2002 – Murmur Chapter 10


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

The 2002 Philips Tour of Mull Rally – Final Results after SS20 (of 20)

1  Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2 Hr 28 mins 13 secs
2  Neil MacKinnon/Mike Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 28m 39s
3  Callum Duffy/Del Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 33m 43s
4  John Cope/Tony Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth)  2h 35m 51s
5  John Swinscoe/Allan Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 39m 02s (Class C)
6  Ian Colman/Neil Colman (Nissan Sunny)  2h 39m 04s
7  Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth)  2h 39m 29s
8  Mark Durham/Andy Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit)  2h 40m 54s (Class B winner)
9  John Baird/Stan Quirk  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 41m 57s
10  Dave Miller/Andrew Bailey (Subaru Impreza) 2h 42m 43s
20  Ian Chadwick/Graham Shiel  (1.4 VW Polo)  2h 51m 44s (Class A)

It was a night to remember and savour. In years to come when darkness falls and fires glow bright, rally fans will huddle round glasses of memory retention fluid and recall the epic deeds which were done in the name of their sport last night. The bare bones of the story will relate that Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell won the 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally. But behind that bland statistic lies a heroic tale of high adventure and even higher speeds.

Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte finished second. “I lost it on Friday night,” says Neil, “Daniel got his nose in front and I was struggling to catch up.” Even so, MacKinnon was full of praise for the Subaru Impreza WRC: “It’s a helluva car but it took me a while to get used to it. By the time I did, Daniel was up and gone, full marks to him, he drove well.”

Lest we forget, this was the guy who finished 10th overall in a Mini just six years back and here he was in a Mitsubishi Lancer with more engineering design input in its ash-tray than the entire British Leyland device which preceded it. Surprisingly, it was Daniel’s second run out in a four wheel drive machine – ever.

Going into the final loop of three stages, 17 seconds separated the top two and most folk would have put money on MacKinnon to do the business. Chris Griffiths set the record on the 22 miles Loch Tuath/Calgary stage three years ago with 21m 01s. Last night MacKinnon broke the record with a 20m 57s. Then Harper smashed it with 20m 43s. MacKinnon knew then that he was in for one hell of a fight over the closing stages and so it turned out.

Earlier Harper had said he was taking no risks. That all went out the window on the final three: “I took a lot of risks in Scridain and Gribun,” said Daniel, “I had the biggest moment of my life in that last one, we kind of lost the place on a couple of Notes, and I thought we were gone!”

After 150 miles of timed-to-the-second lunacy over the island’s treacherously tortuous tarmac, which ranged from streaming wet to merely dangerously slippy, the winning margin was 26 seconds.

If the pace of these two was impressive, Callum Duffy’s was mesmerising. Even with no clutch on the final night his flight down Glen Aros was unbelievable. According to co-driver Del: “The shift light was on in sixth gear. Not just flashing, it was glowing!” And this in a two wheel drive machine which was geared for 140 mph plus. According to Del: “You know, when it’s flat out in sixth it goes very quiet in the car”. I’ll bet. If it had been me you would have heard my sphincter muscles working.

John and Tony Cope saw the oil pressure dive with three stages to go but with fingers crossed finished fourth. And after a determined charge over the dark island roads on the final night John Swinscoe and Allan Whittaker overtook Ian and Neil Colman and Billy Bird/Plug Pulleyn for fifth. Mark Durham and Andy Mort scored a quite sensational 8th in the 1600 Corsa but only after a last minute drama when the Corsa’s rear wheel hub and bearing collapsed. John Baird and Stan Quirk got a result, in more ways than one. Not only did they finish ninth, someone bid them for the car! Rounding off the top ten was Dave Miller and Andrew Bailey.

But those were the fortunate few. Dougi Hall crashed out when leading in the first night. No damage, and the car was just a few feet from the road, but it was stuck fast … Eddie O’Donnell suffered two punctures on the first two stages and was left struggling to catch up after that … John Cressey broke a driveshaft on the first night and parked it on its ear on Saturday night … Willie Bonniwell had two punctures and then blew the engine (big style!) … Paul Kirtley and electrical problems … Stuart McQueen was forced out before the final Leg … James MacGillivray blew the turbo on the second stage (again!) … and Martin Healer blew his engine.

