the order as he gets to grips with the Hyundai but as for who is in control? Tony reckons it’s 50/50 between himself and the car!

But missing from the running order as they booked in was Dougi Hall. So out there in the dark October night is a lost red Lancer – we’ll try and find out for later today. And despite his earlier wheel shedding incident, Daniel Harper is still going and still fighting despite an ill handling car that’s trying to steer from the back as well as the front and Ian Colman reckons that the Nissan is going better than him, despite suffering from a ‘whistling and wheezing’ turbo which is going to need some attention before tomorrow.

And if the hunger pangs are biting, the bacon butties at PoshNosh in Tobermory Main Street are just the business in these early hours.

That’s yer lot for now,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Aros Hall, Tobermory, 3.00 am, Saturday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 4

Provisional Top Ten after SS2 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 19 Minutes 52 Seconds
2 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 20m 18s
3 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 20m 21s
4 Dougi Hall/Allan MacDougall (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 20m 33s
5 Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza WRC) 20m 37s
6 Paul MacKinnon/Kirsty Riddick (Mitsubishi Lancer) 21m 09s
7 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 21m 11s
6 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 21m 15s
9 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 21m 20s
10 John Swinscoe/Bill Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) 21m 25s

(Please Note: These times are provisional pending confirmation by Rally HQ)

A clearer picture is now emerging of the battle for the lead on this Teacake Tour of Mull Rally with Neil MacKinnon snatching an early lead after two stages from the on-form John Cope. But don’t discount Calum Duffy yet, the night is young!

Biggest surprise of the night so far is the pace of young Paul MacKinnon (Neil’s son) who is well inside the top ten first time out in a Lancer. James MacGillivray is toiling with the new car which is not yet set up the way he would like it and isn’t Paul Kirtley going well?

Further down the field the casualty list is mounting and the tall tales are getting taller by the mile. Martin Healer (31) broke a driveshaft on SS1 … John Marshall (30) is struggling with turbo problems in his new Subaru … Willie Bonniwell (11) is out with a broken gearbox … Iain Grubb (27) is reported stopped in a stage … Iain MacKenzie (37) has damaged his suspension … Mike Russell (56) broke a driveshaft …. Neil Morgan (48) has lost a headlight (but didn’t admit what against!) … Ian Dawes is having a problem with the MINI, a driveshaft keeps popping out and popping back in again … Stephen Thomson boiled his brakes at the end of SS1 – but in a Nova who needs brakes? …Duggie Ingram (70) is toiling with a misfire. He has a sump in the petrol tank and it keeps slopping past the pickup! (The cheapskate should fill it up)… Martin MacLean (65) got passed by 3 cars when he had fuel starvation … Geoff Wright (78) was looking pleased with himself, he passed one car and caught another in SS2 … John Rintoul (73) lost a chunk of time when he had to stop and change a punctured tyre, well, his co-driver did. John couldn’t see in the dark and Jim changed the wheel on his own – sounds like porkies to me! …Chris Paton (83) is going well. The Nova has new bigger brakes and although they overheated on SS1 were perfect on SS2: “I’m not going to put a spanner near it when I get to service” beamed Chris who is tackling his 36th Tour of Mull whole co-driver Dave Cabena has started all 37! … Grant (Sid the Parrot) Fleming (75) with co-driving Tunnock’s Production  Director Fergus Loudon limped out of SS2 with a broken driveshaft: “It broke in SS1,” said Grant, “and so we had to take it easy through SS2 – but we still didn’t get caught by anyone!” … looking puzzled at Salen was Paul Miller, all the electrics cut out at the end of SS1 and they spent a lot of time fixing it before they could start SS2 so investigations are called for at Service.

And finally, for those of you feeling a little starvatious after this opening night’s entertainment, PoshNosh in Tobermory Main Street is staying open for the purveying of butties and Tunnock’s delicacies till the wee sma’ hours.

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, 11.30 pm, Friday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 3

Leading Cars’ Times after SS2 (of 19)

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 19 Minutes 52 Seconds
2 John Cope/Tony Cope (Subaru Impreza WRC) 20m 18s
3 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy (Ford Escort Mk2) 20m 21s
4 Dougi Hall/Allan MacDougall (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 20m 33s
5 John Price/Caroline Price (MG Metro 6R4) 21m 11s
6 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser (Ford Escort Mk2) 21m 15s
7 Denis Biggerstaff/Graham Thomson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 21m 20s
8 Tony Bardy/Reg Smith (Hyundai Accent WRC) 22m 26s

(Please Note: These are not ‘Results’ it’s just the leading cars’ times after the first two stages, other cars running later may set faster times, but at least this gives you something to go on!)

