09 Oct: Mull Rally – Preview

 … 2022 Beatson’s Mull Rally, 14/15/16 October …

Next weekend the 50th ‘proper’ rally on the Isle of Mull will take to the roads when Bobby Beatson will light the blue touch paper on Friday evening the 14th of October in Tobermory to start the 2022 Beatson’s Mull Rally.

Ahead lies 145 miles of closed road competition on some of the most devilish roads ever devised by a drunken tarmac dribbler. It has been said before that the foundation for these tortuous, twisting, tarmac ribbons were laid, not by an educated and accomplished surveyor, but his overworked, inebriated apprentice, fortified only by the restorative powers of distilled water and barley mash fired over peat as he pushed his barrow load of Calgary Bay sand around the island.

As the sand dribbled out of a wee hole in the bucket it laid a white line for the machinery to follow. The fact that no-one thought to check and approve this waymarking led to the creation of this planet’s most unique and memorable rally event. It may also be a tribute to the power and influence of Tobermory single malt!

Speedremacy will be sought over 16 Special Stages spread across three separate Legs on Friday evening/night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening/night, with a star studded cast matched only by the star studded heavens.

Leading the charge of the ‘Might Brigade’ will be last year’s winner and 2002 victor Daniel Harper in his WRC MINI while running on his tail will be the Hyundai Rally2 of three times winner Paul MacKinnon and twice winner John MacCrone wearing the number 3 on the door of a Ford Escort Mk2.

At number 4 and looking for his tenth victory on the island will be the Dervaig Dervish himself, Calum Duffy in another Mk2. Of course, wet conditions will favour the 4WD brigade, but if it’s dry, it would be a brave pundit who bet against the 2WD chargers.

Right behind this quartet of flyers is another quartet of Fiesta R5 front runners led by British Championship escapee Andy Davies, the fast and improving Neil Roskell, the rally proven David Wright and that ever present top ten threat, Jonathan Mounsey.

There’s yet another Mk2 running at number 9, this time in the hands of James ‘Jock the Bull’ MacGillivray while the top ten is rounded off by the Subaru Impreza of that fresh faced youngster Fergus Barlow who should be out of school trousers by now!

And there’s more. The 11th seed, Gordon Morrison could well spring a surprise in his Fiesta R2 as could the Mk2 of Stephen Thomson while right behind them comes Donnie ‘I hate tarmac’ MacDonald, Scott MacBeth, Wayne Sisson, Stewart Morrison and Alistair Inglis. Billy Bird and Will Rowlands round off the top twenty.

On the other hand, anyone who can’t handle excitement shouldn’t visit Mull, because there is more to see and be enthralled by than just the top twenty. Usually the last man through Scrutineering (and still clutching a spanner), Eddie O’Donnell runs at 23 while the number 30 seed could light up the sky like November 5th, especially if it rains and that is Ross Hunter in his ridiculously rapid Peugeot205.

There is also the delicious prospect of a super sixteen hundred battle between Ian Chadwick (Fabia), John Paterson (Nova), Des Campbell (Peugeot), Ogg MacKenzie (Citroen) and newcomer Archie Swinscoe in the Vauxhall Adam and they run in the late 30s and low 40s, so well worth waiting for.

Over and above the front runners and class battlers there is more to look out for. Those crews at the other end of the field without whom no rally would be able to afford to take place. Like the audibly illegal Curly Haigh in his Mk1, and with more excuses than an F1 driver, the volubly expressive John Cressey in a real Mini. Then there are the rally stalwarts like Innes Mochrie in the ‘michty moose’ Metro, Beefy Fraser in the Avenger Tiger, Fooey the Fireman in a Citroen C2 and way down near the tail end of the field and making his debut as a driver is Cammy Fair. He will step out of his comfort zone in the co-driver’s seat of Jock Armstrong’s Subaru and into the hot seat of his recently acquired Vauxhall Nova.

And speaking of comfort zones, what about Graham Millar and Ian McRae in a Clan Crusader? Fortunately this automotive refugee from a distant era is made of fibreglass which should bulge rather more easily around the midriff than tin to accommodate this elderly and stately duo.

In fact there is fun and family frolics to be had all the way through the field.

Spectating is not for the fainthearted. Closed Road Orders mean just that. Don’t try and walk, let alone, drive on any section of road which has been officially closed otherwise you’ll find out just how cramped Tobermory jail is. That means get there early ahead of the Road Closing Car and stay there till the Road Opening Car comes through – and that also means regardless of the weather!

Full Road Closure timings and details are in the Spectator Info here:

Rally Timetable:

Friday, 14th October
19.30 Hrs, Leg 1 Start, Tobermory 
 19.36 Hrs, SS1, Tobermory (0.89 mls)
 19.48 Hrs, SS2, Tobermory/Mishnish Lochs (7.33 mls)
 20.08 Hrs, SS3, Calgary Bay (10.90 mls)
 20.32 Hrs, SS4, Loch Tuath 10.35 mls)
 21.53 Hrs, Service A, Craignure
 23.01 Hrs, SS5, Loch Kinloch (4.63 mls)
 23.29 Hrs, SS6, Knock (4.79 mls)
Saturday, 15th October
 11.00 Hrs, Leg 2 Start, Salen
 11.18 Hrs, SS7, Loch Tuath/Hill Road 1 (14.69 mls)
 11:44 Hrs, SS8, Achnadrish 1 (6.64 mls)
 11:51 Hrs, Service B, Tobermory
 13.26 Hrs, SS9, Loch Tuath/Hill Road 2 (14.69 mls)
 13.52 Hrs, SS10, Achnadrish 2 (6.64 mls)
 13:59 Hrs, Service C, Tobermory
 15.34 Hrs, SS11, Ben More 1 (4.59 mls)
 16.02 Hrs, SS12, Scridain 1 (4.31 mls)
 21.30 Hrs, Leg 3 Start, Salen
 21.48 Hrs, SS13, Loch Tuath/Calgary/Glen Aros (30.92 mls)
 22.57 Hrs, SS14, Ben More 2 (4.59 mls)
 23.25 Hrs, SS15, Scridain 2 (4.31 mls)
 00.44 Hrs, Service D, Craignure
 01.51 Hrs, SS16, Glen Aros/Achnadrish (15.30 mls)
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