Originators of UK closed road motorsport

1999 – Murmur Chapter 2


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


Well, it's not long now. At 8:00 pm this evening, the Island of Mull sets another Great British precedent, the first ever 'city centre special' a rally stage through the town centre of Tobermory.

The 30th Tour of Mull Rally will be flagged off by Philips Electronics Chairman and Managing Director, David Jordan, a regular visitor to the event and now a rally enthusiast- Thanks for your help and support over the years, from all of us. Also from Philips, Nigel Rigler and Alan Breckell are here, whilst Jim Strathie of Argyll & Bute Roads Department is another most welcome guest. Give them all a cheer from me at the Rally Start to-night.

And now back to business. The Scrutineers under the direction of 'Roger the Bodger' have been busy all day and gave one crew a fright when they found their helmets were TWO years past their crash-by-date! Needless to say they were sent on their way to find new lids.

Another tale concerns the Noise Test Officials. When Callum Duffy drove up this morning, the Chief in Charge said, "Don't even bother getting out of the car. Go away and get it quietened!" Callum passed at his second visit.

George Hill got a wee fright too. The 4 times Mull winner sprung a leak at the Noise test. His brand new EVO6 was dropping oil but quickly fixed. He's only had one run in the new car, two weeks ago, when he finished 6th o/a. Why didn't he win? He went off on the first bend of the first stage. Still it could happen to anyone.

Stan Quirk has been taking an awfy ribbing following his escapade on a forest rally two weeks ago. When Jon Burn punctured in his Metro, their well rehearsed procedure was brought into play. Even as Jon pulled over, Stan had the belts undone and was climbing out of the car. Stan's hands were a blur as he slackened off the wheelnuts – till Jon said, "D'ye no think we'd get on quicker if ye changed the one with the puncture?" The adrenaline filled Stan had gone for the wrong one. Fortunately, his caring and sensitive service crew have provided Stan with a carefully drawn picture of a wheel with a puncture to aid future identification, PLUS written instructions.

There's some weird and wonderful machinery out there. If you get a chance, have a look at Peter Sharples' Anglia (131). It's got a hinged-forward bonnet which opens to reveal a Fiat 2.0 litre twin cam. It had a Sunbeam engine last year but blew up.

Phil Ward at (103) has a Nova, but not as we know it Jim. It is rear engined, rear wheel drive with a huge hole and scoop in the roof to direct air through the centrally mounted radiator.

But for a thing of great beauty look no further than Martin Fox's Rovaru (116). What started life as a Rover 200 now has a 2 litre Vauxhall Astra engine up the front end driving a Subaru back axle at the rear end through a BMW M3 gearbox. Mated up to Subaru front struts, this is a work of automotive art. If it was mine I'd put it on the mantelpiece, not a bloody rally.

It's typical isn't it? The O'Donnell twins have had all year to get ready for Mull. They even live here. They also know it gets dark at night and that you need lights to see where to go. So who forgot to order spotlights? Yup, you've guessed it. They had to borrow the light pod off Pace Note producer Bill Sturrock's Volvo (Swedish Morris Oxford to the uninitiated). The pod is now screwed to the bonnet of the Salen Silver Escort with cavity wall fixings – who says professionalism is dead?

When the organisers found they were a Scrutineer short, they asked regular visitor Jim McDowall to give them a hand. "But I'm driving in the rally," said Jim. "No problem, you won't scrutineer your own car". OK, fair enough. But how come it passed when it wouldn't fire up under its own steam? Tee hee hee.

Sparing no efforts in his efforts to be here is John Dalton. He has really splashed out this year and invested in a grand total of SIX tyres, two for his tow car and two for his trailer – which left two for the rally car!

Martin Brinton (142) is back with the Capri. He had an accident with the 2.8 litre V6 monster on his first visit, but last year finished 79th o/a. Now he reckons he's on a winning streak.

And now a word of explanation. Apparently the innocent term 'dyke bashing' used in the previous scandal sheet has caused some merriment amongst our foreign visitors. I should point out that dyke has a rather different meaning here in Scotland – it refers to a dry stane wall! See, you learn something new every day.

I've learned something too. Now I know why Jude Wylie is a co-driver – I've seen (experienced?) her driving. She almost run me off the road last night, and that was just on the private drive up to my digs!

And finally, a message for all COMPETITORS. There is an award for the most deserving service crew. If you think your lot deserves it, then tell an official or write out the citation and hand it in with your Time Card. The 'Gary Bratt Memorial Trophy' will be presented to the most deserving bunch of tyre kickers and nut strippers – and there's a cash award too !!

And finally, finally. Take care out there when travelling around. Get to your chosen spectating spot in plenty of time and don't park in daft places. Do as the Marshals and Officials tell you and take your litter home for proper disposal. Please don't leave it lying around the island.

That's yer lot meantime, more news later.
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Friday later afternoon. 

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