Mark Durham won the 1600 class but Doug Weir was running him close till he rumbled off the road at Dervaig although he survived to finish a thoroughly impressive 14th with Mike Storrar an incredible third in the Toyota engined Ford Anglia (and not Vauxhall as reported erroneously earlier) and who will now have to suffer the wrath of ‘the wife’ who spotted his comment about this rally in an earlier Bulletin: “It’s better than sex!”

Ian Chadwick was an impressive 1400 class winner in the German sausage tin, the wee VW Polo finishing a hugely impressive 20th overall! Duncan Cameron was second in class in the Peugeot after a spirited battle with third placed Jim Brindle in the Mini.

As ever, the Marshals were wonderful, the Polis were great, the organisers in control, the islanders welcoming, the sponsors supportive and the competitors tremendous. From all of us to all of youse, a big and special ‘Thanks’. And to Oban FM for giving us such delightful earache – and my own thanks to the efforts of Bill’n’Bob the Bulletin Boys.

And finally, spare a thought for Chief Results Officer Mark Goosens who has been detained in hospital in Glasgow following his accident on Wednesday, but the team did such a good job in his absence he might find himself out of a job next year.

And finally, finally, a special word of thanks to the ‘silent spectator’ at Dervaig. To the man who inspired a rallying revolution in the history of closed public road rallying in the UK and to the man who inspired the team behind the success of the Philips Tour of Mull Rally.

Thanks Brian.

And do you know something? That wasn’t mist, or fog, or low cloud, that was drifting down the Bellart last night, it was definitely pipe smoke.
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Sunday, 2:00 pm.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 9


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS20 (of 20)

1  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2 Hr 28 mins 13 secs
2  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 28m 39s
3  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 33m 43s
4  Cope/Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth)  2h 35m 51s
5  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 39m 02s
6  Colman/Colman (Nissan Sunny)  2h 39m 04s
7  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth)  2h 39m 29s
8  Durham/Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit)  2h 40m 54s
9  Baird/Quirk  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 41m 57s
10  Miller/Bailey (Subaru Impreza) 2h 42m 43s

Fairy tales do happen, and one happened here on the 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally. Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell scored a sensational victory in their Group N Mitsubishi Lancer. After 150 miles of timed-to-the-second lunacy over the island’s treacherously tortuous roads, the winning margin was 26 seconds.

In second place after a tremendous fight were Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte with the Subaru Impreza WRC. Going into the final loop of three stages, 17 seconds separated the top two and most folk would have put money on MacKinnon to do the business. No-one can doubt he tried, but the lack of match practice in the complex WRC machine showed and although MacKinnon stepped up the pace, especially over the notorious Tuath/Calgary test, Harper rose to the challenge.

Chris Griffiths set the record on SS16 three years ago with 21m 01s. MacKinnon reckons he was trying in there and set a 20m 57s. When he saw Harper’s time of 20m 43s, MacKinnon knew that he was in for one hell of a fight over the closing stages.

Earlier Harper had said he was taking no risks. That all went out the window on the final three: “I took a lot of risks in Scridain and Gribun,” said Harper, “I had the biggest moment of my life in that last one, we kind of lost the place on a couple of Notes, and I thought we were gone!”

Callum Duffy survived the lack of clutch to finish third and John Cope ignored the cost and consequences and finished with virtually no oil pressure to secure fourth. Having earlier taken sixth from Billy Bird, John Swinscoe snatched fifth from Ian Colman who finished the last stage with a blown turbo in the Nissan. Mark Durham’s lads managed to rebuild the rear wheel hub with 10 minutes to spare at service and the 1600 Corsa finished 8th. John Baird got ninth and Dave Miller rounded off the top ten of a very thrilling contest.

And you know what, it’s dry here in Tobermory!

That’s yer lot meantime, look out for the big rally roundup final issue of Mullmurmurs later

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, MacGochan’s, Tobermory, Sunday, 3:00 am.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 8


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS17 (of 20)

1  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2 Hr 04 mins 51 secs
2  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 12h 05m 08s
3  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 09m 22s
4  Cope/Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth)  2h 10m 34s
5  Colman/Colman (Nissan Sunny)  2h 13m 35s
6  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII)  2h 13m 53s
7  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth)  2h 14m 03s
8  Durham/Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit)  2h 14m 50s
9  Baird/Quirk  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 2h 15m 17s
10  Miller/Bailey (Subaru Impreza) 2h 15m 42s

