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Well done to local man John MacCrone who has won the 2016 Mull Rally. ... See MoreSee Less

MacCRONE WINS EMOTIONAL BEATSON’S MULL RALLY Twelve months after being involved in the terrible crash which claimed the life of his close friend and co-driver, Andy Mort, John MacCrone claimed an emotional win in the Beatson’s Mull Rally. The Dervaig driver, piloting his Ford Fiesta R5, and reunited with co-driver Stuart Loudon, with whom he took victory in 2013, won a thrilling battle with his old rival, nine-time winner Calum Duffy. The pair were separated by just 18-seconds as they entered the final 15-mile test at Glen Aros/Calgary Bay, in the pitch black of the Inner Hebridean island, at 1.24am. As the two drivers strived to shave every second they could off their time, it was Duffy who topped the timesheet, stopping the clock in 13mins 16secs. In an incredible finish, MacCrone was slower, managing 13m24s, but the gap was enough to ensure he took the win by just 10s, at the end of 18 stages and a dramatic 160 miles. MacCrone, understandably, was overcome by the emotion of the victory, sitting in his Fiesta with his head in his hands, being comforted by Loudon, for minutes after they had crossed the finish line. And after being comforted further by family and team members, MacCrone emerged from the car to first be hugged by Duffy, and then dedicate the win to Andy. “It’s been a difficult year for me,” he said, fighting to control his voice, and glancing at the tribute, ‘Morty’, on his car. “This win’s for Andrew; that’s all that’s on my mind at the moment. I’m happy to have done it for him.” To come back to contest the rally again, just a year after the high profile crash — and with the weight on his shoulders — MacCrone showed his strength of character. To win it was, perhaps, destiny. MacCrone had led the rally from the opening test, the 6.77-miler at Mishnish Lochs, when he was 5s quicker than Duffy. By the end of the opening five stages, fought out in the dark and in changeable weather conditions, MacCrone had increased the gap to 45s. The core of the rally was fought in daylight, through Saturday afternoon. Nine stages saw Duffy narrowly close the gap to 36s, as driving rain made tyre choice for the 150-car field crucially important. But just as MacCrone thought he possibly was in complete control of the rally, there was another cruel twist on the opening stage of the closing four tests. As the autumn darkness shrouded the island, he emerged from SS15 — the 21.89-miler at Calgary Bay, and the longest of the rally — believing his bid to win had gone. “We’ve broken a driveshaft six miles from the end of the stage: we need to go and get it replaced,” he stated, before heading off into the darkness. With only 16-minutes to the start of the next stage at Ben More, MacCrone’s crew fitted a new driveshaft at the side of the road in three-minutes. It was ‘game on’. At the end of SS15, his lead was down to 22s. Another 4s evaporated over the next two stages before he entered the nailbiting and dramatic finale. Duffy meanwhile was magnanimous in defeat, praising the strength and character of his friend. “Mull is a close family, and we all know what John has gone through over the last 12 months,” he said. “Of course I wanted to win the rally, but perhaps the year it was meant for John, and who am I to question that. “I cooked four tyres in the final stage, because I was really going for it,” Duffy, piloting his bespoke Skoda S2500 on the island for the first time, laughed. “We had a clean enough run through the stage, but our tyres were off, but we did the best with what we had.” Irishman Derek McGeehan from Draperston, driving his Mini WRC, took his first podium by finishing third. But such was the pace of the Dervaig duo that he finished 8m 43s behind Duffy. Earlier in the day, five-times Scottish rally champ David Bogie had looked on for a podium on his Mull debut. But a combination of the treacherous conditions and broken wiper motor saw him drop back to fourth. Worse though was to follow when, early in SS15, he went off in his MkII Ford Escort and was forced to retire. There was disappointment too for Paul Mackinnon, many people’s pre-event favourite. After dropping almost 7mins on the opening stage, when he went off his his Subaru Impreza, the Tobermory driver set a series of fastest stage times. His fightback though ended on SS7 at Loch Kinloch when he spun his Impreza, blocking the stage and causing a 35min stoppage. And while the top five was complete by the Subaru Impreza of Shaun Sinclair from Connel, and Huddersfield’s matt Tarbutt in another Impreza, the fight for the final five places were covered by just 23s. Jim McGill BEATSON’S MULL RALLY — Result (Provisional): 1. John MacCrone (Dervaig)/Stuart Loudon (Uddingston) Ford Fiesta R5 2hrs 19mins 32secs; 2. Calum Duffy (Dervaig)/Iain Duffy (Dervaig), Skoda Fabia S2500 +0.10s; 3. Derek McGeehan (Draperstown)/Arthur Kierans (Monaghan) Mini WRC +8.53; 4. Shaun Sinclair (Connel)/Neil Shanks (Elgin) Subaru Impreza S9 WRC +11.32; 5. Matt Tarbutt (Huddersfield)/Joff Haigh (Huddersfield) Subaru Impreza +14.51; 6. Alan Gardiner (Biggar)/Jane Nicol Ford Escort MkI 19.40 7. Donnie MacDonald (Inverness)/Ashleigh Will (Kintore) Mitsubishi Evo IX 19.45 8. Chris Haigh (Helperby)/Sally Peacock (Helperby) Ford Escort 19.48 9. John Rintoul (Largo)/Ross Hynd (Irvine) Hyundai Accent 19.51 10. John Cressy (Long Preston)/Martin Cressy (Long Preston) BMW Mini 20.03 Photo copyright of Lindsay Photo Sport

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Isle of Mull shared Ardnamurchan Tourist Association's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

From your holiday base on Ardnamurchan you can easily reach Mull from a number of routes. One such route is Caledonian MacBrayne ferry Lochaline to Fishnish, which does not need booking. And if you're early, enjoy a cuppa from the wee cafe on the harbour and take in the views. (Photo: © Dennis Hardley Photography - Scotland)

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