Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Rally - Beatson's Mull Report

That's the main report from the Beatson's Mull Rally now in the on-line mag. It's not as comprehensive as I would have liked although hopefully it gives a true account and flavour of the weekend's activities. With so many crews to get round and so little time, it's the best that could be done, especially in those dreadful conditions. It's still the longest (and hopefully most complete) report on the rally that you will read anywhere else, however there are many more snippets and quotes which were collected and which will be compiled separately and published later, if you have the stomach for any more?


If alcohol has such a dehydrating effect on the human body, as claimed by the world's leading medical professionals and do-gooding abstemious abstainers, then how come I'm still damp from the weekend? Is it just a question of finding out how much is sufficient to dry oneself out, does height and weight come into it, has intake capacity and toleration something to do with it, or does it only work when one over-indulges, falls over and hugs the pavement? On that basis, and purely in the spirit of biological and physiological enlightenment, then perhaps the experiment should be continued to assess the exact quantity that must be consumed to counter the effects of excessive rain on the human body and the osmotic effect of absorption through sodden clothes. Cheers everyone, here's to more scientific discovery, eh? David Attenborough has nothing on this!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Rally - The day after

Mull woke up to a different dawn chorus this morning, the sound of silence. Apart that is from the occasional angry bark of a rescued car which had been abandoned overnight in a ditch or in the bushes as a result of the enthusiastic, over-ambitious endeavours of its owner during the previous night’s antics. You could almost tell by the staccato rapidity of the gear changes or the leisurely drone whether its driver was in a good mood, or still in bad one! 

On a lighter note, first time driver on Mull, Shona Hale (car 150) was delighted she had achieved her pre-rally target to finish inside the top 100, a task made slightly easier by the fact that only 87 cars and crews finished. Driving a wee Citroen C2 bearing allegiance to her favoured tipple (or two!) and known affectionately as ‘the kettle’ due to its propensity to spit steam and boil over, the car performed faultlessly although the service crew were pressed into urgent action when she lost a mud flap! Considering this was one of the worst Mull’s on record weather-wise, Shona’s drive was quite magnificent – and she wasn’t last.

There were also a couple of unexpected visitors on the island over the weekend. One was the 84 year old Dad of rally driver and event sponsor John Marshall. Apparently his Dad has not been to many rallies as he is not really a rally fan – he is now. The other visitor was one David Richards Esq, who took quite an interest in proceedings. And yes, it was ‘that’ David Richards, the boss of Motorsport UK. Nice to know he’s still a fan and we can all remain hopeful that at long last the sport’s governors are on the side of the sport!

And now for some proper good news. James and Kerry MacGillivray are expected to be released from hospital in Paisley tomorrow having been kept in for ‘observation’. Best wishes to you both.

Every picture tells a story

Just thought you might like to see this. It was a sticker on Jim McDowall’s Subaru and it expressed the sentiments of rally fans everywhere. Like the rest of us Jim’s a fan and he got these stickers made up himself. I would have shown you the other side of the car as well, but Jim spent some time ‘scenery shopping’ collecting a wheel well full of turf and hedgelings and since this was self-service, some damage to the bumper and wing was incurred during the process, so I’m just being respectfully considerate not showing you the other side!  

Rally - A heartwarming tale

The youth of today often get a bad press, but those are in the minority, the rest just get on with life and some meet their challenges head on. For example, on Saturday one of the temporary radio masts ‘went down’ as they say and needed urgent repairs. These masts are a vital part of the safety network on a rally especially one like the Beatson’s Mull Rally where the physical geographical extent of the route creates a range problem and the hills add their own additional vertical challenges which have to be overcome. There’s a whole team of these volunteers who arrive on the island days before the rally to set up this network and our likely lad, whom we’ll call Kenneth (cos that’s his name) is one of those dedicated stalwarts. He works under the stewardship of the team leader, one Inspector Gadget as he is reverentially known, and when he became aware of a problem, Kenneth volunteered for the task. Trouble was, the mast was mid-stage and the rally was live. Undaunted, Kenneth set off carrying one of those large ‘Really Useful’ 64 litre sealable storage boxes full of the necessary spares and tools. He walked from Torloisk to Rhudle, a distance of some 3 miles, along the side of the road, over ditches, through fields, ferns and gorse and over dry stane dykes. When he came to the wee bridge over the burn, he remembered that he wasn’t allowed on a ‘live’ stage, so instead of crossing the bridge, he waded across the burn. On arrival at the problem he set to work and effected the vital repairs. Oh, and did I mention it was raining? And we all know what the rain showers were like on Saturday afternoon, don’t we? The young man’s a star and his story deserves to be told. With young men like him, perhaps the sport and indeed the country, is still in safe hands. Gaun yersel Kenneth.