… also referred to as The Best Rally In The World *, organised by the 2300 Club (Mullard Factory, Blackburn – remember the ‘valve’ ?) up until 2010 when the new organisers: The Mull Car Club held their first event in October of that year – The Tunnock’s Mull Rally.
Tunnock’s (Thomas Tunnock Limited) have sponsored the event since 2005.
The Tour of Mull is (or was) a significant rally for our GJH as he was at the very first event in October 1969, as a marshall.
Having enjoyed a couple of holiday weeks on the Island in previous years, the absolute peace and quiet of the place being a notable feature, he recalls this particular week as the most startling contrast he has ever experienced. Not only was this the first rally on the Island but at the same time ‘When Eight Bells Toll’ , based on the novel by Alistair MacLean, was being filmed. Not only was Tobermory (and the Islanders in general) host to a multitude of rally enthusiasts, competitors and their crews, it was also housing and feeding a large film crew and actors such as: Anthony Hopkins, Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins, Corin Redgrave and Derek Bond.
The rally started at 10.30pm on Saturday 18th. October 1969; 57 crews (from 72 entries) appeared at the start on Main Street.
First away was George Hill & Keith Wood in a Cooper S. They went on to win the rally by only 46 seconds ahead of Will Sparrow & Nigel Raeburn, also in a Cooper S.
GJH also recalls: another noteworthy feature of the event was the prize giving at the Western Isles Hotel. The prize winners were presented with their trophies by the actress Natalie Delon, who starred in the film: When Eight Bells Toll. Natalie turned up in a tartan mini skirt to do the honours which went down very well with the trophy recipients, not to mention the onlookers, with the exception perhaps of some of the traditional Scots present.
* by Brian Molyneux | The Pentland Press Ltd. | ISBN 0 946270 67 8
Special mention: the late Tom Knowles.