Originators of UK closed road motorsport

2002 – Murmur Chapter 1


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


Well, hullawrerrchinas, welcome to a sunny Isle of Mull for the 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally, where the sunshine literally drips on you out of a clear grey sky and the seals migrate to warmer and drier places.

As usual things got underway at 9:00 am this Friday morning with Scrutineering at the Distillery and Signing-On in the Aros Hall – where incidentally you can avail yourselves of the unique and stylish Philips Tour of Mull branded leisure and workwear plus that vital spectating accessory, the Philips Tour of Mull Rally programme. Full of maps, diagrams and speccy info, glossy pics and scintillating chat.

Speaking of scintillating chat, the Philips Forum took place in the Aros Hall last night and even before the stars took the stage it was standing room only! Our grateful thanks to those who participated including Neil MacKinnon who informed us that he hasn’t yet driven the McKinstry Subaru Impreza but he’s not worried. Ace car builder and prep expert Kenny McKinstry sets the car up personally. According to Neil, Kenny’s the same size as him so everything fits – he just has to let the seatbelts out a wee bit!!

First time back for 19 years Theo Bengry was on the panel too along with Robin Hamilton who’s looking for a finish for the first time in 3 years. Linda Allen celebrates the sixth anniversary of her first rally today and Dave Cabena celebrates an even more impressive anniversary, this is his 33rd Tour as a competitor! It was good of them all to give up an hour of valuable recce time to call in for chat.

The whole thing was held together as usual by that helluva nice big chap, John Fife who organised the now traditional pre-forum quiz with the now traditional flying tee-shirt (and a few other things!) prizes. Our grateful thanks to Skoda Cars for the addition of some style, value and quality to this year’s prize fund!

But the real business got underway this morning and it started with a drama and built up to a crisis. At one point the whole shebang came to an abrupt halt when Chief Scroot Big Roger Whitaker cried ‘Stop everything’. Apparently some poor sod had bought an MSA safety sticker from him for his helmet and forgot to stump up the required £1 and left. A word to the wise dear punter – pay up or pay a bigger price!

But the biggest shock came when Eddie O’Donnell wheeled the Escort in at the ungodly hour of 10:00 am and the beast passed first time! Usually he’s last through and only then ‘cos the Scroots stay open. Well that gang of Scroots nearly keeled over at the shock this year, all we need now to complete the miracle is sunshine!

James MacGillivray appeared with the Subaru that he drove on Otterburn but it had some panel damage to the rear: “Adrian Wilson was leading Group N on the Trackrod last weekend and tipped it into a tree,” said James making sure that he wasn’t given the blame.

John Cressey took great delight in pointing out an error in the programme where it stated that his best Mull result was previously a third – but in 1985 he was second overall (even he had forgotten that!) in a MkII Pinto Escort. He also tried to deny the printed claim that he swore and cursed a lot: “I don’t bl**dy swear and don’t curse a d**n,” he said.

John Cope has a new Mountune engine and 6 spd ‘box in the Escort Cosworth … This is Tony Bardy’s first event since the Riponian in February and has new suspension on the Nissan to sort out … Mark Jasper’s Mitsubishi appeared minus the ‘Master Baker’ stickers which he had a couple of years back. He’s still a baker but he kneads the dough to go rallying (Oh, please yourselves!).

Mick Briant turned up in a drop dead gorgeous, bright red ADR (Adrian Blair) Motorsport EVO6. Adrian has a few Lancers in his hire company but next week takes delivery of a Ford Focus WRC2 to run for a customer in the world series next year. Mull this week, the world next, this guy gets around.

Callum Duffy turned up in a MkII, but what a MkII! It has a 2.5 litre Hart engine that revs to 9500. He gave it a squirt early this morning on the wet roads. Phew, this lad has got a serious traction problem. Bearing the same colours was Craig Dykes’ Ford Focus RWD. It has the same Hart engine as the MkII that Callum’s using but it’s 5 inches longer in the wheelbase and according to Craig it stops better than the MkII.

Dougi Hall has got 4WD after all, but hasn’t sold the Escort yet. He’s waiting till he sees how he gets on with the Mitsubishi this weekend first! … Willie Bonniwell had a last minute panic attack earlier this week when he fired up the Blue Bullet and saw oil underneath – the gearbox casing had split … Brian Cameron has a heater matrix problem and can’t see out of the steamed up Lancer windows … Geoff Wright has a new front end on the Almera after another competitor reversed into him on the Binbrook – on the Flying Finish line? … Mark Durham’s Corsa looks minted. Last year he had 193 bhp, this year he’s got 212 in the Kit Car special. And this is a 1600 cc machine … Billy Bird has resurrected the Sierra that Paul Kirtley put on its ear on the Hill Road in ’94 … Stephen Clark has ‘borrowed’ Barry Morrison’s Peugeot Proflex suspension for his Saxo this weekend, talk about budget rallying … Chris Paton who is contesting his 32nd Philips Tour of Mull has a new car. He intended only to re-shell the old Nova, but like all rallyists went overboard with a Pro-Tec shell and everything new except engine and gearbox – and then the thermostat seized shut this week and Chris Tooze will have trouble this weekend. The new Corsa Kit Car has 100 bhp more than the wee Peugeot 106 that he won the class with last year – he’s already put it off once during a ‘quiet’ test!

Meantime, go and get your Philips goodies and Programmes. Obey all Marshals’ instructions to-night and keep an eye out for the Polis and don’t park in stupid plces or drive like an idiot. Be safe and be sensible and we’ll all have a good time.

More later, that’s yet lot for now,

Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Friday, mid-day.

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