Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Rally - Mull Rally Special

In case you hadn't noticed, there was no Beatson's Mull Rally two weekends ago. No reason  to load the car/van and trailer. No reason to pack the bags with sun cream and sun glasses, midge repellent and lip salve, Speedos and t-shirts, scarves and gloves, wellies and anoraks, not to mention several spare sets of clothes when the first lot get sodden wet - and the 'anti-heave' tablets in case the ferry has rough crossing!

With no rally to report, the local on-island, annual subscription-based, monthly magazine 'Round & About' had a couple of pages to fill and by goad, fill them they have. They commissioned (no cash involved, just threats and blackmail!) an article from a big pal of mine looking back on the history and background of the event plus some tales which should stir the old memory box. Apparently the big lad retired to the treehouse one evening with a large glass of Lagavullin and a six pack of Tunnock's Caramel Wafers. He must have been awfy busy, tap, tap, tapping away - the neighbours thought a flock of woodpeckers had moved in.

Anyway, just in case anyone out there wished to avail themselves of this special issue, the Editor is intending to print a few extra copies in case any poor rally starved waif wants to wallow in a bit of nostalgia. These can be posted out for a measly £3 each. Not only will you be treated to a trip down memory lane, but the magazine also provides an informative and absorbing insight into regular island life and recent happenings - Covid permitting. Well worth a read, and maybe even a subscription.

The mag is due to be published on 31st October and you can get more information on the website. The website also has a sample copy of a past magazine so you can have a look. Also worth noting, the Round & About website lists holiday B&B and self-catering accommodation in the area, so keep a note of the address:



Monday, 19 October 2020

Road - PHEV? Does it work?

Go to work in a van. If you want to clean up your act and 'green' up your conscience, but you suffer from range anxiety, there is a cure - and it's not a vaccine! 


Friday, 16 October 2020

Rally - Resurrection?

Peugeot has announced plans to rebuild and restore Peugeot 205 GTI cars on behalf owners or customers or for direct sale to any member of the public. As part of the process they will manufacture parts which are no longer available and hold a small stock.

Full story:


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Rally - On top of the world

If McRae was outspoken and Burns was well spoken, then the rather quiet young Elfyn Evans lets his driving do the talking. He now leads the FIA World  Rally Championship by 14 points with 2 rounds to go. Toyota Gazoo Racing team mate Sebastien Ogier slightly reduced his pre- Rally Italia Sardegna lead finishing 3rd one place ahead of Evans in 4th, but the Welshman is well placed to carry the fight to the finish.

At the finish on Sunday afternoon, Elfyn commented: “Today the main objective was to stay ahead of the driver behind and make sure that position was secure. Unfortunately I didn’t get as many points on the Power Stage as I would have liked, but all in all at least we secured the result and came away with solid points at the end of the weekend. Of course, you always want more than fourth place but we knew coming here starting first on the road was going to be tough, and we were almost out of the fight for the podium by the end of the first day. We continued to push but the times were close and in the end I think fourth was realistically the most we could achieve. Going onto asphalt (next round in Belgium), being first on the road should normally be an advantage and we’ll be hoping that will be the case.”

On only his second WRC outing this year an inspired Dani Sordo just managed to hold off a closing Thierry Neuville and Sébastien Ogier on the final day.

It was only Sordo's third WRC victory and his second consecutive triumph on the Mediterranean island after a dramatic finish in 2019. The Hyundai driver said: "We had a big lead coming into Sunday morning, but I wasn’t able to set the same times as Thierry and Ogier, so things were a bit too close by the end.”

Team-mate Neuville and Toyota's Ogier duelled fiercely, with Ogier fending off Neuville until a mad dash through the final stage earned Neuville the runner-up place by 1 second.

Teemu Suninen led initially, but after slipping back with mechanical problems on his Ford Fiesta, the Finn finished fifth, while world champion Ott Tänak suffered suspension problems on his i20 on the opening morning. He recovered to finish sixth.

1 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2h41m37.5s
2 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +5.1s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +6.1s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m02.3s
5 Teemu Suninen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1m33.9s
6 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m27.5s

2020 FIA WRC Drivers Points after round 6

1, E. Evans, 111

2, S. Ogier, 97

3, T. Neuville, 87

4, O. Tänak , 83

5, K. Rovanperä, 70

6, T. Suninen, 44

7, E. Lappi, 38

8, D. Sordo, 26

9, C. Breen, 25

10, S.Loeb , 24

(Note: Thanks to Toyota Gazoo Racing for the pics)


Monday, 12 October 2020

Back on line

You may have noticed little on-line activity of late (or maybe not!). That's indirectly due to Covid19 - apparently. The other week a builder inadvertently sliced through the Broadband connection leaving Castle Bunnet without Internet or TV, and therefore restricted access to the outside world.

