MULLMURMURSMULLMURMURSMULLMURMURS – Chapter 9
– published on the island, during the event by Jaggy Bunnet
|Calum Duffy/Hugh Duffy
|Chris Griffiths/Aled Davies
|John Price/Caroline Broad
|MG Metro 6R4
|Eddie O'Donnell/Eddie O'Donnell
|John Cressey/Ian Grindrod
|Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn
|Vauxhall Astra RWD
|Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey
|Daniel Harper/Les Reger
|Mark Hudson/Dave McKinlay
|Steve Cotton/Simon Moss
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.