Daniel Harper still leads after 17 out of 20 stages of this 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally but the gap between him and Neil MacKinnon is reducing. It’s down to 17 seconds but what a duel. Harper was faster over SS16 and MacKinnon faster over SS17 so there is very little between them at present. It’s dryish and cold out there on the dark roads of Mull this October night but the competition is white hot. As for MacKinnon, he says: “I’m starting to get the hang of this thing now!” Duffy is still third, but in addition to a non-existent clutch, the seat collapsed under him at Calgary and he had to wedge himself up with his elbows! Behind him, John Cope is a worried man. The oil pressure took a dive over Mishnish and he’s not sure what’s wrong. Ian Colman was almost caught by Billy Bird in the long one: “I don’t like that stage and don’t usually go well on it so it wasn’t unexpected,” said Colman. John Swinscoe is on a charge and is putting both Bird and Colman under threat and in fact has now overtaken Bird for sixth and has his sights set on the Colman Nissan. But it’s now Mark Durham’s turn to strike trouble. A rear wheel bearing on the Corsa Kit has collapsed and that puts his 8th place in severe doubt. John Baird is up to ninth: “I had a big heroic moment in there, with Stan shouting at me ‘keep it in, keep it in’, he also took time to remind me that there was more grip on the black stuff than the green!” Brian Cameron lost all his lights at the start of the long one and it looks as though John Cressey is out, the Astra on its side in Mishnish. Also out is Willie Bonniwell with a blown engine. He caught and passed Tim Stell in the long one and Tim couldn’t see through the black oil cloud for the next 5 miles before it cleared! According to Theo Bengry: “Another 5 days of this and I’ll get the hang of this.” Doug Weir’s still going despite putting the Nova in the water at Dervaig  – again! The reason for Martin Healer’s retirement was engine failure. After Friday night the engine was pumping oil into the water! … Jim McDowall was working late in MacKay’s Garage, the water pump failed this afternoon prompting a change in the Lotus engined Avenger. And finally, the reason behind Chris Paton’s ‘brand new’ Nova was not simply a rush of blood to his wallet, apparently (allegedly?) it was a 25th wedding anniversary present. According to wife Mary he’s taking it easy because he doesn’t want to bend it or mark the bright red paintwork. This is Chris’ 32nd Philips Tour and co-driver Dave Cabena’s 33rd.
 Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, The top of Tobermory, Saturday, 11:00 pm

2002 – Murmur Chapter 7


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS15 (of 20)

1  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1 Hr 37 mins 08 secs
2  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 37m 28s
3  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)  1h 39m 53s
4  Cope/Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth)  1h 41m 39s
5  Colman/Colman (Nissan Sunny)  1h 42m 32s
6  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth)  1h 43m 59s
7  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII)  1h 44m 03s
8  Durham/Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit)  1h 44m 09s
9  Miller/Bailey (Subaru Impreza)  1h 44m 50s
10 Cameron/Southall  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h 45m 39s

Whisper it, it’s dry at the moment on the the 33rd Philips Tour of Mull, but I know the reason why, the island gods ran out of rain during the night and they’ve sent over to Ireland for some more – it should arrive later to-night!

But what a tussle for the lead. Just when everyone was expecting Boko to sweep into the lead during daylight, it didn’t happen. Harper is digging deep and despite only his second time out in a 4WD Lancer is doing the business. At the end of stage 13 he couldn’t get out of the car quick enough. The reason? He was desperate for a p**. That’s not to say MacKinnon isn’t trying. He half spun the Subaru in Calgary and tore a bit of the front spoiler off.

Harper doesn’t actually feel under pressure: “Everyone was expecting him (MacKinnon) to take that 40 seconds off me and go past this afternoon but it hasn’t happened. I’m feeling pretty relaxed about it and I’m not taking any risks. We’ll just have to wait and see what the weather does to-night.”

Earlier I said Billy Bird was out, but that was the result of mis-information, guess who had the joy of telling me I was wrong? Yup, Billy and he’s still in the top ten and says: “I’m going as hard as I can. I love this four wheel drive business but I just can’t make the Sierra go any harder”, but it looks as though Paul Kirtley has gone. The big blue Subaru was spotted parked up for an awfy long time at the end of stage 13.

