MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 1
– published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet
Well hullawrerr chinas, and howzitgaun, or should I say, anhowzitrevvin? This latter phrase being a quaint Glasgow term for, "Is your car properly tuned and in good order? And for sure, that's what's needed this weekend on the glorious autumnally spattered Island of Mull half way between Scotland and Americky.
And just in case you hadn't guessed, the reason the rally cars are here is the 27th Philips Tour of Mull Rally, the longest, toughest, hardest, most enjoyable national rally in Britain, well, Europe really. Oh heck, what the hell, it's the best damn rally in the world, bar none. And speaking of bars, there are one or two of these scattered about the island but don't indulge if you're driving, wait till it's all over.
If you're a first time visitor to this event then you'll find the 2300 Car Club Spectator Guide invaluable and these are available free of charge throughout the day on Friday at the Aros Hall which is also Rally HQ. If you're going out spectating, remember the Road Closure Orders. Fill your flask with lumpy soup, load up with sannies and get there early.
The rally got underway last night in the Aros Hall with the Rally Forum providing the assembled millions with a unique insight into this year's event and all were grateful to those who took the time and trouble to turn up and regale us with a pack of lies, or rather a few homespun truths. Prior to the Forum we had a unique in-car film showing the O'Donnell twins going over Mishnish Lochs in daylight last year, that was guid crack. Anyway, thanks to, CofC Nigel (Chief Bar Groupie) Worswick, Stella Boyles, John Cressey, Chris Paton, Calum Guy and young Eddie O'Donnell.
But already we're missing a few of the top seeds, so if you have a Spectator Guide there will be one or two changes to make. John Brodie ain't coming (diff problem), Dave and Mike Pattison ain't coming (no cars) and Raymond Munro is another non-starter.
But the rest are here. Neil MacKinnon is aiming for a record 8th victory on Mull this year and has borrowed a right weapon for the job, Kenny McKinstry's Group A Subaru Legacy. Kenny himself has had a look round the island and there was a twinkle in his eye when he said he quite fancied having a go himself – maybe next year? Reckons the roads here are similar to Southern Ireland, narrow, twisty and full of blind crests.
Just as intent on doing the business is young Duffy who appeared late at Scrutineering after finishing the car preparation at 11:0 pm last night. Same spec as last year and we all know how quick that was.
Maintaining the island challenge is James Mac Gillivray who has a Corsa 1600 running on Webers and is apparently lighter than the Nova last 1600 used by Andy Knight, remember that? So James should go well to-night too. Backing up the challenge is Eddie O'Donnell who has
once again demonstrated his sheer professionalism and dedication. He has lashed out and bought a brand new battery for the otherwise unchanged machine!
Richard Thompson (4th last year) is back with another new Nissan, this time the 1992 ex Stig Blomqvist machine. The Nissan works car builder had actually built his own car in his own time out of second hand parts – and then the boss sold it! Anyway, he relented and let Richard borrow this machine, but on the same basis as last year, if he bends it, he needn't bother showing up for work!
Derek Carless is back for more despite his annual protestations of retirement and resistance to new technology. He's only gone and got an Escort Cossie. John Cope has re-shelled the Sierra and is rarin to go as is Paul Kirtley who is keen not to repeat last year's "minor" indiscretion. He gave it an awfy smack, remember?
Nice to see Stephen Price wandering about after his horrific accident and the car is doing well too. It has been re-jigged, rebuilt and repaired and he'll be out in the New Year but he's "minding his Dad" this weekend.
John Cressey has swopped the Manta's Ford Cosworth engine for an Astra 16v unit and reckons its quicker, if he's got the nerve to press the right pedal all the way to the floor, and Colin "son of Ian" Gemmell is obviously maintaining the family tradition. Ian's previous co-driver David Aitken is sitting beside Colin, "Just as daft as his Dad, we went for a run and had to use reverse twice in the first mile".
And finally, it's a nice to welcome back 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". The Philips folk have already been active and every school kid on the island has already had pencils, wallets, sweets, bugs, balloons and posters.
This year the company only has one employee competing. Chris Paton has contested every event apart from the first one – he said he was too young to do the first rally over here!! That is a pretty unique record. And let's all extend a warm Highland welcome to David Jordan, Financial Director of Philips, if we keep him happy, Philips will come back, eh?
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. Philips are selling "Tigger" and "Lion-King" torches with all proceeds going to the Mull swimming pool fund. So go and get lit up!