150-strong Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally
Scotsmen Paul MacKinnon and Paul Beaton will lead a capacity, 150-strong Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally entry away from the Tobermory start in 18 days.
Islander MacKinnon will be chasing a fourth Mull win and an astonishing 15th for the MacKinnon family, following his father Neil’s 11 victories scored between 1980 and 2007. He starts from car one courtesy of his success last time the ultra-popular Hebridean event ran in 2019.
Paul said: “It’s been a long two years since the last rally. It’s nice to be starting at number one, but the big thing is just to have the event back. It’s fair to say, the island was a pretty quiet and dismal place last October. This rally means so much to us – it’s brings significant investment and it brings a real buzz about the place. You can feel that atmosphere building now.
“As usual, the entry’s looking really strong and I’m sure it’s going to be a great event.”
Similarly, Daniel Harper, who finished second last time out starts second on the road behind MacKinnon. The 2002 winner deploys his usual ex-works Mini JCW WRC in pursuit of one step higher on the podium for the October 8-10 event.
The Mini man finds himself as the meat in a Mull sandwich, with John MacCrone at three. John has yet to reveal whether the Ford he has entered will be a Rally2-specification car similar to the one he used to win the 2016 event or a Blue Oval driven entirely from the rear.
British Rally Championship crews
After a top three packed with faces entirely familiar to the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally hardcore, there’s the first of the British Rally Championship crews. In an exciting development – and for the first time in the event’s 52-year history – the switchback lanes on the isle of Mull provide a scoring round of Britain’s premier rally series.
Double British Rally Champion Matt Edwards is first up, with his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 wearing fours on the doors. His fellow Welshman Osian Pryce follows in another Polo with series leader ahead of this weekend’s Trackrod Rally Yorkshire Rhys Yates in his Ford Fiesta Rally2.
M-Sport driver Rhys is looking forward to his first time on the island.
“I’ve heard so much about Mull,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I know it’s going to be a challenge going there for the first time, but it was always the same when we were going to world championship rounds for the first time; it’s about getting a good recce done and focusing on the notes.
“As for driving in the dark, I can’t wait for that! I love it. It really adds something in terms of the intensity in the car. I’ve had a look on YouTube at some of the stages and it reminded me of some places in Corsica and I really enjoyed those roads. Let’s see. It’s something new and something very exciting.”
Tobermory’s Lewis Gallagher starts at seven in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX with one of the highlights of 2019 rolling over the ramp at number eight: David Bogie and his Millington-engined Ford Escort. David Wright (Ford Fiesta R5) and Salen’s former winner James MacGillivray (Ford Escort RS) round out a stellar top 10.
Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally clerk of the course Andy Jardine said: “When the entries closed and we looked at the quality and the quantity it was quite overwhelming – the response to the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally is, once again, magnificent and we are, as ever, hugely grateful to the crews for voting with their feet in such incredible numbers.
“As well as that, as the event nears, we’re seeing the exceptional volunteer force start to build now. These are the real heroes of this rally, the ones we simply couldn’t function without. Much as we need the entries, we need the marshals, the safety crews, the timing crews, we need them all and it’s a massive relief to see the energy and enthusiasm for coming back through the Highlands to the islands in the autumn hasn’t dimmed one bit.”
This year’s event includes 148 competitive miles across 17 stages split into three legs. Starting out of Tobermory at 1930 on Friday October 8, the crews go straight into the first of five stages before arriving into an overnight halt at Salen shortly after midnight.
An 1130 restart from Garmony is the precursor to eight more stages through Saturday afternoon, before a five-hour break and a final four-test loop ending with the classic run up Glen Aros and over the Lochs to a finish outside Tobermory just before two o’clock on Sunday morning.