1998 – Murmur Chapter 9

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 9

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

Final Results:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Hrs.Mins:Secs
1 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 2.07:24
2 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 2.09.55
3 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 2.12.29
4 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 2.14.13
5 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 2.15.06
6 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 2.15.57
7 Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey Ford Escort 2.20.18
8 Daniel Harper/Les Reger Vauxhall Astra 2.20.34
9 Mark Hudson/Dave McKinlay Ford Escort 2.21.39
10 Steve Cotton/Simon Moss Vauxhall Astra 2.23.03

Once upon a time there was a young prince whose sole desire in life was to emulate the achievements of the great folk hero, Sir Boko the Dark Knight. For many years, the Dark Knight had ruled the island kingdom of Mull with nomex gauntlet, his fiery steed sweeping all before it in a manner of dominance never before witnessed in the field of sporting battle.

But the young prince had a dream, and aided by his father, Merlin the Magnificent, did indeed acquire an escort to aid him in his endeavours. This escort was to accompany him throughout his 6 years in the wilderness. And in the manner of all Disney folk tales, the escort had a wilful mind of its own and adopted various guises until its most recent incarnation of mechanical muscle and fortitude.

After many long battles with the black forces of nature the young prince and his escort, guided by his mentor Merlin, did succeed in toppling the Dark Knight from his throne. He returned to the kingdom capital of Tobermory, victorious in battle to be greeted wildly and loudly by an enthusiastic populace – and there by popular acclaim he did indulge in the traditional knightly deed of "doing do'nuts!"

Who says fairy tales don't come true ?

For a long, long time, it looked awfy like a record 10th win for Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte, the Subaru doing just enough to stay ahead of the Duffy-mobile, but in the wee sma' hours of Sunday morning, the lights went out for MacKinnon and Stayte. The alternator failed and the battery went dead between stages 16 and 17 – out of reach of the McKinstry boys.

"There were times we thought we'd never do it," said Hugh Duffy afterwards, "Calum drove well to-night, I never felt unsafe or that he was over-driving, even when he saw MacKinnon out, he kept a level head and a good pace."

"The only thing we did to it was fit a steering rack," said Calum, "On Friday night the steering wheel was shuddering in my hands. Other than that the car ran well."

Was he worried over the final two stages about the car? "Naw, if it didn't break when I was thrashing it, it wasn't going to break now!"

The expected challenge from Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies and John Price/Caroline Broad failed to materialise. Griffiths losing time in a ditch and Price with a puncture and suspension damage while the O'Donnell twins had indulged in a bit too much of the 'Come Dancing' waltz at the Dervaig hairpins. Playing to the crowd again!

John Cressey and Ian Grindrod hid their bus passes from the RAC MSA to hang on to their competition licences for another year and proving that age is no barrier to success in this game, finished 5th o/a.

Daniel Harper could have done better had he not lost a wheel in Calgary and James MacGillivray retired on Saturday night with an ominous rattle from the Corsa's engine. Dougi Hall lost time in the first section with a wire shorting out and Paul Kirtley's turbo was 'sooking' too much air till they found the leak. Steve Davies was going well till the engine handed in its work permit and Stuart McQueen got a Maximum stopping to change a puncture. Rob Barry cowped the Mitsubishi into the 'sheuch' on Mishnish but was rescued by spectators before the car sunk out of sight into a deep, soggy wet peat bog! Martin Healer's gearbox dismantled itself without the aid of a workshop manual and John Cope seized his big ends. Derek Carless lost out to a fuel/electrical problem and Mark Jasper was knocking on the door of the top ten before the Escort died on the last Leg.

In the classes, Mark Wagstaff scored a sensational win in the 1600cc section with 11th overall. The '92 Philips Tour of Mull winner was using an ex-Robin Hamilton old Sunbeam 'shell and the running gear from the retired Anda Campbell's Sunbeam. It wasn't the prettiest motor around but in Waggy's mitts it sure as hell was effective. With Colin McKellar he finished 4 minutes clear of Angus and Marion Mathieson and old timers Chris Paton and Dave Cabena. The remarkable thing about Paton and Cabena is that Chris has competed on 28 of the 29 Mulls so far whilst Dave has done all 29 – and he doesn't look that old, does he? Mind you, CalMac had to bring in an extra tanker with Grecian 2000 this weekend. Howard Moore and Dave Lewis were 4th 1600 in the Honda but 1st GrpA.

