There has never been a Mull Rally without drama, and this 2014 Tunnocks Mull Rally is upholding that fine tradition of providing action, excitement and tension right from the start.
It was raining hard on the first stage at Calgary Bay then rained some more over Loch Tuath before drying up half way through and then chucked it down again on the third test at Glen Aros. This was a fine night for exercising the sphincter muscles.
First to encounter these uncertain conditions was the top seed, John MacCrone: "Wrong tyres. They were too hard, I spun off, but got going again. Calum passed me and then Peter Taylor - but I caught up with Peter before the end."
Taylor was having his own troubles too with a broken brake disc and Calum Duffy arrived at service where the service crew was waiting anxiously. The gearbox is self shifting, but he phoned ahead and the Den Sport boys have a ploy. Already out is Alan Gardiner so the Den Sport boys are going to take the gearbox out of Alan's Mk1 and put it into Calum's MkII. So why is Alan out? The engine failed on the way from his hotel to the rally start: "And it was a new engine too," said Alan.
Mull virgin Derek McGeechan is having a character building baptism too. On the start line of the third stage, a driveshaft snapped and he is also having windscreen misting problems in the wet.
But out there in the lead is 2005 Mull winner James MacGillivray in a hired Subaru after his Escort's engine failed on the Mach 1 Stages in June, but: "It's misting up badly in there. It's so wet I'm just not getting a chance to clear the windscreen. I can't see at times."
Well, it must be divine right that's guiding him tonight. As Grum Willcock said: "I've never aquaplaned so much in my life." And they've only done 3 stages!
Leaderboard after 3 (of 20) stages:
1, J MacGillivray, 28m 21s
2, C Duffy, 28m 31s
3, T Pye, 29m 08s
4, D Weir, 29m 57s
5, S Sinclair, 30m 11s
6, I Chadwick, 30m 13s
7, T Stell, 30m 25s
8, P Taylor, 30m 36s
9, B Bird, 30m 43s
10, J Mounsey, 30m 50s