Paul MacKinnon, son of 12 times winner Neil MacKinnon, has won the 2008 Tunnock's Tour of Mull, with Daniel Barritt (co-driver for Neil last year) sat alongside him reading pace notes and providing support and guidance Going into the final Leg of 5 stages, ‘MacKinnon The Younger’ and Daniel Barritt had 25 seconds in hand over Calum and Iain Duffy. There were 56 miles of stages in that final group. For Calum, that meant less than half a second a mile to make up. No problem, eh? Let battle commence. And what a fight that turned out to be.
MacKinnon’s yellow Subaru was like a comet, blazing a path up Loch Tuath and round Calgary Bay. He stopped the clocks 22 seconds sooner than his Dad did 2 years ago. A new record. Then came Calum, the comet scorching its own line over the tarmac. He broke the record too, but by ‘only’ 14 seconds.
Mishnish Lochs did neither of them any favours. According to James MacGillivray, “that was just about the slippiest stage he had ever driven”. No records, but MacKinnon took another 7 seconds out of a disconsolate Duffy. “My tyres are like jelly” said Calum, “I was hoping for more grip when it was colder.”
The gap was now 40 seconds with 3 stages to go. Now, sensible folks like you and me might have left it at that, but note the use of the word ‘sensible’ here. Calum took 5 back from Paul on Loch Scridain. Paul equalled the record on Gribun and took 3 back from Calum. There were now 38 seconds between them and 14 miles of tarmac, which was originally laid down by a drunk, dribbling asphalt out of the back end of a tipper, while driving over what became the Hill Road and down Glen Bellart. That isn’t a road, it’s wishful thinking.
Surely not? Well those two went at it like a pair of ferocious Scottish midgies wanting a big bite out of the same fat bloke. And then it happened. A patch of mud on the road, locked up brakes, and off. Disaster. It was all over. Maybe. Paul locked the diffs and managed to reverse out, but Calum’s lights were only too visible and catching. “That was some trip down the last 10 miles of the Glen, I’ll tell you,” said Paul, “the bumper was hanging off it, I don’t know what else might have been wrong, but I just had to go for it.” And go he did.
At the finish, Calum said, “He drove well, you can’t take that away from him.” So how hard was Calum trying? He pointed to his rear tyres. The whole tread moulding was starting to separate from the tyre casing. You could put your fingers in the gaps.