Ready to Rock!

Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally is ready to rock!

  • The Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally takes place for the 51st time this weekend [13 – 15 October]
  • New format sees the opening stages take place in daylight, before mammoth Saturday into Sunday legs
  • All competitors will offset their carbon emissions, totalling 70,000Kg CO2e
  • Two-time winners Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell lead the field in their MINI JCW WRC
  • Dervaig driver John MacCrone returns to top-flight machinery and gives an insight into the 2023 Mull Rally

It’s half a century not out for the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally, and as the iconic island motorsport weekend approaches, preparations are almost complete for the 51st edition which kicks off this Friday, ahead of three days of breathtaking closed-road action [13-15 October].

This year’s offering will see around 120 contenders assemble in Tobermory, ahead of 134 miles of some of the finest island roads in existence and the ultimate battle for the top spot and the honour of etching their names on the Mull Rally trophy.

The fight to lead the procession through Tobermory on Sunday afternoon is as unpredictable as ever with any one of the top-flight contenders capable of challenging for the win, offering fans and volunteers who have made the trip to Mull, as well as eager residents and townsfolk, a guaranteed spectacle.

Leading the field away will be two-time winners Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell in their MINI JCW WRC. Arguably Mull veterans, the pairing know exactly the ingredients required to win against the locals and the Lancashire driver will undoubtedly be up for the fight.

As will Dervaig driver and leading local hero John MacCrone, who means business with a return to top-flight Rally2 machinery and a Fiesta Rally2. Another double winner, MacCrone is eager to stand on the top step of the podium once again.

“I`m going out for a win, the trouble is, so is everyone else,” says MacCrone.

“Whether that will be the reality or not, we will find out. But we have got the right machinery and a top-class navigator in Dai Roberts so I will be giving it 100% on every single corner to try and make that possible but it won’t be easy.”

It won’t be easy at all when you look at the competition around him. Asphalt ace Neil Roskell pilots his Fiesta Rally2 with Andrew Roughead on the notes at the third seed, whilst Jonathan Mounsey and Richard Wardle also return in a similar example. It’s an all-Tobermory crew at five with Lewis Gallagher and Angus Williams’ Mitsubishi Evo IX.

An on-form James Ford brings his Citroen C3 Rally2 with Neil Shanks on the notes, whilst Tobermory driver Fergus Barlow steps into the latest spec car for the first time, nailing his flag to the mast for a maiden victory, brother Craig will co-drive and flies all the way from New Zealand to take up the other seat!

Picking a winner is a tough prospect says MacCrone.

“Daniel is on a big pace in the Mini and Neil Roskell is rallying at the sharp end of the National Asphalt championship and has put a lot of preparation into this year’s event. Throw in Lewis Gallagher, Jon Mounsey, James Ford and Fergus Barlow and we have our work cut out this year. To be honest, it’s such a hard rally to win, if you take victory on Mull, you have either been lucky or right at the top of your game.

“All of these guys will have the same idea as me, so we will need to be going hard to be in with a shout”.

Yes John, yes you will.

After Friday morning’s [October 13] shakedown at Duart Castle from 09:00, your prawn sandwich would have only just gone down before the Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally gets underway from Tobermory at 14:30. The Ceremonial Start at Ledaig Car Park enjoys commentary and a Big Screen, as crews prepare to head out for two stages in daylight, followed by a service from Craignure to Salen just after 17:15, where crews will fit the light pods ahead of a further stage in darkness, before the overnight halt at Salen from 19:20.”

Saturday restarts in Tobermory at 09:20 with three stages repeated for the second leg of the event and over 53 competitive miles in store. The Duffy Skylining Mishnish Lochs double run also enjoys the now traditional big screen, beaming stage end reports and results to fans at the Isle of Mull Cheese Fanzone from 09:00. Salen will be a welcome sight from 12:45, marking a short respite ahead of leg three.

The third and final leg re-starts from Salen at 17:55, once again with commentary before the daunting night-time leg of over 63 miles and eight stages. Service is back in Craignure at 21:50 to split the evening up, with Electric Switchgear Services Achnadrish 1/2 hosting the Big Screen back at the Isle of Mull Cheese Fanzone throughout the night, starting just after 20:00.

The Ledaig Car Park in Tobermory will see the weary finishers cross the Ceremonial Finish Ramp from at 00:30 on Sunday morning. The traditional prize presentation takes place in Tobermory from 15:00. Full spectator information can be found in the event programme, available in various outlets across the island.

Island resident MacCrone thinks the new format could shake things up a bit.

“It’ll be an interesting year. The Friday afternoon start is obviously new and I think it will suit the guys that have had a bit more seat time this year than ourselves. The three or four guys around us have done a few rallies this year and the local knowledge aspect will be lessened starting in daylight. I think we need to be patient initially and feel our way into the car. Saturday night is a big leg and my thinking is if we can there or thereabouts starting the Saturday night leg, there is a lot of mileage that night to find time.

“Hopefully it’s a dry weekend not just for ourselves but the marshals and spectators. It’s nice to see the Mishnish Lochs stage running in its old format and maybe get a crack at the stage record if that’s the case. I’ve got a bet on with my pal that we will try for it if it’s dry, which should be a lot of fun!”

Fun it will be, but there is a serious side to the event, as it strives to mitigate its environmental impact. Thanks to a continued partnership with Carbon Positive Motorsport, the Mull Rally will see a significant uplift in its long-term ecological roadmap, by ensuring that all competitors in this year’s event will offset their carbon emissions.

It will offset more than 70,000Kg CO2e, which is more than most other stage rally events in the world, reinforcing its pledge to be one of the leading events for commitment to sustainability and longevity. This is coupled with several environmental champions who will help spread the positive message for change within the sport’s networks.

Clerk of the Course, Richard Crozier and his team have been planning this year’s event for over 12 months and is excited to finally see it come to fruition.

“It’s been a challenging few weeks with the weather and logistics but with true Scottish grit and determination, everyone has got stuck in and ensured we are on track to deliver yet another sensational Mull Rally that everyone has come to love.

“It’s a new format this year which changes the dynamics a little but it’s the same epic challenge it always was and we can’t wait to see everyone landing on the island to prepare for the weekend ahead. Our extended thanks must go to John Marshall of Beatson’s Building Supplies for his continued support of the rally and of course to all our partners who helped make the event happen.

“Now it’s our turn to deliver a Mull Rally to remember.”