Saturday 13 October 2012

Rally - Notes from Sat a.m.

Mike Storrar was looking pretty pleased with himself at the end of the first Leg. Having re-shelled the 1600 Toyota Corolla engined Ford Anglia into a Toyota Starlet, he completed the first leg with: “no main lights through Ardtun and Bunessan” but expressed himself pleased with the car: “It’s got all the engine, gearbox, axle and suspension bits from the Anglia, so it still feels quite familiar, but it’s got windy-up windows and doors that close properly,” and in keeping with his desire to retain as much familiarity (it must be an age thing!) as possible, he even has a Ford Anglia steering wheel on it.

Young Matthew Kesson had a lucky escape last night and it was only in daylight we saw the damage. The Nova went off over a ditch and tipped over in the first stage, but it struck a steep banking which knocked it back on to its wheels, over the ditch again and back on to the road. He lost the door mirror and flattened the rain gutter above the door – but not single panel on the side of the car was marked. How lucky was that?

Ross Hunter got a puncture in the Peugeot in the first stage and had to stop and change it, but then the plug came off the ECU and he dropped even more time. There was another tale to tell though, and remember this was the night of the heavy rain and cold weather. When the Peugeot arrived at the finish of Stage 8, the paint on the rear wheels was bubbling from the heat of the brakes. When he pulled up beyond the stage finish, the bakes caught fire, and his faither had to beat the flames down with his tee-shirt – and then he put it back on!

Fiesta driver Kevin Charles is obviously taking this event seriously: “When we got back to the digs last night I had a strawberry and lime flavoured cider – does that count as two, or three, of my five a day?”

Martin Healer is living proof that you can’t get Mull out of the blood. Four weeks ago, whilst twiddling his thumbs over eBay and the Classifieds he bought an ex-works MkI RS1800. Factory built in 1973 for Jeff Churchill it has the old style 5 speed ZF racebox with dog leg first gear and he’s like a kid with a new toy. “We had a fuel pump fail in Scridain last night but got a spare from Eddie O’Donnell,” said Martin, “but this is thing is quick. In fact I can provide a Master Class in how to drive a fast car slow!”

Kevin Dunn was spotted asking difficult questions at MacKay’s Garage this morning. The Peugeot was fouling its plugs late on last night and misfiring so he was on the lookout for new plugs this morning. And I found out the reason for Cameron McLean’s trouble last night was the clutch fork fell off the pivot point. When they tried to fix it they went OTL.

Oh, and by the way, some of you have been asking how I’m getting on with this week’s press road test vehicle, the 3 litre V6 Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport-X. Put it this way, if James Bond had to drive a company van instead of the Aston, it would be one of these. It’s a diesel, and it still sounds awfy nice. But it’s not fast enough to cause the Polis with the hair-dryer any reason to stop me – honest officer, sir!

As for the weather? Well, the fresh air is wet, and I’m sure the sun is up there somewhere, just not over the Isle of Mull.

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