John Baird got a puncture in SS14 but didn’t drop to much time although Brian Cameron may have benefited from that and taken over Baird’s top ten position … Mike Storrar reckons this event is better than sex (sad sod) and revealed that the Anglia has a bog standard Vauxhall engine in it … Pat Johnson got a puncture at the hairpin … Mick Briant might have a problem, engine smoking badly at end of SS15 and doesn’t sound too good … Theo Bengry is astonished at the pace, especially in these conditions … John Cressey has got fuel vapourisation problems in the Astra and it keeps missing and cutting out … Chris Tooze was off in SS15 but back on again after dropping time … Willie Bonniwell is in the wars again, this time with a broken throttle cable … Doug Weir has been off the road and his 11th place overall might now be suspect … and having a trouble free run – till now, was Mark Jasper. A wheel problem in the final two stages has cost him time and he might also have a problem with the front suspension.

The O’Donnell twins are up to their usual tricks. They put the Salen Silver Escort on its ear in Mishnish this afternoon … the reason for James MacGillivray’s disappearance last night? The turbo failed in SS2 … John Dalton is going quickly but the car refuses to fire up at times – first time out in a Nova (used to drive a Mini) Andy Rhodes is not sure if he likes it … Eamon Kilmurray lost time last night when he inadvertently switched off the fuel pump … Trevor Lewis burst the power steering pump last night and spent the rest of the night in Diddy Dave’s place fabricating a new one … Andrew Davies has got a grumbly driveshaft … Steve Kay got a stack of penalties last night and is catching cars today … Derek Hosie’s throttle is sticking open … Andy Blower gave photographer Frank Williams a fright when he handbraked the hairpin. The lads had forgotten to tell him they had tightened it up, and he chased poor Frank across the grass! … Mike Curry is finding the Clan very tail happy in the wet with the engine hung out behind the rear wheels … Haydn Williams is struggling with the Mini, it won’t rev cleanly over 4000 … Phil Bruce’s gearbox is getting noisy … John Rintoul broke a propshaft in the Escort Cossie last night. All the bolts sheared at one end, so he disconnected the other and carried on with 2WD but borrowed a spare for today … Dermot Common spent most of last night on 3 cylinders and now the clutch is failing in daylight … Carol MacCrone in a fit of understatement reckoned: “It’s a bit slippy out there” … Alan Douglas finished the tenth stage grinning from ear to ear in the wide-track Nova: “It’s not a grin, it’s a grimace – through fear!” he said … Rod Brereton is beaming for another reason: “It’s the furthest we’ve got in 9 years – we’re going to try and tie with Alan Douglas for the last finishers’ award!”

Dougi Hall took an early lead in the Trophy Rally from James MacGilivray but Robin Hamilton retired again, the Metro lost rear wheel drive and the lads are trying to repair it to get him out again to-night (methinks Hammy is a few teeth short of a full differential, he’s a glutton for punishment). Symptomatic of Hammy’s weekend, the cracked electric w/screen got worse rumbling out the stage last night on the punctured tyre so the team changed it, and the spare didn’t work!

And finally an appeal. Crispin Edwards in car 89 needs a diff for a MkII Escort. He thinks its an Atlas axle but is sure it’s a front loading diff. If you can help, call 07866 332599.

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Saturday, 5:30 pm.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 6


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS10 (of 20)

1  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1 Hr 06 mins 50 secs
2  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 07m 22s
3  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII)  1h 09m 01s
4  Cope/Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth)  1h 10m 02s
5  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth)  1h 11m 25s
6  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII)  1h 11m 27s
7  Colman/Colman (Nissan Sunny)  1h 11m 30s
8  Kirtley/Geldart  (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 11m 48s
9  Durham/Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit)  1h 12m 05s
10 Baird/Quirk  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h 12m 17s

