1995 – Murmur Chapter 9

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 9

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Final Results after Leg 3 (21 of 21 Special Stages):

1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:57:56
2 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Astra) 2:59:09
3 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel (Vauxhall Astra) 2:59:29
4 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 3:02:17
5 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles (Ford Escort Cosworth) 3:02:31
6 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort RS) 3:04:38
7 Derek Carless/Pete Forrester (Ford Escort) 3:06:33
8 Donald Brown/Fred McLean (Talbot Sunbeam) 3:10:52
9 Mark Jasper/Guy Foster (Ford Sierra Cosworth) 3:10:58
10 Stuart McQueen/Alistair Green (Vauxhall Astra) 3:11:05

Well, that's it, it's all over now. Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte have scored an all time record 7th victory on the 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally. It was also MacKinnon's second hat-trick.

With two stages to go, the heavens opened, and after a glorious weekend, it turned wet, really wet. Having only intermediate tyres, MacKinnon had no choice but to go for it on them and most folks followed suit.

Rally leader Billy Bird was giving it death on the penultimate stage but attacked a corner under the trees just a shade too hard and executed two perfect 360 spins, but got wedged across the narrow road and had to be rescued by two hardy spectators. Still, second overall in the self built rear wheel drive Astra is a marvellous result.

Michael Shiel got to within 20 seconds of Bird in his "normal" front wheel drive Astra and stayed out of the clutches of Richard Thompson in the works Nissan who was under pain of P45 if he returned it in less than pristine condition. Gordon Boyd fought back after his Friday gearbox trouble to claim fifth and Eddie O'Donnell was fairly flying too after damaging his steering and getting a maximum on Mishnish on Saturday afternoon.

Top 1300 was Jim Fergusson in the rear wheel drive Peugeot following Daniel Harper's retirement on the 19th test when the Mini broke its diff and Donald Brown scored an excellent 1600 win with 8th overall.

All that's left now is the prizegiving and the beer race later this evening, and remember, courtesy of Philips Electronics the prizegiving will be televised for the Aros Hall overspill.

And finally, if you're standing in Tobermory on this very weekend in a year's time from now and wondering where all the cars are, you'll be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Next year's event runs a week later on the 18/19/20 October and will be the final round of the MN Tarmac Championship. Don't miss it!!

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet 3:00am, Sunday, Tobermory

1995 – Murmur Chapter 8

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 8

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Very unofficial Leaderboard after 19 out of 21 Stages:

1 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Astra) 2:26:19
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:26:24
3 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel (Vauxhall Astra) 2:27:12
4 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 2:27:23
5 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:29:11
6 Derek Carless/Pete Forrester (Ford Escort) 2:31:11
7 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort RS) 2:33:42
8 Alasdair Ingham/Lindsey Ayris (Lotus Sunbeam) 2:36:32
9 Donald Brown/Fred McLean (Talbot Sunbeam) 2:36:36
10 Doug Weir/Linda Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 2:37:36

With just two stages (23 miles) to go, things are getting very tense at the front end of this year's 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally. Billy Bird still leads, but MacKinnon has narrowed the gap to 5 seconds.

"Birdy" is still cheerful despite the thought of the next two stages, "I'm not going to chuck it off the island at this stage but I'm still going to try for the win."

MacKinnon looks remarkably composed and relaxed about being second, "I was misinformed about Billy's time for the first stage to-night and slackened off too much over the next two."

Michael Shiel's going well and has moved up to third ahead of the Nissan, "I'm getting too ragged now, I'm trying too hard, I'll need to get properly composed and sorted out for the final two."

Richard Thompson is well pleased with 4th place and not going to participate in any heroics at this stage, "Prior to the rally, I never reckoned on getting this high but the car is just spot on. You can't bust it. You just fly over yumps and land with power full on and full-square, it's terrific for a bloke my age to get a chance in a car like this.

Another top ten runner disappears – this time Daniel Harper's valiant run in the Mini has come to grief at the end of SS19, the diff has failed. Doug Weir has therefore joined the top ten but as reported earlier his fuel pumps are cutting out intermittently and that hasn't been cured as yet.

