Saltire ABC Rallying Lion Rampant
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Tour of Mull - 11th, 12th & 13th October 2002

The Tour of Mull is the second biggest event in the UK after the Network Q World Championship Rally. There would be around 160 stage miles over three legs (Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night). It would also be the first time that the team had rallied in the dark.

Pre Event

Gordon, Ian and Rab Walker (who would be helping to service with us) arrived on the Wednesday. Sam and Brian would join us on the Friday. The weather was very nice on Wednesday and Thursday and we were able to go over all of the stages and check all of our route notes to ensure they were OK. Typically for the Tour of Mull Friday was very wet and it looked as if the rain was on to stay for a while. Although we hadn't planned to go over any stages on the Friday morning we decided to go over two of them on the way to ferry to meet Sam just to get an idea of how wet the roads were getting.

Friday Night

We started at 10:05 on Friday night and headed out of Tobermory to the first stage. Unfortunately a spectator had fallen ill and the ambulance had to go into the stage to get them. With no medical cover for that stage and with time running out the organisers cancelled the stage which meant had to wait a little longer to have our first go at a night stage.
Stage 2 went OK although we were a little cautious to start with as we got used to the grip levels in the rain and also driving in the dark. We were caught and passed by the car behind us about half way through the stage but other than that there were no problems.
After another stage we then went to service but there were no problems with the car so it was just a routine check over and then we were on our way again. We then completed the last four stages of the night without any problems and got back to bed around 4 o'clock on Saturday morning.

Saturday Afternoon

The car had been working fine but the engine felt a bit under powered so we got Sam to have a look at it and he reset the timing and got it running a bit smoother. After that we headed for the restart in Tobermory just before 1 o'clock on Saturday Afternoon. The first couple of stages were a bit slippy as a car in front had been dropping some oil on the road but we didn't have any problems to speak of. The car was struggling to get off the line and the clutch was starting to smell a bit so we decided to change the tyres at service and put on smaller 13inch wheels on the back to try and reduce the strain on the transmission.
The next couple of stages went OK although it was still slippy with some oil still being dropped. On the second last stage of the day we had our only worrying moment. A Subaru in front of us was having some trouble and was going very slowly so we caught it fairly quickly after the stage start. It seen us coming and pulled over but unfortunately it used a passing place just after a humpback bridge. We had added to the notes that Gordon was to keep tight to the drivers side going into the bridge and there would be enough space on the exit if we used the passing place. We hit the bridge quite hard which sent the car airborne, it then became obvious that we were going to land fairly close to the parked Subaru. Luckily we missed it by about a foot and were able to continue.

Saturday Night

The car had been giving a slight vibration off of the steering after it had landed from the humpback bridge but this was the only problem. The service crew got the front of the car in the air and checked everything out which cured the problem. We started the third and final leg at around 10:30 on Saturday Night and things went well. On the road sections we suffered from the intercom and the map light both switching off momentarily. Then on the last stage before service they both went off for about 4 seconds just after the stage start. This meant Ian couldn't read the notes and Gordon couldn't hear anything. They then came back on and everything was OK for the remainder of the stage. At service Sam tightened up all of the electrical fittings in the fuse box and this seemed to cure the problem.
Only 3 stages left between us and the finish. On the second last stage the Subaru we had passed in the morning got his own back as now repaired he was working his way back up through the field. The last stage proved to be very difficult as the stage had been stopped and while we were waiting for things to get started again tiredness really started to set in. After about a forty minute wait the stage got restarted but it was very difficult to regain concentration for that last 14 miles. We were very slow through the last stage but fortunately didn't have any problems and finally finished in Tobermory at 3:30 on Saturday night.

Mull was a very enjoyable experience and as all we had set out to do was finish we were delighted with 79th overall and 10th in class, which wasn't too bad from 160 starters 23 of them in our class.

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