Guess what? It’s raining, or should that be, still raining, on this 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally, Daniel Harper still leads but by a reduced margin: “I had a BIG moment in Calgary Bay area with the water, that’s tended to slow me down a bit!” MacKinnon is now making inroads on the leader’s times but he’s still not 100% attuned to the WRC Impreza, but he’s getting quicker! Callum Duffy is finding the lower gearing from the new axle giving him better grip but more water means less grip, some days you just can’t win! How much water? Tony Cope reckons: “Tractor tyres would be better in there!” Tony Bardy appears to be out, the Nissan creeping out of Mishnish, Willie Bonniwell had a second puncture this afternoon, Doug Weir appears to be out of 11th place in the 1600 Nova and Billy Bird has retired the Sierra in Mishnish. Much midnight oil was burned overnight with the Craig Dykes Team working on Callum Duffy’s MkII. All the rosejoints were breaking up on the rear axle last night which caused the noise and then the thrust bearing in the clutch failed at Salen. A new axle has been fitted with 4.6 diff and the rear end has been raised to try and improve traction and a new clutch fitted. Just as busy were Gerard McNab’s team of helpers. The Fiesta’s 130cc engine blew its oil out on the first stage last night and then the engine failed. They got an 1100cc engine from Eddie O’Donnell this morning and are in the process of fitting that in time for the Trophy Rally today – hopefully! The cause of Robin Hamilton’s disappearance on the first stage has been explained. The Metro 6R4 clipped a rock a mile into the first stage puncturing a tyre and snapping a rosejoint and Linda Allan retired the Astra in Gribun last night when a bottom arm broke. Steve Davies survived a ‘near miss’ on Mishnish last night when the Escort cut a banking and rose up on two wheels and he lives in Dervaig too! Steven Cleary had to do one stage last night with one headlamp when all the lights failed and Dave Hopwood punctured a front tyre on SS1 last night. By the way, Dave’s MkII is worth a look – he’s got a ‘Launch Control’ system fitted to it. A blue button on the steering wheel activates the rev limiter which controls wheelspin at stage starts. Rumours that Carlos Sainz was on the phone are a bit premature! And finally, a word of thanks to all who contributed so generously to the Sponsored Swim appeal at Signing-on. The sum of £373 was raised for 9 year old Ryan Padgett who suffers from muscular Dystrophy.

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Saturday, 1:50 pm.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 5


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS7 (of 20)

1  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 45 mins 57 secs
2  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 46m 38s
3  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII) 47m 19s
4  Cope/Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth) 48m 12s
5  Bardy/Smith (Nissan Sunny) 48m 39s
6  Taylor/Barrett  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 48m 48s
7  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth) 48m 55s
8  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII) 49m 12s
9  Colman/Colman  (Nissan Sunny)  49m 29s
10 Durham/Mort  (Opel Corsa Kit) 49m 35s
11  Weir/Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 49m 48s
12 Kirtley/Geldart (Subaru Impreza WRC) 49m 51s

Two years ago, the Philips Tour of Mull Rally earned a new nickname. If Finland had its ‘1000 Lakes Rally’ then Mull was the Rally of a 1000 Puddles. Last night it reclaimed that title. It was so wet on the far side of the island, the fish were emigrating in search of somewhere drier to go swimming!

With 7 stages gone, Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell lead this 33rd Tour by 41 seconds from Neil MacKinnon and Mike Stayte. Dougi Hall and Gareth Williams had been leading after three stages, but struck trouble in the new test at Ardtun when they crested a rise at full chat – and landed on standing water. Dougi and Gareth were OK and the car was only a couple of feet from the edge of the road – but parked vertically on a banking!

There have been a couple of other changes to the overnight leaderboard but this was simply due to later numbers posting quicker times behind the Mullmurmurs Bulletin timetable, but as I have always said, the times on this scandal sheet are always Provisional and issued on that basis to try and get some info out to the millions who are watching.

Harper is under no illusions about the task that lies ahead: “I’m taking no risks. I backed off in a few places simply because it’s dangerous out there.” A fact echoed by second placed Neil MacKinnon who is finding the WRC Impreza a lot more complex than last year’s Group A machine. During the heavy rain spells last night he had to switch off some of his extra lights as the alternator could not cope with the current demands of the other electrical components!

Callum Duffy has moved up to third in the rear wheel drive Escort despite a grumbling back axle. And just think on this dear readers. If he can be third in a 2WD car after 7 stages despite “taking it easy” with that back axle, just think what he could do if he was confident! In these conditions this boy is unreal, Popeye would be twice the hero if he could find out what spinach Duffy eats for breakfast.

Tony Cope is fourth despite a “sixth gear tank slapper” in Loch Tuath when the throttle jammed open (How come throttles never jam shut?) but that was fixed at Craignure service.

Tony Bardy is fifth in the Nissan, but a big spin in the first stage of the night was sufficient for him to remind himself to change his underpants regularly. Trouble was, he couldn’t see to turn the car around as the windows were opaque with condensation. As predicted in the previous Bulletin, Dave Taylor is in the top ten, the number 47 seed lying sixth in the Mitsubishi Lancer but with re-seeding taking place before the mid-day Re-start it will be easier for the ‘Bulletin Boys’ (Bunnet, Bill’n’Bob) to keep tabs on the quick stuff.

