Bolton-le-Sands rally driver Dave Edwards is completing preparations for his annual battle with the tight and tricky roads of the Isle of Mull where he will contest the Mull Rally for the third time in early October.
The event, which has been held on the island for 40 years, is one of the toughest in the UK with a lot of the competition taking place through the night. All the rally stages are on closed public roads which are very testing in the dry and treacherous in the wet.
Edwards has finished the event on the two occasions he has competed, gaining valuable experience and confidence with every mile. In 2009 he finished a brilliant 47th from a start number of 145 and his aim this year is to finish even higher up the leaderboard.
Although he will use the same Vauxhall Astra GSi as previously Edwards will have a new co-driver for the event. Regular co-driver Rachel Medich is acting as Team Manager this year with Brampton’s Caroline Lodge taking up the navigator role. Lodge is a very experienced co-driver but, although she has attended the rally many times, she has never competed on Mull.
"It’s going to take a while to get used to a new co-driver," said Edwards. "You cannot take any risks on the Mull roads so we’ll take our time and get into the swing of things. We’re both a bit apprehensive but I’m sure once we get started it’ll be fine."
Edwards and his team have made several changes to the car from last year. A dog box has been fitted and a new exhaust system together with some rewiring after a nasty experience on the 2009 event when all the lights went out after a heavy landing. The car has been lightened too which should give it some extra speed.
"I’m hoping for a dry event so that I can make use of the car’s extra speed but the weather on Mull never goes to plan, you can start of a stage in dry conditions and it can be torrential rain within a few miles. Choosing the correct tyres is very difficult. Hopefully the rewiring will avoid a repeat of last year's incident with the lights, I definitely don't want to experience that again!"
With just over two weeks to go to the event Edwards is busy making arrangements for his chase car and service crew.
"We have service breaks in the middle of the night so we have to sort out proper lighting for the service crew. The crew are a vital part of the team and I’m very fortunate to have a top notch experienced bunch of guys to help us fix anything that goes wrong."
"At the moment I'm feeling a mix of worry and excitement, doing the rally is a huge challenge but I'm confident that all the team are very much up for it."
Edwards is looking for company sponsorship for his Mull challenge and interested companies are invited to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team are planning to provide live reports of their progress on the event with updates hopefully being available on www.mudmagnetrallying.co.uk and www.twitter.com/mulldaves throughout the rally.