Duggie Ingram and Adam Greenaway won the 1300cc battle with 22nd overall – in a Mini. That's not bad at all considering that the 'Barcaldine Bullet' Jimmy Fergusson had been up to 20th when the wee Peugeot lost its spark. 2nd in B9 was the Micra of Paul Darlington and Bob Wilkinson with the Iain Campbell clones in their Nova 3rd.

And so ended the 29th Philips Tour of Mull Rally. On behalf of 2300 Car Club, our grateful thanks to Philips Electronics, and also to Vodafone Communications. To all Marshals, Officials and Radio Operators who braved the elements – and to all Mull residents. My own thanks to Bill, D'arcy and Lashin Linda for their services to bulletin distribution – and a very special thanks to the silent spectator who was there in spirit throughout the past week at Dervaig. Once again, from all of us, thanks Brian.

That's yer lot for this year,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Sunday.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 8

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 8

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

Provisional Top Times after 17 out of 19 Special Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Hrs.Mins:Secs
1 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 2 Hrs 7 Mins 24 Secs
2 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 2.09.55
3 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 2.12.29
4 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 2.14.13
5 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 2.15.06
6 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 2.15.57
7 Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey Ford Escort 2.20.18
8 Daniel Harper/Les Reger Vauxhall Astra 2.20.34
9 Mark Hudson/Dave McKinlay Ford Escort 2.21.39
10 Steve Cotton/Simon Moss Vauxhall Astra 2.23.03

Big dramas on the final Leg of this 29th Philips Tour of Mull Rally. It very much looks as though rally leader Neil Mackinnon is out. He had a problem in Aros with the alternator, and the battery was changed for Gribun but so far he has failed to make the start of Scridain … Calum Duffy could therefore be the new new leader, but let's not count chickens, eh? Look what's happened to MacKinnon … Unconfirmed reports also have it that the McKinstry Subaru is in a ditch.

MacKinnon pulled over to let other cars through but without lights couldn't see where he was going … Could this be Duffy's year, if it is, there will be one hell of a party in Dervaig on Sunday night … John Cressey is also in alternator trouble but he's still going … Daniel Harper had another lucky escape bending a wheel rim on a Gribun rock but the tyre stayed intact … Early 1300 class leader Jimmy Fergusson is out, alternator failure when he was lying 20th o/a … Robin Hamilton is out for the same reason … Derek Carless retired with electrical/fuel trouble … Rick Fry lost time this afternoon when a turbo pipe blew off and Gareth Jones lost time with a bent steering arm and puncture … And finally, it's anniversary time again. Exactly one year ago to-day Andy and Vicky Rhodes got married and spent their honeymoon, in a Mini, on the 28th Philips Tour of Mull Rally.

So where are they celebrating their first anniversary? In a Mini, on the 29th Philips Tour! … And finally, finally, for those gourmets amongst you who took delight last year in the local Ceilidh Place delicacy, 'Reindeer Droppings' (supposedly choc chip cookies) will be denied that pleasure this year due to a scarcity of natural ingredients. Not to be outdone, Susan has come with a new tantalising titbit, Highland Cow Pats (a sort of biscuit covered in chocolate) with 'bits' in it. Susan says they're raisins – I ain't so sure!

That's yer lot meantime,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
The Ceilidh Place, Craignure, Saturday, Midnight.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 7

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 7

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

Provisional Top Times after 14 out of 19 Special Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Hrs.Mins:Secs
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza) 1.01:56
2 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy (Ford Escort) 1.02:54
3 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies (Subaru Impreza) 1.04:58
4 John Price/Caroline Broad (MG Metro 6R4) 1.05:57
5 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod (Opel Manta) 1.09:00
6 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Vauxhall Astra RWD) 1.09:59
7 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell (Ford Escort) 1.11:06
8 Bill Bonniwell/Tom Smith (Ford Escort) 1.11:13
9 Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey (Ford Escort) 1.12:41
10 Daniel Harper/Les Reger (Vauxhall Astra) 1.14:14