O'Donnell is still going well despite some suspension problems over recent stages but looking forward to the final thrash. Mark Houston has stopped before SS18, we don't know why, but he doesn't appear to be going any further.

My grateful thanks again to John and Claire for helping at Craignure with times and information.

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet 11:30pm, Saturday, Craignure

1995 – Murmur Chapter 7

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 7

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Very unofficial Leaderboard after 17 out of 21 Stages:

1 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Astra) 2Hrs 14Min 33Secs
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:14:45
3 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 2:15:02
4 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel (Vauxhall Astra) 2:15:04
5 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:16:49
6 Derek Carless/Pete Forrester (Ford Escort) 2:20:47
7 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort RS) 2:21:17
8 Daniel Harper/Les Reger (Rover Mini) 2:22:26
9 Alasdair Ingham/Lindsey Ayris (Lotus Sunbeam) 2:23:23
10 Donald Brown/Fred McLean (Talbot Sunbeam) 2:23:26

Unlike Friday night, it's clear out there and you can see the stars – at least, those who are still in the rally!

For another top ten runner has gone, Steve Davies was spotted parked on Hill Road, the first stage of Saturday night.

That means Alastair Ingham has moved into the top ten for the first time but he's rapidly running out of tyres.

But Billy Bird still leads the 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally although MacKinnon has moved up to second place and the rally is getting all set for a grandstand finish.

And well done commentator Paul Taft, when introducing Billy Bird at the Salen start to the massed crowds he announced here is the leading front wheel drive runner. This was news to Billy as he is at the wheel of a rear wheel drive Astra !!!

My grateful thanks to John and Claire for nicking up to the Glen to get these times.

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet 10:30pm, Saturday, Craignure

1995 – Murmur Chapter 6

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 6

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Official Leaderboard after Second Leg, (16 out of 21 Stages):

1 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Astra) 2:01:20
2 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 2:01:28
3 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel (Vauxhall Astra) 2:01:34
4 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:01:38
5 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles (Ford Escort Cosworth) 2:02:42
6 Derek Carless/Pete Forrester (Ford Escort) 2:05:56
7 Steve Davies/Simon Proud (Ford Escort) 2:07:00
8 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort RS) 2:07:45
9 Daniel Harper/Les Reger (Rover Mini) 2:08:08
10 Donald Brown/Fred McLean (Talbot Sunbeam) 2:08:39

There's been a dramatic change around at the top of the leaderboard on the second leg of this year's 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally. On the startline of the opening daylight stage of the day young Calum Duffy's clutch expired and from then on he was fighting a losing battle. He got through the first four tests but the Escort wasn't going to go any further. But did Neil MacKinnon hit the front? No! He went off on Mishnish Lochs and got a Maximum which dropped him to only 4th place (such was his previous leading margin) 18 seconds behind the new leader. So who was leading? It certainly wasn't Eddie O'Donnell. The Escort whacked a rock and splayed the front wheels so he got a Maximum too and dropped to 8th place. That means the new leader is a somewhat surprised Billy Bird in the rear wheel drive Vauxhall Astra by only 8 seconds from Richard Thompson in the "borrowed" works Nissan Sunny GTI-R. And only 6 seconds behind him are the Shiel brothers. And there's more! Three other top ten runners disappeared with John Shirley crashing out of the running and both Stuart Egglestone and the number 71 seed, Dave Miller, also disappeared on that first frantic loop of 4 tests this afternoon. Gordon Boyd has therefore been promoted to 5th despite having to rebuild the gearbox this morning and Derek Carless is sporting a huge grin now that the Escort is behaving itself with its new head gasket. Daniel Harper still leads the 1300 class in the Mini with a superb 9th overall although Les is still in discomfort from his sore foot as he tries to brace himself and Donald Brown still leads the 1600 class but is now up to 10th place. Snippets – Mark Jasper blew his turbo last night, Steve Davies broke 2 rear shocks this afternoon, Donald Brown was off at Dervaig hairpins, Doug Weir's fuel pump keeps cutting out, Jimmy Christie's gearbox is getting awfy noisy and Graham Darcy rolled out of the rally on Mishnish Lochs. Oh, and did you see the Safety Officer during the night? He was spotted herding sheep off the road, and he was wearing his farmers' wellies. Claimed it was for safety reasons !!!!

