MullMurmurs – Chapter 9
Results after SS17 (of 17)
1 Calum Duffy/Iain Duffy Ford Escort MkII 2 Hr 09 Mins 25 Secs
2 James MacGillivray/Ian Fraser Ford Escort MkII 2h 10m 30s
3 Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell MINI 2h 11m 05s
4 John Cope/Rob Fagg Subaru Impreza 2h 11m 18s
5 Tony Bardy Bardy/Reg Smith Nissan Sunny GTI R 2h 11m 38s
6 Tristan Pye/Andrew Falconer Subaru Impreza 2h 12m 50s
7 Shaun Sinclair/Chris Hamill Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 2h 14m 31s
8 Dougi Hall/Sam Hall Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 2h 14m 58s
9 Wayne Sisson/Daniel Stone Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9 2h 15m 39s
10 Tugs Sherrington/Sam Bould Mitsubishi Lancer EVO4 2h 15m 49s
A– Andy Knight/Drew Sturrock Vauxhall Nova 2h 19m 02s
B – Iain MacKenzie/Angus Mackenzie Peugeot 106 2h 18m 00s
C – Doug Weir/Duncan Brown Ford Escort MkII 2h 17m 55s
The 40th Tunnock's Tour of Mull was like the Scottish weather. Unpredictable, unexpected and full of wind, at least when the competitors are describing their antics to me! Don't believe me? Look at those results again. The top three cars are two wheel drive, two of them drive from the rear, and one of them pulls at the front. And not a turbocharger in sight. Progress, eh? Dontcha just love it?
In theory, and looking at the opposition, they shouldn't have been there, but that's the appeal of rallying. Despite all the technology and all the gizmos there is still a need for flesh and blood behind the wheel and on the pedals. Which brings me to the winners of this anniversary tour. Neither of them have either flesh or blood. Calum escaped from a Terminator movie and Iain escaped from Madame Tussaud's.
The pace of that MkII last night, in wet, dry, greasy and grippy conditions was unbelievable. Those were not mere mortals inside that car last night, they were robots, programmed for heroic deeds. Far-fetched? I don't think so. Think back to Friday night and the end of the third test, when the Escort limped out with a puncture. They were in 24th place after that one, and there they were in the early hours of Sunday morning battling for the lead. If you read that in a comic, you'd look at the cover to see if it was Superman or Batman, not Dervaigman.
Just over a minute behind were James MacGillivray and Ian Fraser. The 2005 winner was back on form scoring his third runner-up position in one of the world's toughest events (the Safari is just a stroll in the park after this – Ok so it's a big game park, but Haggis can be pretty fierce in their natural habitat!) after one of those typically canny drives that doesn't look dramatic but carries the speed well through the bends.
And scoring their best result for some time, Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell. Daniel of course scored some pretty heroic results in the past with a real Mini, but he achieved something pretty unique last with the German sausage tin derivative. Third overall after nearly losing a wheel took a bit of doing. After a fright like that, normal folks with real red blood would have the heebie-jeebies for weeks after an incident like that. I'm just not sure whether he's got brake fluid or 15/40 running through his veins.
So, what of 'the rest'? John Cope and Rob Fagg were top 4WD runners. And if anything proved just how critical tyre choice was, John's progress highlighted the need to get it right. He was in contention all the way but suffered a Simpsons 'Dohhh' moment late on Saturday night when he chose slicks in a moment of pure guesswork (he claimed divine inspiration) – for the wettest stage of the night! The result? He dropped from third to fourth.
Tony Bardy and Reg Smith had a good run in the 4WD Nissan. It may be old technology these days but it was fit for the changeable conditions that the 150 crews experienced this weekend. First time on tar with the new hatchback style of Subaru Impreza, Tristan Pye and Andrew Falconer were a superb 6th overall and top Group N runners, but perhaps the most unexpected visitors in the top ten were Shaun Sinclair and Chris Hamill. Shaun finished 5th overall in this year's Scottish Rally Championship and was regarded as something of a forest specialist, and which no doubt contributed to his Number 50 seeding, but has now proved he has a liking for the black stuff. Tarmac that is, not the other black stuff – although he has a liking for that too, allegedly.