The 37th carmelicious Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally got underway in Tobermory tonight with the usual noise and colour bringing life to the deepening dusk, and it wasn’t long before the tales started emanating from the darkening Mull roads.

Calum Duffy was first car into the Control at Salen: “Steady away, did the same time as the white car last year on Mishnish so that’s a good start,” said Calum … James MacGillivray hasn’t got too much confidence in the car at the moment: “It’s a bit skippy at the back” … NeilMacKinnon admitted that “he missed a few gears” … John Cope was smiling: “Game on, I was only 6 seconds down on the first one and I think I was on the pace in the second” … Dougi Hall is avoiding the rocks – and the ditches! … Tony Bardy stalled 3 times on the start line of SS1, first time out in the Hyundai, but got clean away on SS2 and admitted: “I haven’t got the b*lls to hold it flat out when I get it in 6th!”  … Denis Biggerstaff said: “I’m here but not very fast” … Eddie O’Donnell is having a torrid time already with a misfire on the first half of each stage and then it clears for the second … John Swinscoe said “I’m here, I’m over the moon – but not very graceful.”

Looks like the first casualty of the night is Steven Clark (32) who is reported stopped in the middle of the first stage, but the ‘OK’ board is out … Daniel Harper reported off at the end of SS2 but back on minus a wheel!

Proving that sportsmanship is not dead, when Mark Durham (22) was on his way in to Tobermory from Dervaig this morning for Scrutineering, he broke his Lancer’s diff. With no spare he was out of tbhe rally, till Giles Phillips (82) lent Mark his spare, so he now has no spare either. Nice one Giles!

And finally, at the end of Day 1 in Turkey, Marcus Gronholm leads the world series counter with Colin McRae in seventh place.

And finally, finally, yet another reminder, if you are going out spectating tonight please make sure you know what the Road Closure times are (in the programme) and get there early. Park sensibly, well clear of the road, and bring your litter back for proper disposal. And if you hear a siren and see flashing lights just ahead of the rally to-night that could be Bulletin Bill with the MullMurmurs, so look out and be ready!

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, 9.30 pm, Friday

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2006 – Murmur Chapter 2

It’s late afternoon here in Tobermory as Scrutineering draws to a close ahead of to-night’s start to the 37th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally. Big Roger and his team of Scroots are shoogling wheels and tugging fire extinguishers big time at Tobermory Distillery but most folk have got through.

One of the highlights so far has been the appearance James MacGillivray’s Ralloy built MkII. The black and white beast with its Scholar engine is a thing of beauty and a tremendous credit to Kevin who has spent some 500 hours and more building it. And then he goes and entrusts it to a farmer who is going to fire it over the tarmac of Mull at ungodly speeds.

