Mini Sport are proud to share this statement from Louise Thomas, the driver of the Mini Sport sponsored Marie Curie rally prepared Rover Mini on Mull.
“It all started with four days and night of recce and bonding with Emily, we had a great time, Emily questioned my notes and she was first class at organizing her office for the coming weekend.
Friday night, the time had arrived for us to leave the start ramp, Wow!! The news was given that we had won the Best Presented Car! I was so delighted because of all the love and hard work that has gone in to this car by Dad, Mini Sport and Tugs Sherrington. As we were counted down to start we had word that 6 cars had gone off the road on only the third bend including Emily’s Dad and that the road conditions were extremely slippy, So talking to myself “This is not going to happen to us we are finishing this rally even if we are last on the road” We got through the first stage and what carnage we negotiated, extremely slippy tarmac with no grip, Mud, large boulders, and other cars off left right and centre. The rest of the night went well, no problems in service, and Dad chasing just in case support was needed, the grip wasn’t great, but to get through the night was the aim and maybe change tyres for Saturday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon, Tyre’s change from 048’s to 539’s and we raised the front adjuster riders, So we were ready to go again, roads still slippy but the mini felt better. We caught a car on stage 8 Knock and stage stage 11 Ensay/Hill road. Stage 9 Mishnish Lochs was interesting to say the least, as we descended downhill after a square right the back end of the Mini swung right out and I was unable to correct it before we were almost on our side in a ditch! We were told there was fuel all over the road, not our fuel thankfully! All I could think was I’ve damaged it we are not getting out of this! Next thing Emily is almost out the window shouting for help to get us out, Next thing we are lifted out by many spectators Yes!! Back on the road and whizzing along again, we then arrived at the next control and I jumped out to check the damage! I could not believe it! Not one mark!! So of we went, Saturday afternoon completed.
Saturday night, final leg, the end was so close but so far! We left Salen, headed down the Glen road to start stage 15 Calgary Bay/LochTuath, we arrived at the control to a delay, Emily booked us in on time as she had at every control, I jumped out the car to stretch the legs and noticed excess water on the ground, So I moved the car to one side and let the cars behind us pass, luckily I had phone reception, phoned Dad, he told me there was a pipe to bypass the radiator in the boot, So I shouted out ” Is there any mechanics about!! Next thing we were surrounded, I believed one guy new what he was doing so Dad spoke to him and it was sorted! Then next thing the sweeper car arrived and told me that we were OTL, I told him we were not! We were in dead time and hadn’t used are lateness plus the stage maximum! Then my Rottweiler of a Co-driver jumped in front of me and told the guy that we were doing this stage!! We were finishing this rally!! And we are not late!!! He replied well I’ve got to open this road in two minutes so you need to go now! So we jumped in and we were waved through the Start, of we went, Emily then said “we haven’t got a start time! It’s ok I’ll make it up!” She said she had the foresight to write the time down as we went through the start line, next thing we were yellow flagged, we caught up with other competitors on the road and before we arrived at the stop line Emily changed her pen from blue to black and we were given a finish time enabling us to continue, the stage was cancelled and we a got a nominal time but Emily was a star!!!! We were not OTL we hadn’t done anything wrong but if we had she was covering our tracks!!
The final stage and a big hold up after I believe Doug Weir went off! We both found it difficult to stay awake as it was now 4am, but I got Emily to sing to me, we danced in the Mini so we wouldn’t fall asleep, the marshals must have thought we were mad! But we didn’t care! We were finishing the rally!! And we did!! Ye Ha!!!!!! We had the best time ever!! A dream comes true! The support, encouragement, waves and cheers from start to finish of the rally was Fantastic!!! Here come the girls! Is what we could hear. So Many people to thank, My Dad Dave Thomas, Alistair Scarlett, Zak Hancock and Sam Scarlett Emily’s Parents Claire Easton-Page, Martin Page, Tugs Sherrington and Douglas Ingram, Mini Sport, Cara Mini Sport, Allan Whittaker, Nicky Grist, Deeside Classic Campers Ltd, Rallytech, Mull Rally, Marshals, Radio crews, Doctors, Rescue and recovery, and spectators, we couldn’t have done it without you All!!! Congratulations to John Maccrone and Stuart Loudon, Calum and Iain Duffy, Simon Proud and Fiona Boa and all who finished, Commiserations to those who didn’t. Thank you all!“