Friday 12 October 2012

Rally - MacCrone on Mull

It’s Mull and it’s raining, or as we tell the tourists, it doesn’t actually rain In Scotland it’s just that we wash the air frequently – that’s why it’s so fresh.

Scrutineering is well under way in Tobermory Distillery for this year’s Tunnock’s Mull Rally with all the top seeds through. Even the O’Donnell twins were on time this morning, with Eddie Snr saying: “This is my last Mull” and Eddie Jnr quipping: “He’s been saying that since three years ago!”

Caught up with John MacCrone to congratulate him on his Rally France outing: “If it hadn’t been for second gear breaking on the second day, we might have done a good deal better. We ran all day without second gear,” he said, and yet he still finished third WRC Academy driver.

“There’s an extra point for being fastest on every stage,” said John, “so the pace is constant, the Academy drivers never let up.”

So that should set him up well for this weekend: “Yes, the stages in France are really good, and very fast. We’ve had to soften the Fiesta and raise the ride height a bit to cope with the bumps on  Mull.”

With only 170 hp from the 1.6 litre engine, he’ll struggle against the big boys: “I’ll struggle against the Class B boys here let along the front runners,” he laughed, “really, I have no expectations this weekend but I’m going for the class win and let the overall results take care of themselves.” At this point a tightly packed formation of pigs flew over Tobermory Bay!

So how was France, I asked him: “Awesome. There were 600,000 fans all cheering on the local boy, Loeb. There was one stretch coming downhill a fifth gear descent into a hairpin, so it was a nip of the handbrake and round and away again. We could hear the crowd cheering and clapping, thousands of them really appreciative, and you know what, there were some Saltires waving in the crowd – that was pretty cool.”

So how does he feel now on home turf in front of even bigger crowds (slight  exaggeration here) but no less enthusiastic: “The car is only geared for 108 mph so we’ll be on the rev limiter a lot this weekend, but I’ll be trying.”

That'll be a sight worth seeing.

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