Closing Car

road closed


When the UK government issued the road closure order to enable the Tour of Mull — as it was then — to take place, it was a first for motorsport. It has also brought about a new way of spectating on stages as effectively it is an offence to even walk on the road when it is closed for the purposes of the rally.
As organisers we have a five-hour window on each section of road that we have closed for the rally. The first hour is used for set-up and to ensure safety for everyone. This leaves us with four hours to get the hundred-odd cars through the stage. This may mean that the last car enters the special stage long before the road opening time is due.
In previous years the next official car through after the last competitor was always the road opener. Now we have a Sweeper car who follow the last competing car through the stage, then the stage medical team may travel through the stage, then lastly the Road Opening car will travel the route. The vehicle will be a very large, very red American pick-up with RED beacons.
This means that no spectating car or spectators can move from their location until the Road Opener passes their location. This would be in contravention of the Road Closure Act. Even if a stage is temporalily stopped we will be doing our utmost to get it started again. If spectators move during this stoppage, we will be unable to restart the stage on safety grounds

red pickup

A large, red, American pick-up – not necessarily THE large, red, American pick-up.


McRae name returns to tackle Mull Rally

Jimmy McRae

The most famous name in Scottish rallying will return to the Tunnock’s Mull Rally this weekend. Jimmy McRae will tackle the three-day event on the Inner Hebridean island for the first time in 40 years.
And the 70-year-old, five-times British rally champ will drive his Ford Escort MkI which has been lying in his Lanarkshire garage gathering dust over the past few years.
This is the 45th annual running of the Mull Rally and McRae is looking forward to testing himself on the closed-off public roads which form the 150-mile, three-day test on October 10-12.
And why is he returning? Partly to celebrate it’s 40 years since he started rallying; and partly because Aussie-based son, former British champ Alister, spotted his dad’s Escort in the garage.
“I always meant to return to do Mull, because we had such a fantastic time when we did it in ’74,” McRae explained.
“The decision to return this year came after we’d had a few drinks when I was celebrating my 70th birthday last October. Alister had made a surprise visit, and he was looking at the car in the garage and asked, ‘when are you going to get that out again?’
“We thought, seeing as it’s 40 years since I last did Mull, in a MkI Escort, I’d dust her down, get her ready for action and head off to do Mull again.
“So Alister went off and phoned my old co-driver Ian Grindrod to see if he was free and wanted to do the rally. And here we are: all set to go.”
And of course, it’s Grindrod who is responsible for being the first man to label the Mull Rally as “the best rally in the world”: a sentiment very few would choose to contradict.
McRae and Grindrod of course, are a tried and tested double-act, winning three British Rally Championships together: McRae, of course, also bagged another two titles.
And life’s come a long way since McRae managed to talk his way into the ’74 Mull Rally.
“In 1974, Mull was part of the Scottish Championship,” he continued. “Originally I wasn’t going to do it, because I’d just started rallying, but one of the guys — Alan Arneil from Hamilton who had an entry — crashed his car the week before the event, and I asked the organisers if I could have his entry slot.
“Thankfully, even though the rally was fully subscribed, they said ‘aye, aye’, just come along and do the event.
“I went over, did the rally and finished eighth overall, first in class, in a Lotus-engined twin-carb MkI Escort.”
But he almost never even got off the start line.
“We actually had to borrow some tyres and wheels to do the rally,” McRae laughed. “Jim Peat had a 1600 Cortina, and we jacked his car up, put my knobblies on it and took his wheels and road tyres. Headed off to Mull and did the rally. Aye, those were the days.”
This year, once again he’ll drive a MkI Escort, but McRae’s is a full Historic-spec version fitted with a 2.0-litre BDA engine and a five-speed ZF gearbox.
Has he set himself any targets?
“Honestly? I’ve got no idea,” he admitted. “I’m looking forward to sitting in the car again with Ian. We’ll go and have a bit of fun.
“Having only done it the once, it’s a very specialised event now. A lot of the guys who do it every year will know exactly where they’re going: they’ll know all the bumps and dips and cambers.
“It would though be nice to win the Historics: but I don’t even know who else is competing in the Class. If some of the local guys do it, then we can forget about winning: we’ll have no chance.”
There’s no denying McRae’s MkI Escort will get huge support from the thousands of spectators who will watch the three-day rally. And for anyone thinking he’s just coming to make up the numbers, and have a quiet tootle round the island, they should think again. Just check out his performance on the Isle of Man last month.
“Aye, well I guess it went ok,” McRae admitted, in his usual, understated way. “We finished second in the post-Historics and fifth overall in the Historics. In the overall rally, we finished 10th. Not bad for an old man in an old Vauxhall.”


Police Presence

2001 Police course car

Police Scotland will have an increased presence on the island for the weekend of the rally as well as rally week. Having started discussions for 2014 back in December there is close support for the event and the work that goes into the rally happening as well how it affects the local community. Mull Rally organisers are extremely grateful for this working relationship.

Police Anglia

From this weekend there will be an unmarked Police car on the island as well as other traffic cars. This is very much a preventative matter, not one of detection. Over the last two years only one competitor has been stopped by the Police for speeding and it would be fantastic to see that that statistic is not added to this year.

Police RS200

But the competitors are only one part of the equation. If you are over servicing, officiating, supporting or spectating remember the road conditions, remember the inclement weather and drive and behave accordingly. Let us all hope that officers over for the weekend have the most boring, quiet weekend ever. We can definitely have an influence in that.

Police stopping RS500


Safety Again

Safety Message

We need you to share this video over and over again. There are real safety messages in here and we need everyone to take these onboard for when the rally starts.

The road closes 1 hour before the 1st competing car, there will be numerous course cars carrying out their work in that hour. Then at the end of the field there will be a Sweeper car. This is NOT the road opening car, following it will be the medical/rescue services and THEN the road opening car. All cars will be sign written with their roles on it.

Should a stage be stopped for any reason, we will do our utmost to get it running again. If you, or anyone around you goes onto the road the Clerk of the Course will have no option but to CANCEL the stage. So don’t move until the road opener has been through.

Now after all this, enjoy the short video and go and share it with fellow competitors, spectators, residents and guests who might be be on the island during the rally. Thank you.



2014 Programme


The Official Rally programme will be coming hot off the print later this week before heading over to the island. With a complete event preview, stage details, entry list and maps to ensure that your spectating experience is what it should be. We also have:

Ach, you can read it off the flyer…..

It will be available around the island and we will post locations here once the ink is dry and it’s on its way.