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet 6:00pm, Saturday, Salen

1995 – Murmur Chapter 5

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 5

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Official Leaderboard after First Leg, (8 out of 21 Stages):

1 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy (Ford Escort RS) 1:02:16
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Ford Escort Cosworth) 1:03:42
3 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort RS) 1:05:58
4 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Astra) 1:07:23
5 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel (Vauxhall Astra) 1:07:33
6 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith (Nissan Sunny) 1:08:04
7 Stuart Egglestone/Steve Egglestone (Peugeot 309) 1:09:04
8 John Shirley/Neil Fraser (Ford Escort RS) 1:09:21
9 Derek Carless/Pete Forrester (Ford Escort) 1:09:59
10 Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey (Ford Escort RS) 1:10:04

Calum and Huigh Duffy set the pace last night on the 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally with a time half a minute quicker than anyone over the opening Glen/Hill Road stage. His Mum was spectating in there and nearly fainted at the sight and sheer speed of the flying Escort. They held their advantage all the way to the end of the first leg, despite breaking a rear shocker in the final stage of the night, to lead MacKinnon/Stayte by nearly a minute and a half. MacKinnon admits to being off the pace because he's rusty and rumour has it that he's not spraying his oxters with Right Guard this morning – he's using WD40!

The O'Donnell twins are going awfy well too but so is Billy Bird, he's really doing well to lead the visitors. Behind him Graham Shiel is now on his third engine mounting but if that's all his problems then he can cope. And what about the number 71 seed, Graham Miller? He's driving a blinder in 10th place.

But they are the lucky ones, Paul Kirtley (8) and Mark Hudson (19) had accidents on the Hill Road and Roy Jarvis (30) brought the phone lines down when he whacked a telegraph pole. Both Gordon Boyd (6) and Steingrimur Ingason (7) face a hectic morning this morning, both are needing serious gearbox repairs. Boydie managed to reach Salen and stay in the main event but Steini couldn't make the last two stages of the night so he's hoping to have a crack at the Trophy Rally.

Other leading retirements include John Price (2) dropped valve, Jimmy Paterson (11) sheared wheel studs, John Cope (17) alternator, Tugs Sherrington (22) engine and Geoff Wright (24).

Daniel Harper leads the 1300 class in the Mini with a superb 13th place at the moment but doesn't know if he'll be going much further. The Mini landed on a rock beyond a yump during the night, tore the floor out of the passenger side, and damaged Les Reger's leg. He had to be taken to hospital to have it seen to. And Donald Brown leads the 1600 class in 16th place and these capacity class battles are just as fierce as the race at the top.

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet Morning (some time), Saturday, Tobermory

1995 – Murmur Chapter 4

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 4

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Early times from 2nd Service at Craignure (after 6 stages)

1 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy – Escort RS 50:44
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte – Escort Cos 51:56
3 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell – Escort RS 53:58
4 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel – Astra 55:00
5 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn – Astra RWD 55:20
6 Stuart Egglestone/Steve Egglestone – Peugeot 56:32
7 John Shirley/Neil Fraser – Escort RS 56:34
8 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles – Escort Cos 56:50
9 Derek Carless/Pete Forrester – Escort 57:14
10 Steingrimur Ingason/Joff Haigh – Nissan 57:20

Official Leaderboard after Stage 3:

1 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy – Escort RS 23:18
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte – Escort Cos 23:57
3 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell – Escort RS 24:51
4 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn – Astra RWD 25:19
5 Michael Shiel/Graham Shiel – Astra 25:21
6 Richard Thompson/Reg Smith – Nissan 25:39
7 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles – Escort Cos 25:29
8 Stuart Egglestone/Steve Egglestone – Peugeot 26:04
9 Ian Gemmell/David Aitken – Mitsubishi 26:06
10 John Cressey/Bob Harris – Manta 26:10

Gordon Boyd (6) has got a problem with a chipped tooth in 4th gear so can't use it. Has the spare parts but needs Saturday morning to take 'box out and repair and re-fit – if it lasts that long.