It was earlier reported that Eddie O’Donnell had two punctures in the first stage. Wrong. He had one puncture in two stages and therefore had to stop twice, hence the Salen Silver Escort’s position down in the 40s. Mark Durham is top 1600cc runner in tenth place with the Corsa Kit car but even more incredible is Doug Weir’s 11th place in the Nova which still has parts of a fridge fitted to the car from Mull 2 years ago! And no, it’s not the light that comes on when you open the door! Top 1400cc class runner is Ian Chadwick in the VW Polo in 29th place with Dave Taylor’s Astra 39th.

But they are the lucky ones. Many are out already. Robin Hamilton failed to make the start of the first stage. The Metro was on its third alternator this week even before the rally started and Stephen Clark hit a bump in Gribun and the Saxo ended up off the road on its ear. Jimmy Christie is out in the RWD Astra. When the windows steamed up he slid off the road at one point and with the help of one solitary, sodden, spectator managed to get the car back on the road and then the throttle cable snapped mid stage 3.

Rob Davies and Mark Jasper both had “front end problems” to sort out before the second Leg starts … Dave Thwaites had to stop and change a puncture on SS2 … Duggie Ingram lost a wheel on the Mini when the wheel studs sheared and it looks as though he’s out … Murdo Morrison clouted the rear (driver’s side) corner so that’s the second dent in his brand new MkII … Dave Dalgleish says the car has grip but “this doesn’t” as he pointed to his head … and just imagine the trouble Paul Marshall is having. He’s driving the 3.5 litre V8 Triumph TR7 and bemoaning the fact that all the “four wheel drive cars are dragging so much sh*t on to the road and making it even slippier!” … Cameron MacKenzie was in remarkably good humour despite the fact that his co-driver left the Pace Notes at home … Steve Simpson has lost the front bumper off his smart red and yellow Impreza. If anyone finds it could they please hand it in to Rally HQ or any Rally Official? … Alan Douglas is a lucky boy. He went off in SS2 but when the stage was stopped it gave him enough time to get the car out and rejoin the queue to get a Notional time and stay in the rally … one of the stoppages was caused by the Astra of John Patterson which got stuck astride an Armco barrier and blocked the road.

And speaking of stoppages there were a couple caused by unruly spectators last night. If you want to ruin someone’s fun go and ruin your own and leave the rally out of it. It’s not only stupid, it’s potentially dangerous.

Let’s leave the last word to Brian Cameron at the end of the last stage: “I’m glad that’s over. I was getting too cocky. I had a BIG moment in that last one!” Pauses for contemplation and reflection all round methinks!

Leg 1 round-up, more later,
Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, MacGochan’s, Tobermory, Saturday, 10:30 am.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 4


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS7 (of 20)

1  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 45 mins 57 secs
2  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 46m 38s
3  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII) 47m 19s
4  Cope/Cope (Ford Escort Cosworth) 48m 12s
5  Bardy/Smith (Nissan Sunny) 48m 39s
6  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth) 48m 55s
7  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII) 49m 12s
8  Cameron/Southall  (Mitsubishi Lancer) 49m 32s
9  Weir/Brown (Vauxhall Nova) 49m 48s
10 Kirtley/Geldart (Subaru Impreza WRC) 49m 51s

The 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally has a new leader. Daniel Harper has taken over at the top of the leaderboard after Dougi Hall took a dive in the new stage at Ardtun.

Apparently this is one of the slippiest tests of the night, even worse than Gribun. Dougi and Gareth are OK and the car is only a couple of feet from the edge of the road – but parked vertically on a banking!

Harper presently has a lead of just over half a minute from ten times Tour winner Neil MacKinnon who is now getting to grips with the Subaru: “I’m just going away steady,” he said, “and the times are coming.” That’s a threat if ever I heard one! But then again, look at Callum Duffy’s times. So far the red and yellow Escort is holding its own after its earlier troubles and Duffy has moved up to third.

Moving into fourth place is Tony Cope. The earlier throttle jamming open problem has now been fixed, it was the cable itself which was sticking.

But a word of caution dear reader, please note that these times are very provisional, some of the later numbers are running very quickly and could well post better times. Mark Durham for instance in the Corsa Kit Car and Dave Taylor in a Mitsubishi were in the top ten after three stages, but the running order on Saturday should help to improve bulletin efficiency!

