Thursday 10 October 2013

Rally - Silent Spectator

This might well be the 44th Mull Rally, but without the vision and determination of one man, it might never have got underway at all. Brian Molyneux was the driving force behind 2300 Club and their efforts to finance and instigate the Act of Parliament which allows today's rally organisers to close the public roads for the duration of each Special Stage.

He passed away in 1996, but a cairn has been erected and dedicated to the man high above Dervaig overlooking the notorious hairpins and churchyard. If you're passing at any time over the weekend, give a nod to the man who started it all. For sure, he had a good team around him, but it was his stubborn perseverence in the face of political and civil service obfuscation and interminable form-filling that eventually saw the application through to its successful fruition.

This also established the legal precedent which greatly helped the Jim Clark Rally in Berwickshire to become only the second rally on 'mainland' Britain to achieve closed road status. It is still a lengthy and costly affair to create and organise such an event and perhaps the biggest surprise is that no other clubs have achieved this feat. That in itself highlights the difficulty that any new event faces, and also the sheer doggedness of the man who started it all off.

There is a book written by the man entitled modestly, but truthfully, 'The Best Rally in the World'. If you can find a copy, it's well worth the read.

Each year I visit the cairn and doff my bunnet to this motor sporting pioneer and high achiever. And if you see any smoke wafting over the hills and through the glens this weekend, dinnae worry, it'll just be pipe smoke from the silent spectator above Dervaig.

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