Michael Shiel broke an engine mounting, Derek Carless blew a head gasket but replaced it at first service, John Dalton is losing time with a spongy brake pedal and Roy Jarvis has a huge "weg" in the driver's side of the Corsa – it took down a telegraph pole! Brian Cameron (58) was spotted cannibalising his own brand new Rover road car to get a track rod end to replace the broken one on the rally car.

Retirements include: John Price (2) dropped valve, Paul Kirtley (8) accident, John Cope (17) alternator, Mark Huson (19), Tugs Sherrington (22) engine, Geoff Wright (24).

Jimmy Paterson (11) went out on the 2nd stage when all four wheel studs sheared on one of the front wheels, but the car's fixed and he'll be out to-morrow and Beefy Fraser (110) was spotted parked up in stage 1.

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet 1:00 am, Saturday, Craignure

1995 – Murmur Chapter 3

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 3

published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet

Early times from 1st Service at Craignure

1 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy – Escort RS 23:18
2 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte – Escort Cos 23:57
3 Eddie O’Donnell/Eddie O’Donnell – Escort RS 24:51
4 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn – Astra RWD 25:19
5 John Cressey/Rob Harris – Manta 26:10
6 John Shirley/Neil Fraser – Escort RS 25:41
7 John Dalton/Chris Baron – Escort RS 26:44
8 Steingrimur Ingason/Joff Haigh – Nissan 26:45
9 Gordon Boyd/Stella Boyles – Escort Cos 27:29

Please note, the above is not an official leaderboard, it merely shows the times of the first cars into Craignure, but it looks like the locals are doing well.

John Kirtley is out though, he rolled it on the Hill Road after passing "Steini" in the Glen so he’s out.

John Price looks as though he’s going no further. The Metro punctured on the first stage and dropped a valve on the third.

Out too are Tugs Sherrington (22) (see earlier Mullmurmurs) with engine problems and Mark Hudson (19) and Geoff Wright (24).

John Cope might be out too. He was spotted between SS1 and SS2 looking for an alternator – this is no place to have the lights going out on you, eh!

Neil MacKinnon says conditions are patchy with roads wet and dry but no standing water. This is his first event since last Mull and he’s rusty. Last year he did the Otterburn Stages before Mull to warm up but didn’t manage this time. So he’s still going canny.

Well, did you spot the earlier deliberate mistakes? No! Good, I didn’t make any then, but it would appear that Derek McGarrity ain’t coming over as nowt has appeared and Ian Corkill is also a non-starter having withdrawn his entry – chicken!

So, who’s won the prize for this year’s last prepared car? Could it be young "Magic" McCombie (135) in the Saab? He was still working on the car going through Scrutineering, even after an all-nighter, and he was so tired earlier on to-day that he sat on his carton of milk. Honest! Anyway, even after Scrutineering he was still connecting up the lights relays.

Take care out there, everyone.

That’s all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet 10:00 pm, Friday, Craignure.

1995 – Murmur Chapter 2

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 2

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

Well, it's starting to feel likes there's a rally on here. The 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally should be underway soon. Big Roger (Whittaker) is reeling from the numbers of cars queuing up for scrutineering – or could that be the fumes from Tobermory Distillery. Everyone seems to be behaving themselves, but one bold sod turned up with racers on the car and was promptly shown the door (or should that be the gate?). Even Gus Morrison (65) passed, but then he's a got a new Peugeot this year, although when it started misbehaving itself, he nearly sent home for the Clan – Roger nearly fainted!