It looks like Robin Hamilton failed to make SS1. The Metro was having alternator troubles even before the rally start … Rob Davies has a problem, TCA? … Mark Jasper also has a front end problem … Stuart McQueen doesn’t have full wets, only intermediates and reckons: “It’s scary out there!” Amen to that.

That’s yer lot for now, more later,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Saturday, 1:35 am.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 3


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

Provisional leaderboard after SS3 (of 20)

1  Hall/Williams (Mitsubishi Lancer) 27 mins 50 secs
2  Harper/Campbell (Mitsubishi Lancer0 28m 01s
3  MacKinnon/Stayte (Subaru Impreza WRC) 28m 39s
4  Bardy/Smith (Nissan Sunny) 29m 47s
5  Swinscoe/Whittaker (Ford Escort MkII) 30m 01s
6  Duffy/Duffy (Ford Escort MkII) 30m 08s
7  Kirtley/Geldart (Subaru Impreza WRC) 30m 58s
8  Bird/Pulleyn (Ford Sierra Cosworth) 31m 07s
9  Jasper/Snell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 31m 14s
10 Cressey/Grindrod (Vauxhall Astra) 31m 18s

It very much looks as though Dougi Hall has taken an early lead on this 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally first time out in a 4WD Mitsubishi Lancer despite claiming: “I seem to be going sideways an awful lot.”

It’s slippy out there, as this year’s event once again has started with a splash, so what’s new? Everyone has reported problems with conditions, but making the best of it so far are Hall and second placed Daniel Harper, second time out in a 4WD Lancer.

MacKinnon lies third, but remember he hadn’t driven the car before today and he’s also had a wee problem with vision and can’t use all the spotlights so hoping to do something about that at service. But this event wouldn’t be Mull without problems. Callum Duffy was quick over the first stage but a really bad vibration from the rear set in on the second followed by a loud bang. He’s still got drive to the rear wheels but dropped heaps of time taking it easy to try and reach service.

Eddie O’Donnell had to stop the Salen Silver Escort in the first stage to replace two punctured tyres and dropped 4 minutes … Willie Bonniwell was in similar trouble, dropping 5 minutes with a puncture and bemoaning the fact that Steve Bannister wasn’t nearby so he could nick another wheel and tyre from him (as he did on the Park Rally last month!) … John Cressey broke a driveshaft in the first stage and then broke his glasses on the second … Tony Bardy spun the Nissan and dropped a few seconds … John Cope had a “6th gear tank slapper” in Loch Tuath but the Escort is severely testing their heart muscles – the accelerator is intermittently sticking on at full throttle! … Paul Kirtley is slow out of the start blocks and reckons he’s going to spend the first few stages “tweaking” the brand new car as the set-up still isn’t quite right … Theo Bengry is taking a minute or two to settle in: “This is a young boy’s game, it’s really slippy out there” … Stephen Clark spun the Saxo in SS2.

That’s yer lot for now, more later,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Salen Hotel, Friday, 10:30 pm.

2002 – Murmur Chapter 2


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

Scrutineering for this 33rd Philips Tour of Mull Rally is now over and the usual lull has descended, although the sparks from the welding gear in MacKays Garage indicates that there is still last minute work going on. Those who have successfully passed Scrutineering now have to prepare themselves for the mayhem which will shortly commence at 8:00 pm with the formal rally start in the bay front car park.