Neil MacKinnon still leads the 29th Philips Tour of Mull Rally and despite investing in a new set of tyres for those last 3 tests, Calum Duffy hasn't been able to close the gap on the ol'timer … Chris Griffiths reckons it was worth the long trip north just for those last 3 stages "my tyres are knackered" … John Price found some really old, hard tyres, "who would have thought you'd need hard tyres for Mull?" … Rob Barry dropped out of the top ten when he rolled in Mishnish Lochs but spectators got the car back on its wheels … Steve Davies is stopped in Mishnish, mechanical problems … Daniel Harper lost more time in Calgary 2 having to stop and change a puncture … Davy Crockett rolled in Mishnish but spectators helped him out too … Magic McCombie is going better in the Saab after last night's problems with a broken fan belt, which meant no lights … Andy Fletcher lost 3 mins stranded on top of a rock in Calgary … Alan Gardiner is having trouble with locking brakes … Keith Turner said he was "nearly off" in Mishnish Lochs and co-driver Heidi Winstanley laughed and said, "what do you mean nearly?" … Lock Horsburgh had no brakes for the latter half of last night but fixed for to-day … Linda Allen had no brakes over these last 3 stages to-day … Andy Rhodes had no lights last night when the master switch burnt out … Stuart Atkinson is still making up time after yesterday's puncture … Martin Rowley got a fright when he was catching a car, and then it spun in front of him … Alan Douglas had a coil lead come off in one stage and a plug lead in another … Mark Hughes has had 2 Maximums, one with a puncture and then another when he spun into a boggy field … Gordon MacFadyen lost 5 minutes on the start line of Mishnish when a fuel line came off … Nickie Harper is on her first rally and just wants to finish, she doesn't care where … Pat Inkle's Imp is chewing up alternator belts which means no electricity … Paul Gunn had an electrical plug come loose in 3 successive stages, but its fixed now … And finally, Paula Swinscoe is OK after her bump last night in the Rothmans liveried MkII and the two Andys, Brereton and Marchbank, are OK too after their wee hiccup when the car jack collapsed – and there's a lesson for us all there, eh!?

That's yer lot meantime,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Island Bakery, Saturday, Late Afternoon.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 6

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 6

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

Provisional Top Times after 11 out of 19 Special Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Mins:Secs
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte Subaru Impreza 82:14
2 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 83.01
3 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 85.32
4 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 86.08
5 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 88.28
6 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 89.04
7 Steve Davies/Pete Pinnington Ford Escort 90.06
8 Bill Bonniwell/Tom Smith Ford Escort 92.08
9 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 92.28
10 Rob Barry/Allan Whittaker Mitsubishi Lancer 90.33
11 Mark Jasper/Alan Snell Ford Escort Cos) 90.57
12 Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey Ford Escort 91.34
13 Ian Colman/Alison Colman Nissan Sunny 93.15

The weather's cold, the roads are dry but the competition is white hot in this year's Philips Tour of Mull Rally but rally leader Neil MacKinnon has put a little more daylight between himself and Calum Duffy despite coming out Mishnish Lochs with a front wheel puncture on the John Allan Motors Subaru … Calum Duffy has lost out, his tyres are just a bit too soft, getting too hot and going 'off' which is giving him a lot more understeer than he really wants … Chris Griffiths is still 3rd despite breaking a front wheel and puncturing a tyre on Calgary … John Price is going OK and after fears that the front suspension was damaged last night, everything was fine for to-day … bad news for Daniel Harper, a wheel came off in Calgary taking all the studs with it and he limped into emergency service at Dervaig but has lost time … Steve Davies has been stuck in top gear since Calgary and can't get any other gears … Eddie O'Donnell had a funny time on the first stage so don't treat the above times as gospel … Bill Bonniwell is having the same trouble as Duffy, tyres going off – me, I think the buggers are just melting them out there!

That's yer lot meantime,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Island Bakery, Saturday, Mid Afternoon.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 5

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 5

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

Provisional Top Times after 8 out of 19 Special Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Mins:Secs
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte Subaru Impreza 62:38
2 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 63.02
3 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 66.02
4 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 66.06
5 Steve Davies/Pete Pinnington Ford Escort 67.32
6 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 67.38
7 Daniel Harper/Les Reger Vauxhall Astra 67.52
8 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 68.07
9 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 68.47
10 Bill Bonniwell/Tom Smith Ford Escort 69.42

