MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 1
– published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet
Well hullawreer chinas, and howzitgaun, or should I say, Bonjour, comment allez-vous aujourd hui, il pleut n'est ce pas? Wait a minute, that's wrong, Britain is in Europe, but the island of Mull ain't!!!
Welcome to the 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally, here on the golden isle, that jewel of the Atlantic, the last staging post (apart from the outer isles!) before the Statue of Liberty looms over the horizon (Shooot, where does he get this rubbish – Ed?)
And speaking of welcomes, a special Ceud mil Failte to Icelandic star, Steingrimur Ingasson. Following last month's Reykjavik Rally in Iceland, "Steini" said he was coming over to do Mull. Since he was drunk at the time, no-one believed him but his self-built spaceframe Nissan is here, and so is he. Here's hoping his trip is worthwhile and he has a good run.
Anyway, the object of this here modest epistle is to try and capture the flavour of this unique event, the only closed public road stage rally on the British "mainland". And it all got underway last night with the Rally Forum in the Aros Hall.
A special thanks to all who took part, CofC Nigel (buy me a drink and I'm yours) Worswick, John Cressey (more of him later), Ian Grindrod, Michael Shiel, Ian Gemmell, Chris Paton and Dave Cabena, Jimmy Christie and Jim Howie and young Eddie O'Donnell. And by the way, I got an unsolicited testimonial from an interested non-rally spectator this morning. He found the Forum amusing and informative – we did something wrong. The attendance was up on last year with standing room only at the back. No bad eh?
Speaking of Cressey, he's in the wars as usual. Preparations started six weeks ago and he's now on his 3rd engine. He wrecked the first engine, cracked the block on the second and his poor wee engine builder has put in 200 hours during his leisure time to get the Manta on the island.
Ian "The ol'Man" Gemmell (1975 Mull Winner) is back for more this year but in an Avenger or a Ford. According to Ian it is a "MitchyBitchy" Galant VR4. This will be his first time in a 4WD machine and turbocharged at that. He tried it out on a local road rally two weeks ago and said it's like driving an armchair!
VERY IMPORTANT!! For all competitors. No slicks allowed on this event. Did you know this is Strathclyde Region "Tyre Safety Week" and guess where the Polis come from for this event. You're right, Strathclyde. During the campaign they do random checks for tyre tread depth (1.6 mm in case you didn't know). You have been warned. More over ……..
And they are already active. David Fotheringham (Dermot Common's co-driver) got a ticket for "Failure to Display", i.e. no tax disc on car windscreen. Guess where he was at the time? Yup, you've guessed, inside the Post Office with the old disc getting a new one!!
Ian Wilson's not coming. Bottom pulley came off engine and now has 16 bent valves. Sick? I'll bet. That means top notch (so he says) co-driver John Bennie is available for work! Anybody called off, anybody car sick?
Gordon Boyd must be taking this seriously, I saw him coming out the Haven Restaurant last night and he RAN up the hill. Either that was a jogging suit he was wearing or it was his old clothes!
Chris Paton (this is his 24th Mull) officially retired after last year's Mull. He returned home and sold the Sunbeam. Then about March/February time he started looking the "Motoring News" adverts, and guess what? He's back on Mull with a 1300 Nova.
Michael Shiel (remember the toasted tyre warmers from 2 years back?) is back with the Astra but he's still trying to fit the electronic ignition which has more loose ends than a family of octupuses. He's also got a cracked sump to repair and a new one is on its way over to-day.
And finally, it's a very special, warm welcome back to Philips Electronics who sponsored this event in it's very early days and provided the sound footing for future events, and here they are back again putting a professional gloss on "the best rally in the world" and that's official, see Brian Molynuex's book of the same name. Buy a copy and get it signed by the author, then treasure it.
For those of you who can't get into the packed prizegiving on Sunday evening, Philips have set up a video link so that the overspill can watch the proceedings on a big TV downstairs, nice one Philips!
That's yer lot meantime, we'll be back later and will be at Craignure during the night. Look out for the while Albion minibus.
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, mid-day Friday.
P.S. Still looking for that unique Christmas present? 2300 Car Club are selling commemorative goodies in the Aros Hall and John Fife has some end of season Scottish Rally Championship tee-shirts for sale.