John Baird has managed to baffle and bemuse co-driver Stan Quirk who normally co-drives for Jon Burn in the claustrophobic MG Metro 6R4. The Mitsubishi Lancer is palatial by comparison, with Stan having acres of space to store things like maps and timecards whereas he normally has two helmets on his lap … Jimmy Christie has rebuilt the RWD Astra’s gearbox and diff since the Milltown Stages two weeks ago and is ready for action … take a look at Steve Simpson’s bi-plane wing on the back of his awfy smart Subaru Impreza, the all-aluminium fabrication came from Japan and is one of only two in Britain. It don’t half look the business … Anda Campbell had a wee fire in the RWD Peugeot when it blew back on him this morning but made it through Scrutineering … don’t look too closely at Gordon MacIntyre’s Chevette, it’s just been rebuilt following his roll on the Kames Trophy Rally – apparently, it is best viewed at night … John Rintoul has two brand new diffs and a viscous coupling following his retirement from the first stage of the recent Milltown Stages, which means that he has replaced virtually the entire transmission this season so far … doesn’t Diddy Dave’s Mini look minted? Previously a chase car for Paddy Hopkirk, Dave has owned it since ’94 and the A series 1300 with its 12 inch wheels and authentic colour scheme looks terrific … have you seen Paul Daniel’s new Ralloy built MkII? Absobloodylutely glorious. He had just picked it up and hadn’t even driven it himself when his mate phoned and asked to use the gearbox. His mate is Steve Bannister and he needed it for the Trackrod so Paul’s got the gearbox back, fully ‘run in’ by the Malton Missile himself! … Richard and Pat Egger are back in the 2 litre Nova and since they are sponsoring Mullmurmurs this year we wish them all the best – although it’s a difficult wee tyke to drive with its wide track set up … Paul Kirtley was late through Scrutineering, the ’98 spec Impreza WRC car has some ’99 spec bits in it and they are not talking to each other, but it still looks superb … Derek Hosie’s Fiesta looks good in its bright yellow paint job. Big difference from its roll here two years ago … nice to see Mike Curry back with the Clan Crusader. He can still get most Imp parts for the 95 bhp 998cc engine and knows who’s got the original Clan fibreglass body moulds. But then again, if he couldn’t get the original parts he could always use Tupperware! … did you know Jim McDowall has a 2.2 Lotus engine in his Talbot Avenger? Very tasteful.

Could he be the youngest competitor this year? Murdo  Morrison’s sixteen and half year old son Stewart is contesting his first event, co-driving for Dad. Only trouble is he’ll be erring on the side of caution when calling the Notes to-night. He won’t be wanting Dad to bend the brand new MkII as young Stewart has ideas about driving it himself once he gets his driving licence! And then the bonnet blew up when the left the Noise Test and now sports a tidy set of ripples in the panelwork … Watch out for Duncan Cameron in the 1300cc Peugeot Rallye, he could spring a surprise this weekend. He won his class by 16 minutes on last weekend’s Le Touquet Rally in Northern France. He also caused the Scroots a double-take when they saw his mandatory Fire Extinguisher and Engine Cut-out instructions ‘Tirez’ and ‘Poussez’ (that’s French stupid, we’re almost in the EU now!).

Despite the seriousness of this competition, lunacy abounds. Tim Stell’s Escort Cosworth has the word ‘Sausages’ on the side window where the navigator’s name should appear. Apparently this refers to a phrase in their Pace Notes – “walls, medium left tightens to K left’ and since this is on the Gribun Rocks section, the instruction has not to be taken lightly. Even so, when co-driver Mike Yates calls the word ‘walls’ Tim responds gruffly through the intercom ‘sausages’ (well, they think it’s funny!) – and gets off the gas kind of quick! … Crawler of the Month must go to Simon Cottrell who has a sign on his side window stating “Thank You for Marshalling”, he says it works a treat on road rallies!

Meantime all our thoughts are with Mark Goosens. The Chief Results Officer had a bad fall on Wednesday night, was airlifted to hospital in Glasgow that same night and operated on yesterday. He has broken both legs, but reports today indicate that he is much better. Take care and get well soon Mark. So with that sobering thought in mind, would all spectators please take care out there to-night. Rallying may be safe but walking isn’t! Please note and abide by all Road Closure orders and when parking your vehicles may sure they don’t block anyone in or cause an obstruction.

And did you know, the ‘Fisherman’s Pier Chip Van’ got awarded a ‘Les Routiers’ award and medallion earlier this year? So now you know, this is the best fish and chip (and haggis!) carry-out in the business – and it’s official!

And finally. Pace Note provider extraordinaire, Bill Sturrock even provides Notes for the Polis Road Closing Car and rumour has it that some of the lads in uniform are just a wee bitty dis-chuffed (allegedly) about the allocated vehicle – a Land Rover Freelander as opposed to the previous Vauxhall Senator and Volvo official cars. It would appear that Bill has enhanced and ‘personalised’ the Notes for the Polis drivers adding additional pages with such messages of endearment and encouragement as “bet you wish you were in a Senator now”, and “or even a Volvo”, and “In a Freelander, remember to lean into the corners, especially over the yumps”. Nothing like rubbing salt into the wounds, eh?

So get yourself a Philips Tour of Mull Programme drive safe and sensible, walk with care and attention, and enjoy yourself.

That’s yer lot from pre-event formalities,

Now let’s get on with the action,

Yer auld pal, Jaggy Bunnet, Tobermory, Friday, 5:00 pm.

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.