Our story started months before the entries opened when my friends at Mini Sport suggested we enter the Mull rally.
This is an event I have always wanted to do in the Mini, sadly I was told, I probably would not be able to obtain any accommodation, as people book 12 months in advance. Luckily Daniel Harper put the word out and a flat was available if I needed it, this was quickly booked, so now I was committed!
Entries opened and I quickly put the entry in, later finding that they had received over 150 entries in minutes. With ferry booked it was all systems go.
We arrived a few days early to complete a recce of the stages to discover small, bumpy roads, that looked difficult to master.
The event started on Friday evening, so with spot lights fitted it was off to the first stage… Rain was poring down, but we set off into the night, with lights burning into the darkness. Within a mile, the map reading light went out, meaning Anton couldn’t read the pace notes! Anton frantically played with wires until the interior lights came on, now he had to find where we were on the stage and find his place in the notes, a very difficult job.
The next stage was attacked with Anton using a torch which was okay until he tried to turn a page, again he lost his place in the pace notes.
With a run back to service the guys all fell on the car to try and find the problem, a solution was to run an extra wire to feel the lights.
Back out on the stages the problem returned, we would just have to get through Friday evening as it was, and suffer the loss of time.
I also was finding it difficult to read the twisting roads and thought the lights were not illuminating our way. We finished well down the field when we came to the end of the first leg.
Saturday started well we could see!! We started to try and get use to the roads and not make any silly mistakes, it is a long rally with 157 stage miles. We had a better run an Saturday even catching a Ford focus WRC and Subaru Impreza, this must have upset them. We gradually moved back up the field, but were still way down following our problems the previous evening.
The last leg was again running through the night, I had tried to fix the map light, and was hopeful I had found the problem. I also decided to move the outer lights down to try and give me a better view of the road.
On the way to the start I discovered the centre spot light were not working, no wonder I could not see Friday. With only one spare bulb it was “3 lights on my waggon”.
We decided not to do anything silly on the last night, with the lights a bit better and the map light working without an issue we continued to the finish without problems, even catching a car on the last stage.
To our surprise we discovered we had won the historic class this is on the 50th anniversary event and 60 years of the Mini.
We also won the Mini Sport award for best Mini in Class with a £500 bonus!
Here’s some in-car footage from Clive King & Anton Bird on Mull Rally in their 1964 Austin Mini Cooper S:
Words by Clive King, photos by James Officer & Anton Bird
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