And what of Dougi and Sam Hall in 8th place. This was the third time that Dougi has led this rally at some point, but as he pointed out at the finish, he's been lying second more often when disaster has struck, sometimes mechanical sometimes of his own making, but two punctures at crucial moments late last night was just sheer sporting cruelty.
Wayne Sisson and Daniel Stone were 9th and Tugs Sherrington and Sam Bould rounded off the top ten after two nights and one afternoon of high speed dashes, bashes and crashes.
But they were the lucky ones. Paul MacKinnon went off when he was in the lead and Neil MacKinnon crashed out on the third stage after sharing the lead with Paul and Dougi Hall after the two short, but memorable, opening blasts around Tobermory City Centre. Willie Bonniwell retired with gearbox failure and Dave Pattison was setting encouraging times till his fuel pump stopped pumping and his gearbox stopped selecting.
Paul Kirtley had his troubles too, with an ill handling Subaru and a bad tempered turbocharger while Eddie O'Donnell could write a much bigger book about his non-finishes than this pamphlet on finishing. Even after an all-nighter on Friday, the Escort was finally coaxed back into life ready for the Saturday afternoon run, only to strike a large stone which damaged a strut and punctured a tyre.
Just outside the top ten there were a few more surprises. Iain and Angus MacKenzie won the 1600 class with 14th place overall while Andy Knight and Drew Sturrock took the 1400 class with 16th place. Doug Weir and Duncan Brown took honours in the 2 litre class although Dougs son, Stevie Brown went for a stroll on the beach at Scridain – but took the Fiesta with him at the time, just when a finish and a result was on the cards!
There were nice tales too, and a not so nice one. Neil Morgan was out of the rally on Friday, but did the Trophy and couldn't help playing to the packed grandstands at Dervaig junction. He took pity on the wet, cold and bedraggled assembly and executed four doughnuts just to cheer them all up. And cheer they did – just don't tell the cheerless MSA!
And there was the farmer on Friday night who lost a coo in Gribun which was found by Gordon Halley. The result was messy but could have been nastier. The coo finished second and the Peugeot finished second-hand but Gordon was remarkably upbeat about it afterwards and reckoned his 'victory' was down to him using Matador Tyres. Oh please yourselves, I thought it was funny. But when the farmer refused to move his coos on Saturday night, the organisers were faced with the unpopular, but highly understandable decision, to cancel the Gribun test on the grounds of safety. Hitting a butcher's shop on four legs is not funny, it's dangerous.
Grant 'Sid the Parrot' Fleming, with Fergus Loudon of Tunnock's in the left hand seat, finished but avoided the ritual dunking in Tobermory Bay, perhaps because of his advancing years, or perhaps because his service crew are now only too well aware that parrots are less graceful in the water than swans. Whatever, they were lucky to finish. When the bonnet blew open in Glen Aros, it and the lamp-pod crashed back into the windscreen crazing the glass and bending the roof. Fergus could see very little, and Grant could see little more but the Fiesta made it back in more or less one piece.
As ever, 2300 Club's grateful thanks are due to a whole host of folks including, Mull Community Council, Argyll & Bute Council, Strathclyde Police and all the rescue and recovery services, Tobermory Distillery for the most unique Scroot venue in the world, and everybody else on the island, except one farmer - and the stag who made the ultimate sacrifice when 'taking out' one of the Polis motors on Friday night.
Thanks too, to Bulletin Bill - with Daniel Krob from the Historic Rally Championship in the Czech Republic, for their help in distributing this drivel around the island. Daniel's English wasn't very good, and his Scottish even worse, but he had a ball all weekend, thanks to all of you, the traditional island hospitality and the sheer eccentricity of this unique event. And a special thanks to Saint Tunnock's of Biscuitry. Their dedication to the welfare of the nation's tastebuds is matched only by their enthusiasm for this event. And the pies were just the icing on the cake, or should be ballast in the belly, before the arrival of much beer tonight.
And finally, our thanks to one other. Did you notice those racing clouds scudding across the weathered sky last night? Given the amount of cloud you might have expected more rain than we actually got, but they weren't all rain clouds, a lot of them were simply pipe smoke. Thanks Brian.
That’s yer lot for this year,
Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet
Sunday, 12 Noon, Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland, (in the middle of the world map near the top!)