The weather gods were having a laugh yesterday. After pelting us with rain on Saturday night, it stopped when the rally finished in the early hours. Then Sunday dawned bright and warm, allowed an open air prizegiving ceremony at the car park and then last night it was cold and frosty with a deep rich blue canopy overhead studded with millions of little diamonds. Magical.
In fact the only shower yesterday was champagne as the winners celebrated in traditional fashion. A huge crowd had gathered to see Calum and Iain, Tristan and Andrew and John and Clive receive their hard fought awards. The 'visitors' did well this year with 12 'furrin' drivers in the top 20 and 8 Scottish drivers.
Honours were even across the four Classes with two English winning drivers, Curly Haigh and Mark Constantine, and 2 Scots, Fergus Barlow and Calum Duffy. Calum scored his 8th Driver's victory and Iain scored his 6th Co-driver's win, just one short of Mike Stayte's record 7 wins as a Co-driver. That means Iain will need to be back next year.
Despite the weather (because we're used to it?) the rally ran well and there appeared to be enough Marshals (just) although Lock Horsburgh was seen deep in despair at times as he shuffled available manpower around the route. Being Chief Marshal is not a position to be envied. That said, the spectators behaved themselves (mostly) and it was encouraging to note that they were standing rather farther back than in the past. Lessons are being learned and spectators are becoming more responsible. Let's hope it keeps up.
The 2014 Tunnock's Mull Rally was therefore a credit to the Mull Guardians and to the whole organising team, but the pressures on these guys and guyesses are enormous. The population on the island trebles during rally week and since the island isn't getting any bigger, packing in more cars and more support vehicles is an increasingly difficult task -like putting toothpaste back in a tube.
The route was different this year and so was the timetable. That made it difficult to get to suitable places for driver interviews and also where there was a phone signal, so reporting on the rally was just that little bit more difficult this year. More to the point, the competitors enjoyed it, and that's the main thing. However, the situation may improve next year, or maybe not, as Broadband will be arriving on the island. There was a team in Tobermory Bay this week laying a big thick cable from the mainland. Fingers crossed.
There was just one discordant note, the sponsors announced their retirement. After 10 years of support next year's Mull Rally will not be blessed by St Tunnock's of Biscuitry. The Lanarkshire bakers will not be renewing their association with the event Such a pity, they were great sponsors adding colour and enthusiasm - not to mention sprinkling a little taste of Scotland around the island.