On a night when it wasn't even safe to take your goldfish for a walk, the rally crews were out there. Wet? The rain was horizontal over on the west side, but it didn't slow down those two at the front … MacKinnon took 10 seconds out of Duffy on Loch Scridain but Duffy took 6 out of the ol'man on the last one at Gribun, to leave the overnight gap at 24 seconds … John Price punctured on the last stage of the night and drove out on the rim but thinks he may have incurred some suspension damage … that means Chris Griffiths has moved back into 3rd place … Steve Davies' earlier problems with water loss and oil leaks seem to be OK and he was putting pedal t'metal over closing stages to move into 5th just ahead of the irrepressible John Cressey … And isn't Daniel Harper going well? The Astra obviously handles a lot better than the Mini, but according to Daniel, "every time it hits standing water, it still wants to chuck itself off the road" – and there was a lot of that last night … Mark Hudson broke a shock absorber on the last one, but is otherwise OK … Leading 1600 driver is '92 Philips Tour winner, Mark Wagstaff but he's only 9 seconds clear of the fast closing James MacGillivray, but there's doubts about Jock the Bull making the re-start to-day, the Corsa's engine developed a rattle over Gribun … Top 1300 is Paul Darlington in the Micra in 43rd place and he's nearly 3 minutes clear of Jim Brindle in the Mini … Martin Healer's going no further though, his gearbox broke … Jim McDowall bowfed a rock on the final stage last night and knocked the chassis leg back so he's currently breaking sweat (which is quite unlike him) to get ready for this afternoon … And here's an appeal from Willie (the Pink) Paterson in car 93, he urgently needs an exhaust manifold and exhaust system for a Pinto, can anyone out there help? … And Gordon Boyd looks awfy pleased with himself. The 4WD Escort Cossie driver is out in a Nova. First time in front wheel drive, "This is some place to learn!" … And finally, Ian Curwen in car 121 complained of a loose gear lever last night, but according to the service crew, it's only loose in neutral! Methinks that's a gentle dig at the driver, what do you think? … And what about the Marshals, they were true heroes last night too, gaun yersels lads and lassies.

That's yer lot meantime,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Tobermory, Saturday, High Noon.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 4

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 4

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

Provisional Top Times after 6 out of 19 Special Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Mins:Secs
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte Subaru Impreza 51:10
2 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 51:30
3 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 53:35
4 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 53:57
5 Steve Davies/Pete Pinnington Ford Escort 54:41
6 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 55:09
7 Daniel Harper/Les Reger Vauxhall Astra 55:13
8 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 55:45
9 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 56:11
10 Rob Barry/Allan Whittaker Mitsubishi Lancer 56:54

It's still awfy wet out there and most of the front runners are on full wets, although Callum Duffy was running intermediates on the front and wets on the rear. Unfortunately, he appears to have picked up a 10 second penalty, but this will be queried as one or two others have also incurred unexpected time faults … Neil MacKinnon still leads, but had to avoid a deer at Torloisk, which failed to use a zebra crossing … John Price moved into 3rd place when Chris Griffths slid sideways into a ditch on SS4, had it not been for 4WD he would have stayed there … Daniel Harper has passed 5 cars in 6 stages – that's more overtaking than a F1 race … Steve Davies skelped the Penmore bridge, but got away with it … Mark Hudson is losing oil and has a broken rear turret … Stuart McQueen got a Maximum on SS4 when a tyre punctured and was forced to stop and change it … Richard Egger retired SS1 when his borrowed engine over-fueled itself and refused to run … Linda Allen is feeling quite honoured, her co-driver, Stephen Robson was co-driving for Jim McRae Esq last weekend – so how come he got a road penalty on the first loop, nice one Linda, don't let him forget that one … And here's an appeal from Willie (the Pink) Paterson in car 93, he urgently needs an exhaust manifold and exhaust system for a Pinto, can anyone out there help, pretty please?? … And finally, if you were a caring husband celebrating your 28th wedding anniversary and wanted to take your wife out for a nice drive in the country and a nice meal amongst friends, what would you do? Ronnie Thom of 'Wheels Around' the tyre truck is a caring and considerate husband – he's only gone and brought the Missus with him and treated her to a nice nosh in the Ceilidh Place during the Service Halt! Congratulations to Ronnie and Daisy, from all of us.

That's yer lot meantime,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Craignure, Saturday, 2:00 am.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 3

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 3

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

Provisional Leaderboard after 3 Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Mins:Secs
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte Subaru Impreza 23:33
2 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 23:53
3 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 24:38
4 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 24:57
5 Daniel Harper/Les Reger Vauxhall Astra 25:26
6 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 25:29
7 Steve Davies/Pete Pinnington Ford Escort 25:30
8 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 25:38
9 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 25:45
10 Derek Carless/Andy Marchbank Ford Escort Cos 25:52