Bad enough you might think but not nearly as bad as the aftermath in which the big chap became infuriated with umpteen futile attempts to get back on line. Initially tempers were raised going round in circles and through the various and endless menus on Virgin TV.

Direct inquiries are thwarted at every turn. Anyway, the first phone call was answered by a lady who failed the SatNav audition warning the caller that due to Covid19, long waits can be expected! 64 minutes of 'muzak' later the line was cut dead and a metallic voice stated "the other party has hung up" - Jaggy's ears and nostrils started venting clouds of Irn Bru steam.

At 8am the following morning another attempt was made. This time human contact was established. More trouble. The voice spoke perfect English but was heavily accented. That worked both ways, the caller obviously had little experience of someone speaking English with a Lanarkshire accent.

At first the voice on the phone insisted on going through the standard script to ensure that all on-screen advice had been followed, until  the ever-so patient big chap insisted on her hearing him out first - i.e. the line had been cut outside the castle and therefore no amount of tinkering inside would solve the issue. After 24 minutes came the response that he wanted to hear, "we'll send out a technician - next week!"

Within an hour of his arrival today the engineer had found the breakage and repaired it. Job done.

Given the initial infuriating difficulty with Virgin Media (and also recent similar experiences with Nationwide Home Insurance and Currys PC World) it would appear that personal greed and the drive for profit have overtaken the hard work ethic and desire to offer good service, especially amongst the bigger companies.

Which kind of makes one wonder if the CEO of Liberty Global, owner of Virgin Media, who was awarded a salary package of some £101 million (that's not a misprint) earlier this year and the Virgin Media CEO, Lutz Schuler (reputedly on a mere £8 million a year), would have the same trouble calling out a technician?


Methinks not. It's enough to make communism sound appealing - almost! Happy days, eh?

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Rally - 2021 WRC Dates

The FIA World Rally Championship has announced a provisional 12 round series for next year. At the present time, three of the proposed events are described as ‘provisional’ - including Rally Wales GB. The reason cited is financial, but who knows? Politics could be involved - we won’t be part of Europe next year! Will the French based FIA take the huff? Full text of Release here: http://www.jaggybunnet.co.uk/2020/10/10-oct-2021-wrc-dates/

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Rally - Tribute Truck

As the evening sun dipped ever lower behind Knock Hill, silence reigned. It was getting on for 7 o'clock and the photographers were packing away their equipment. Then, from the far side of the race track came a distant rumble, growing ever louder and angrier. The unmistakable beat of a flat four venting through straight pipes unhampered and unrestricted by such politically correct requirements as 'silencers' reverberated mightily as a car burst into sight over the blind uphill apex at Clark Corner and threw itself down the straight towards the Hairpin.

Circuit Manager Stuart Gray just shook his head slowly, but all the while grinning to himself. He had allowed one James S McRae Esq to take the car for a spin round the deserted hillside autodrome "just to blow the cobwebs out" before putting it back on the trailer.

It brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. The late summer sunshine casting long shadows across the track, picking up the bright blue and yellow paintwork and highlighting the sparkling chrome of the Subaru as it made its solitary and very moving progress through the vastness of the brooding terrain.

A fitting end indeed to an afternoon spent with James, Ally Shaw and James Gibb. The occasion was the first public showing of Ally's new tribute truck. Ally is not just a Colin McRae fan. He is a McRae fan, period. This latest truck demonstrates that in a very moving fashion.

Ally has recently joined the '5 Star Deliveries' haulage business which specialises in transporting cars, especially the expensive and exotic kinds! Managing Director James Gibb is well known to Scottish rally fans as both he and son Taylor engage in the noble art themselves. So when Ally approached the 'The Boss' for permission to create yet another 'Tribute Truck' as his work truck, there was no hesitation, consultation or deliberation. The results of that request were able to be displayed yesterday.

For this latest truck, Alan Smallwood from Coalville near Leicester was entrusted with the job. The result is sobering, evocative and memory stirring.

This weekend, Knockhill was supposed to have hosted the 'McRae Rally Challenge' a weekend of personalities, cars, displays and rallying, but sadly, Covid19 put a stop to that. However, it failed to prevent the unveiling of this new Tribute Truck although everyone was 'socially distancing'. No handshakes or bearhugs, just reminiscences shared and one star remembered.