The start of the first stage on to-day’s Snowman Rally was delayed by just over an hour when a spectator collapsed and the medics were called. The gent was taken by motorsports rescue ambulance to the pre-agreed rendezvous point where he was transferred to the county NHS service. Hopefully he’s OK.
However, Meall Mor was up to its usual tricks. The first half of this notorious opening test south of Inverness which rarely catches the sun had hard packed ice this morning and the second half offered rather more grip. That meant the top seeds were severely hampered as they cleared the way for the later runners.
Running at number 13 Quintin Milne in his newly acquired car (hastily purchased two days ago on his return from So Africa) is leading the rally (7m 15s) by 1 second from Bruce McCombie. Mark McCulloch is third (7m 18s) from Donnie MacDonald on 7m 39s.
As for the top seeds. Jock Armstrong isn’t even in the top ten (8m 18s) more than a minute down on Q but ahead of Mike Faulkner and John MacCrone. That shows just how difficult the conditions were for the front runners.
The organisers had earlier looked at conditions and although the ice was hard packed, temperatures are above freezing and when they kicked their heels into the ice it was breaking up.
Goodness knows what the final two stages will be like when they get there later this afternoon. According to one Marshal who had come south to Inverness this morning, the public road had 8 inches of snow!