No change to the leaderboard from MULLMURMURS 2 but more stories follow … the O'Donnell twins lost a minute in the 3rd stage when the car swopped ends and then stalled. The battery also came loose and bashed the rear wing of the nice Salen Silver paint scheme … Daniel Harper's going well, eh? 1st time out in the Astra, "I didn't think I was going quickly and was trying harder, then nearly frightened myself when I saw the times, It just does everything easier and better than the Mini!" said Daniel … Paul Kirtley's had a slow start when a leak in the air inlet to the fuel mapping sensor refused to let the car rev above 3,000 … Bob Cowe had a front puncture in SS1 … Doug Weir's fan belt broke in SS3 … Mark Jasper's finding the Escort a lot quicker but more twitchy than the old Sierra … Frosty Smart put the Lancia off in SS1 … Mark Wagstaff broke the exhaust in SS2 … Robin Hamilton did SS3 on sidelights when the alternator failed … Billy Bird had to turn off his spots when the fan belt broke on SS1 … John Cope is way down in the 60s after running the first stage on a puncture which then knocked the tracking out for the next two … Chris Paton's front strut came loose on SS3 and slowed him up, worried about the wheel coming off … Walter Barr got a puncture in SS1 … Gavin Grimshaw retired in SS1 when the gearbox broke … Paul Brown has had no intercom from the start and the co-driver's having to shout. Trouble is Paul can only hear half of it and doesn't know which half it is! … Jimmy Fergusson can't hear his co-driver either as the intercom is not fitted to his helmet properly but he's still top 1300 runner in 20th place – and his fan belt was slipping … Gordon Boyd's map light failed on the 1st stage, but Stella had invested in a Philips Tour of Mull Rally torch at the Aros Hall this morning and calmly switched it on and used that to read the notes … And finally, a timely warning to all rally crews, please be careful when jacking up and axle-standing cars. There has been one nasty accident already to-night when Andy Bereton was injured, pinned under a car. He suffered an awfy severe dunt but was still able to shout at his crew to carry on, even when the ambulance men carted him off to hospital! So everyone, PLEASE take care out there.

That's yer lot meantime,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet,
Craignure, Friday, 11:30 pm.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 2

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 2

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

Provisional Top Times after 3 out of 19 Special Stages:

Posn Driver/Co-Driver Car Mins:Secs
1 Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte Subaru Impreza 23:33
2 Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy Ford Escort 23:53
3 Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza 24:38
4 John Price/Caroline Broad MG Metro 6R4 24:57
5 Daniel Harper/Les Reger Vauxhall Astra 25:26
6 Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn Vauxhall Astra RWD 25:29
7 Steve Davies/Pete Pinnington Ford Escort 25:30
8 Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell Ford Escort 25:38
9 John Cressey/Ian Grindrod Opel Manta 25:45
10 Derek Carless/Andy Marchbank Ford Escort Cos 25:52

Do not treat the above as the gospel truth, these are merely times of the first cars running on the road … but by heck it's slippy out there and the front running cars encountered horizontal rain on the west coast at Gribun … top three cars running cut slicks with Price on full wets, but it wasn't an easy decision to make, the first stage was dry, the second damp and the third streaming wet… Griffiths concerned about the handling of the Subaru, no reason for it, but it's darting about the road and "frightening the sh– out of me at times" he said, switching from 18 inch wheels to 17s … MacKinnon's sticking with his 18 inch wheels and quite happy with the McKinstry car … Duffy's OK but the windscreen misted up on him on the third stage and he couldn't see … James MacGillivray was off for a few minutes at Dervaig on the beach, but still going … Steve Davies' car lost all its water on the way into first service and its losing oil too … Dougi Hall got a Maximum on SS2 when the rev limiter caused electrical failure … and it looks as though Steve Smith in car 50 is one of the first retirements.

Distributing the news instead of making it are D'arcy and Lashin Linda. They were originally entered at car 64, but the Astra went sick so they volunteered to help out 2300 CC, and they said, "distribute MULLMURMURS", nice one you two … D'arcy and Linda are also running the 'Beer Rally' on Sunday night, if you want to take part, turn up at McGochan's at 8:00 pm, or earlier if you want to practice … If anyone has lost a Peugeot ignition key, Clive Molyneux at Rally HQ found it in Tobermory Main Street.

That's yer lot meantime, look out for more news later.
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Craignure, Friday, 10:00 pm.

1998 – Murmur Chapter 1

MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 1

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

Well hullawrerr chinas, and howzitrevvin? Welcome yin and a' to the 29th Philips Tour of Mull Rally here on the wonderfuel Island of Mull, the place where they send trainee TV weather forecasters – as it's the only place you can see all four seasons in one day. But a word to the wise for first timers over here, it doesn't actually rain on the island, it's just that they tend to wash the fresh air pretty often. Cleanliness is next to godliness they say, and this is certainly God's own country!

