One of the first cars through Scrutineering this morning was the Course Car and this brought back memories to many of the old timers. This Ford Escort RS1600 is the actual the car used by Willie Crawford to win the 1976 Tour of Mull Rally. It has been painstakingly rebuilt over the past two years by Ronald Dunsmore, a member of Coltness Car Club.
Willie had a personal registration on the car when he rallied it, so Ronald has printed ‘LSC 3’ in big print across the front of the bonnet, although it runs a different reg number now. Not only does it look the part, it sounds it.
Talking of old timers. Tony Bardy and the Nissan Sunny GTI-R sailed through Scrutineering. “The car was first built in 1990,” said Tony, “it’s the same car now – but it’s had a few bodyshells since then!”
Conditions are at the forefront of everyone’s mind at present including Stephen Lockhart: “It’s the standing water I don’t like, it’s always in the wrong places, like corners and in braking zones.” An opinion shared by many drivers. The Mitsubishi Lancer also looked a bit different too: “It’s the same car but we’ve freshened it up and painted it,” said Stephen, “and we’ve fitted a 5 speed sequential gearbox.”
Local driver Lewis Gallagher appeared in a new car: “I bought it a month ago,” he said, “and I’ve only driven it 5 miles.” Last year he hired a Subaru Impreza for his local event: “This car is virtually the same spec, nearly standard,” said Lewis, “so hopefully there won’t be too much difference in driving it.”
There are two ‘Mull virgins’ amongst the top seeds, Donne MacDonald from Inverness in his Mitsubishi Lancer at 17 and Alistair Inglis from the far east (Montrose) in another Mitsubishi running at 21. A front runner in the national Scottish forest rally championship, Donnie said: “I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t like tarmac. I did the Jim Clark and still don’t like tarmac,” he said, “but I’ve heard so much about this event that here I am.” It was the same with Alistair: “I came to watch 26 years ago, and always said I’d come back to do it.” Takes a while to make up his mind, eh?
Another driver who always goes well is regular Mull visitor Mark Constantine from Richmond in the 1400cc Vauxhall Corsa, but is it a new car? “No, it’s just had a makeover” said Mark, “it’s been repainted in a new colour scheme but he wipers aren’t working and the main beam on the headlights and spotlights aren’t working.” Just what you need on a night rally on Mull.
“But we’ll get it fixed before the rally starts,” he added. Here’s hoping.