Despite having retired, Stuart McQueen (28) is back after 4 years: “If you do nothing else, you’ve got to do Mull,” but he did cause the Scroots some head scratching when he revealed his spare wheel tie-drown strap – it was a dog lead … Paul Kirtley (16) is back with a brand new late 99 spec WRC Subaru and the gorgeous blue paint job just glows in the Tobermory sunshine …Tristan Pye (36) has blown the dust off his old N10 because it is tarmac spec as opposed to his forest spec N11 Subaru and Dad is fussing about like a mother hen as usual … Mark Durham (22) only did 7 stages on Mull last year and has done nothing since, too busy looking after young David Bogie at weekends on BTRDA events … John Paterson (33) is limping, after twisting his right knee two weeks ago trying to get the car ready. Now he’s got to get ready. He’s got a doctor’s appointment at 4.30 this afternoon to drain fluid from his knee. I don’t know about that but I do know how to cure water on the brain – a tap on the head … Steven Clark (32) has a Peugeot that’s not quite a S1600 after last minute problems, but at least he made it this year … Mike Storrar’s Anglia (38) still has the Corolla 1600 engine but he’s got a new diff – and a new coat of  paint (roller-coated Dulux?) so no expense spared there then … John Marshall’s ‘new’, last of the WRC98 spec, Impreza looked glorious in its red paintwork and this will only be his second event in the car … as for his son Ross Marshall (98), for both him and co-driver Vicky Grant this will be there first ever Mull, what an adventure lies ahead – Oh I wish I was young again … Cameron MacLean (41) was looking pensive, he had to buy more tyres: “I only used one set on the Jim Clark, but the roads up here are so abrasive I need to buy more!” It’s Cameron’s 5th Mull but so far his main claim to fame is that when he slid off the road on the Galloway Hills Rally last year he did so in front of helicopter pilots and spectators, Colin McRae and Murray Grierson. And yes, they did push him out … Paul Daniel’s MkII (49) was built by Ralloy 4 years ago and still looks minted and has a brand new Jondel engine after its blow up on the Jim Clark …
Duggie Ingram’s real Mini (70) looks the business with its Jack Knight 16 valve head and throttle bodies on top of the 1380cc block, but he has a theory. With all that power going through the Quaife LSD and driveshafts, he runs road tyres on the basis that it will spin wheels before it will snap shafts – methinks he’s two teeth short of a full diff himself! … John Rintoul’s (73) secret is out, he’s got new glasses so now he’ll see what he’s been missing all these past years … and here’s a tale to warm the hearts of us all out there. Three years after building a rather rapid Corsa, Mark Constantine (68) was always disappointed by its lack of pace and yet on the rolling road no fault was ever found with the 1400cc engine on throttle bodies. Then three months ago quite by chance he found that the fuel pump was only getting 7.5 volts. New pump, new lease of life, so watch him go tonight … another sight for sore eyes was Ian (Fooey the Fireman) Noble from MacKay’s garage who did a deal with Alan Gardner. Alan said he could use the car if he prepped it, and then he saw the car! Two sills later and some floor welding accomplished, along with some TLC to the greasy bits, Fooey will be out in the MkI (118) tonight. He’ll be worth watching too if his skills driving the Fire Engine on Mull’s roads are any indication – but he won’t have the benefit of a blue flashing light! … Ian Curwen (92) is looking forward to his second run out in the Angus Mathieson built Corsa, he got 2nd in class on the Pendragon … Martin MacLean is on his third Toyota 1600 engine in the Sunbeam after two blow-ups. This latest engine was sourced from a scrappie in Manchester for 250 quid with a month’s guarantee – only thing was he didn’t tell them what he was going to do with it … Donald Brown (89) needs a few more miles on his engine before the start tonight. It was only put in the Sunbeam on Wednesday night … Allan MaKay (116) is lying 2nd in class in the Northern Ireland Championship in his 1600 Anglia: “I’ve had the car 30 years and only been married to the wife for 23, so guess who comes first in our household?” (I hope she’s not reading this on the Internet tonight) … it’s Derek Carless’ (91) 26th Mull and he’s borrowed his son’s Peugeot (again): “I turned 60 last year and still can’t give it up!” … and it will be interesting to see how John Cockburn (62) gets on tonight in a ‘proper’ rally car, a Subaru Impreza, he’s the idiot that did it in a 450 bhp TomCat three years ago and a stripped down, cut out Range Rover last year.

And if you need a cheery story, the Bear Cubs turned up in the Nova (149), Heather MacCrone is on her fourth rally and co-driver Sarah Jayne Daly is on her second. The car was built by 8 youngsters from age 12 to 18 and supervised by Steve Davies. With enthusiasm like this the sport is safe – as long as we can keep the MSA away from it.

And happy birthday to John Easson Scholarship winner Ryan Borthwick, he’s 24 today and easy to spot, the wee Peugeot has got gold coloured numerals (100) on the Tunnock’s door plate … By the way, did you see the helicopter flying low over Tobermory Bay and landing at the Golf Course? That was Linda Brown (148) arriving in style, like something out of a Women’s Lib Milk Tray advert. She had been sitting an exam at Aberdeen University today and it was the only way she could get here on time.

And there’s always one, or in this case two, Elvis and Superman turned up at Scrutineering disguised as Tugs Sherrington and Sam Bould (35). I think it was a ploy to distract the Scrutineers from taking too close a look at the MkII!

And finally, with one stage to go today in Turkey, Gronholm was leading but McRae was fifth. Gaun yersel Colin.

And if you are going out spectating tonight please make sure you know what the Road Closure times are (in the programme) and get there early. Park sensibly, well clear of the road, and bring your litter back for proper disposal. And if you hear a siren and see flashing lights just ahead of the rally to-night that could be Bulletin Bill with the MullMurmurs, so look out and be ready!

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, 4.30 pm, Friday

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