Rally programmes and all sorts of other memorabilia are on sale in the Aros Hall and the full colour progs include maps which show you exactly where to go and when to get there. This is a compulsive bit of kit for the spectator, make sure you get one!

Other first-timers who are clutching this piece of recycled bog roll may wonder what the hell it is. In their wisdom (weakness or short-sightedness?), the 2300 Car Club organising team have again arranged to have an on-event bulletin service to try and keep you up to date on rally news, So keep an eye open for 'MULLMURMURS' throughout the event. These FREE scandal sheets will be distributed around the rally route at Tobermory, Salen, Craignure and the parts that other periodicals fail to reach.

As usual the fun started last night with the Rally Forum in the Aros Hall where that helluva nice chap, John Fife attempted to maintain a modicum of control over the likes of John Price and Caroline Broad, Chris Griffiths and Neil MacKinnon, and Motoring News Rallies Editor, David Evans. On behalf of the organisers we really appreciate the rally stars taking time out of their pre-event prep to talk to the likes of us. And as far as crowd attendance goes, McCoist and McAuley's viewing figures must have been rubbish last night, 'cos everyone was in the Aros Hall.

Seeded number 1 is Neil MacKinnon and there's a rumour going about that he will get nominated for a Knighthood if he scores a record 10th victory on the island. Arise Sir Boko! But he's really up against it this year. He's only done two events, one in August which he didn't finish due to mechanical problems and the Castle Rally in Southern Ireland a couple of weeks back where he finished 6th in the Kenny McKinstry Impreza he's using this weekend.

His biggest threat comes from south of the border where John Price has been in record breaking form this year winning his 8th national Safety Devices Tarmac Rally title while Chris Griffiths who has been second on the Philips Tour for the past 2 years also finished runner-up to Price in the national series. Price will use that wondrous sounding piece of machinery, the only thing with a Rover badge that is worth having, his V6 MG Metro 6R4. This was the guy who dropped to last place on the first Leg last year when the car smacked a bridge parapet and then fought back to 5th overall. Wonderfuel! And Griffiths is no slouch either. Remember that mesmerising run in the dark up the 23 miler last ear to snatch 2nd place back from Eddie O'Donell.

This year's event is shaping up to be the best yet. Calum Duffy has got his newly rebuilt engine in (at the last minute as usual!) and has run it in for 250 miles, so he's ready "to do the business".

James MacGillivray, who was lying 3rd in a 1600 Corsa 2 years ago is back in another Corsa, so watch out for more giant-killing antics and the O'Donnell twins also reckon they are long overdue a win on their home event. In others words, if you're going spectating to-night, stand well back – rally car shrapnel flies a long way! And what about Billy Bird who finished 3rd on this event 2 years ago and then there's Dougi Hall who held off Price last year for 4th and John Cope's converted his GrpN car to bigger turbo and bigger brakes and Mark Jasper means business having replaced the big Sierra with an Escort. Phew!

Daniel Harper's got a new motor too. The guy who can drive a Mini into the top ten has bought the ex-Egglestone brothers GrpN Astra. He only got it 2 weeks ago so this is some learning curve this weekend. Another driver in a strange motor is Gordon Boyd who has bought Monty Person's Nova since the promised Escort is still in bits! And it was nice to see Mark Wagstaff, the '92 Philips Tour of Mull winner back on the island. He will be rallying a garden shed, oops sorry, it's a rather old Sunbeam shell which was hastily purloined in which to fit Anda Campbell's greasy bits – since the tin-worm had been making a meal of Campbell's old bodyshell! Still, it's the effort that counts, not the looks.

Behind the scenes of this 29th Philips Tour the sponsors have been hard at work and it really is encouraging in these less enlightened business times to experience such enthusiasm. Using their powers of influence they persuaded Vodafone to commission a new cellular mast 6 months ahead of schedule to help improve communications on the island. For remember, good communications are vital for improved safety. Which brings us to the moral of this first tale.Think safe, drive safe and stay safe. So if you meet any of the Philips people, David Jordan, Ash Dasgupta or Mark Dale, buy them a drink from me – and make sure they come back for the 30th Philips Tour of Mull.The Rally starts to-night at 7:00 pm from the car park in Tobermory alongside the Philips Exhibition unit, but if you're intending to spectate on the stages, remember to get there early, before the Road Closure Orders come into effect, do as the Marshals tell you, and take care out there!

That's yer lot meantime, we'll be back later at Craignure.
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Friday afternoon.