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2005 Class Win for Teambrowns!

Jan 31,2006 by Julian Grattidge

In this piece, Doug Weir & Duncan Brown retell their exploits on the 2005 Tour of mull: Worryingly quick - that's the two word version of this year’s event. In short our event was a bit up and down with some car woes holding us back on 9 out of 19 stages. The old adage of never giving up paid off, with the car fixed and a clean run on the Sat night leading to 6th overall and 1st in class. This was Doug's 11th attempt and 8th with Duncan. The weeks leading up to the event were spent in the garage prepping the two Nova's and Mk2 with us heading over for our recce the Monday before the event. To add to the spectacle Duncan had bought team rugby shirts in white and blue with "Teambrowns" emblazoned across the chest. They certainly helped give us an identity and we were lucky the weather was good meaning we didn't have to cover them up with jackets! The team grew almost daily; by the rally start we had a team of 14 people! We had to find extra accommodation and a big thanks to Duncan’s brother Alan for letting us take over his house!

Friday 14th Oct - Scrutineering passed without problems and we had a live radio interview on Oban FM. We received a box of Caramel wafers courtesy of the new sponsors Tunnocks and Duncan was in his element telling stories of when he was a young lad standing out half the night watching the rally and dreaming about how one day he may compete. The plan for the event was the same as usual to go as fast as we could manage! The first stage is always daunting and the blast over the lochs from Tob to Dervaig was no different, by the end Doug's mouth was bone dry and brow was dripping with sweat. The 2nd stage over the Hill road and down Loch Tuath felt much better, and felt much faster than last year with the standard engine and first time out in the car. The clocks said otherwise being only 2 secs quicker over 14 miles this year with 50 more horsepower and different suspension! The lesson here is its commitment that's required not a faster car. At first service we were lying 4th which was a bit of surprise but thought we had a good chance of a result if we could keep up the pace! Our problems started on the next road section down to the south end of the island to Ardtun at Bunessan. We stopped in a passing place for 15 mins wait but the engine wouldn't fire up. It turned over but either no spark or no fuel? After wiggling some wires it burst into life. Something wasn't right, half way through Ardtun it started missing under load. Same thing 2nd time round Ardtun, then Scridain and Gribun. It would run fine on the road sections even if you gunned it, it only seemed to break down after being thrashed for a wee while in the stages. We tried a different plug lead at emergency service to no avail! Convinced it was the coil so we started searching for a new one. We drove the last stage round Calgary at reduced speed trying to keep the engine out of the misfire range. We had now slipped back to 9th O/A so not too bad considering.

Sat 15th Oct Once the service crew came to life things happened fast with all three cars ready to rock in less than two hours! We headed off to the start with fingers crossed the car would run fine and were looking forward to the daylight stages especially on such a beautiful day, the sun was out and you can't help being impressed by the scenery. The blast up Loch Tuath was going really well with the car singing along until 2/3 rds the way in when it started cutting out again. We stopped about a mile or so from the end to try wiggling all the wires as we were worried the car wouldn't drive up the hills near the end of the stage. She eventually fired up and we followed the next car out the stage. The problem remained over the next three stages until eventually she conked out on the stop line with one stage to go before service. We pushed her down the road into the emergency service area, still convinced it was electrical and busy pulling off wires, relays, fuses etc until we'd almost admitted defeat. Duncan suddenly had a thought asking if we had any fuel. To our surprise we had run out of fuel! We were lucky here as we had broken down in an emergency service area full of chase cars and there was an extra 10 mins built into our road time. Alan Gardiner and Ian Chadwicks crews came to the rescue with fuel. Don't know what they gave us but by christ the car didn't half go over the Lochs back to Tob. After easing the car in gently for the first couple of miles we upped the pace with the front tyres struggling for grip, bit too soft for the temperature and abrasive road conditions but we managed our first ever sub 7 mins time over the lochs 06:58. The last two stages down Gribun (Loch Na Keal) and Scridain in the daylight were good with the car going well and we managed 4th and 6th quickest. With the time lost earlier though we had dropped to 12th O/A.

Sat 15th Oct night time - The car needed some welding to the 4 link mounting brackets. The target for the final leg was to stay on the calendar and move up if possible, the class looked out of reach being 2 1/2 mins off the leader. The first stage on Sat night was the long one, 22 miles of Mull magic. The sweat was running into Doug's eyes by half way as we caught the car in front, Keith Hall, he moved over really quickly. The next stage over the lochs also went well with the class leader Dave Hopwood in his immaculate un-arched Mk2 going off for a couple of mins. By service we were up to 7th, a couple of mins off the Swinscoes in their brand new Evo9 in 6th. The 4 link bars had started clattering a bit getting worse as each stage went on. When we launched off the line for the last stage over the hill road and down the awesomely fast Glen Aros there was a loud bang. We knew something wasn't going to last long so took the decision to be sensible and nurse the car through. As we entered the village of Dervaig, a favourite spot for spectators we drove under some telegraph wires running across the road. Doug shouted to Duncan they were there but immediately put it to the back of our minds. Next up, hanbraked round the Dervaig junction to massive cheers, you can hear them on the in car footage! Then down the Glen, 6000 or just over max, being real gentle on the transmission. Once we saw the results we realised the Swinscoes had gone off and we had moved up to 6th, 1st Class C but it took a while till it sunk in that the telegraph wires were from the pole they had hit, ouch.

Sun 16th Oct - Party day! After collecting the class trophy and team award with Eddie O'Donnell and Denis Biggerstaff it was off for a slap up meal and a night on the tiles. It was time to thank our main sponsor and owner of Browns of Tobermory Olive Brown. Without her we would never be able to compete at the level we do, imagine 13 rally fanatics turning your world upside down for a week and you may begin to understand! We celebrated with thoughts to everyone who helped make the 2005 adventure happen, the service crew, Graham, Colin, Callum, Steven and Russell whom had to head home early, George at the Five Mile, Keith, Chris and Callum for spares, Helen and Hayley for keeping our bodies fuelled up too. And the strange bit was the weather, we were able to sit outside in shirt sleeves all night, it felt like being abroad somewhere, the atmosphere was brilliant with everyone having a great time.

Article kindly supplied by Doug & Duncan from where you can find much more information on their exploits in ‘Moira’, their immaculate Mk2 Escort.

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