You know something? Looking around the brand new, glorious car park facility in Tobermory, I can't help thinking it's not big enough. No matter how much space you give service crews and competitors, it's never enough. I reckon this lot could clog up the whole of Americky given half a chance! "Car Park" is the wrong name, it should be called "Abandoned – with no thought for others!"

Jim Smith (60) was out recceing the other morning and co-driver Michael Armistead fell asleep. Jim didn't notice until about 6 bends later!

Keeping it in the family. Ali McKay (75) is back for the first time in 20 years and will be navigated by son Garry. He remembers his last visit well, he wrote the wife's car off

Jayne (daughter of George) Hill (72) is here this weekend for her first shot at Mull but when she took co-driver Paul Stringer home to meet the family, he didn't know who George was, and of course George didn't say owt. Anyway, they're sitting there watching an old Tour of Mull film and the commentator says, "Now we'll have a word with rallying legend – George Hill!" Poor Paul, he didn't know where to look!

Steve Woodcock (107) doesn't know how well the wee Toyota MR2 will go on Mull. It's fine for single venue stuff down south but he didn't get much help from Toyota GB about parts. All they could advise was stiffen it up 25 to 30%. The full Grp A engine pushes out around 170 horses but it's only got standard brakes. They'll take a beating to-night.

Another smart car is Richard Thompson's (49) Nissan GTI-R. Richard works for Nissan Motorsports so they allowed him to borrow the car for this weekend. Since it is Stig Blomqvist's 1000 Lakes car I asked him if the bosses knew where he was taking it this weekend. He assures me they do! The car is in fact similar to the machine he used last year but it is left hand drive so he'll need to think twice about cutting corners! More …..

Tugs Sherrington (22) was in bother to-day, the car was overheating on it's way to the Noise Check. Earlier in the week it wrecked a cam when he fired it up but he managed to buy a cylinder head and camshaft from a local chap in Salen and the engine was rebuilt on Thursday night.

Brian Otridge (95) has taken the full race engine out of his Metro and put something milder in. Last year he spent half the rally replacing snapped driveshafts. There are 3 Metros in this year's event so Brian has entered a team called "14R8" comprised of one 6R4 and two 4R2's. Work it out for yourself!

So who's going to win the 26th Philips Tour of Mull Rally? Well, the guy at the front will be hard to beat. Neil MacKinnon is using the same car he used for the last two years but it's got a fairly new engine for this event. Car builder Neil Hiorns ran it in on the Trackrod. However, young Duffy's got a better 2 litre engine and is praying for a dry night, he reckons that the first stage to-night, the Glen Aros/Hill Road is "cleanable" in the dry! I reckon he's nuts. And what about the O'Donnell twins? Young Eddie's got a new 2 litre car and with all that extra power he shouldn't notice the weight penalty he carries in the left hand seat!

Amongst the visitors, John Price is bound to go well. Sixth twice in the past two years, he'll be keen to go a bit better this time but what about Paul Kirtley? He was up to 3rd last year before the car started breaking up around him. Derek McGarrity has been here once before but he's got a Ford instead of the advertised Metro and Ian Corkill should have a good night if it's dry.

As for Steingrimur Ingasson, there's no doubting the lad's speed and talent but the closed public roads on Mull are a lot narrower than the closed public roads on Iceland. Gordon Boyd will no doubt be praying for rain as that should suit the 4WD cars better than the 2WD machinery but John "The Flying Doctor" Shirley will be praying for dry in the 2.2 litre RWD job.

And finally, a message to all spectators. Remember "Closed Roads" mean just that. Behave yourselves out there. Pick your vantage point and get there early then wait till the Road Opening car comes through. Full details and timetable are available at the Aros Hall – where they are selling all the Mull Merchandise.

And, please, take your litter back to your digs for proper disposal. Mull's a wonderful place. Keep it that way.

And finally, finally. From 2300 Car Club to all competitors, have a good rally, but a safe one. Take care out there.

That's all for now, Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet

Late Afternoon, Friday, Tobermory.

1995 – Murmur Chapter 1

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.