Monday 17 October 2011

Rally - Last Look

Sitting waiting for the Lochaline Ferry on Sunday afternoon gives folk time to reflect on the weekend's activities. There is no doubt that life on an island is different to that of the mainland, but even that can be deceptive. The pace of working life over there is no different to over here. For instance, visitors to the island will often mistake the high speed driving style of some island motorists for rally folks in a hurry or out doing an illicit recce. Don't kid yourself, quite often it's a local. Be it the postie, plumber, poacher, vet or farmer, these folk are so used to driving on single track roads with passing places that their average speed is usually higher than 'normal' folks thinks is safe!

They also dismiss the occcasional near miss, or tactile wing mirror kiss, with a cheery wave where other folk might be fuming at what is perceived as reckless or careless diving. Wrong. This is island life. And if we all took the cheery wave response to other motorists in our everyday normal driving condtions, the world would be a happier place.

Sermon over. But looking back I spoke to north of England tarmac expert, Richard Cook after the rally. He's quite a whizz on Otterburn but this was his first visit to Mull, and I thought his 16th overall in a clubman spec Impreza pretty impressive for a Mull virgin. When I asked him what he thought of the event all I could get out of him was one word: "Fabulous."

I also thought visiting Fiesta driver Andrew Staton had a wonderful turn of phrase when he summed up his worst moment during the rally. When asked how close disaster was, he said: "My bum sucked up my underpants."

And despite his early demise, Hugh Hunter is still a fan. He retired his Focus WRC early last year after breaking a wheel and puncturing and retired again this year after the second stage. "We originally thought it was a shaft inside the transfer box," said Hugh, "but when we looked at it in daylight realised a driveshaft had snapped cleanly without damaging the bearings, so we were lucky." The Paul Benn run team then fitted a new driveshaft (during which operation one of the team was heard to mutter, this is the corner he whacked the gatepost with on last week's Cambrian!) so that Hugh could take it out for a run on Saturday night's Trophy Rally. Upset? Not a bit of it. Hugh's response, uttered in Arnold Schwarzenegger-speak was: "I'll be back!"

I can also exclsuively reveal that the event sponsor Mr B Tunnock, of the world-famous bakery, was escorted out of the Salen Hotel on Saturday night, by members of the Strathclyde constabulary. He was then taken to Tobermory in the back of the Polis car - where he was handed over to the ladies who were heating up the Tunnock's pies for Mr T to hand out to the finishing drivers and co-drivers. Some things in life take priority, eh?

And you know what? There is little better in life than standing at the finish of 'the best rally in the world' on Tobermory esplanade well past midnight, in the cold and the damp, eating a hot Tunnock's pie to the accompaniment of rumbling flat fours and growling BDAs.

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