Local driver Frank Bird was runner-up in a Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship race at Cadwell Park yesterday (April 7).
The exciting 19 year-old talent from Nassington continued his meteoric rise when he claimed second spot in the TJS Self Drive Alan Healy Memorial Cadwell Park Stages Rally which was also the final round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship with MSVR.
Bird, along with Hexham co-driver Jack Morton in the Dom Buckley Motorsport/IRS-prepared Ford Focus WRC07, with backing from Frank Bird Poultry, Be Wiser Insurance, Fuchs Silkolene, PBM and Hager, were hoping to add to the win they recorded in last month’s Lee Holland Memorial Rally 2019 at Anglesey.
Hopes were high when Bird set fastest time by six seconds on SS1 at the Lincolnshire track but on SS2 he dropped over 30 seconds with one of many stalls due to a handbrake issue which was ultimately to prove costly. Bird was quickest on the next three stages to move up to second, but more time was lost on SS6 and they dropped down to third again.
But in typical fashion, Bird set about closing the gap and with fastest time on the final three stages, he managed to climb up to second place overall ahead of series rival Peter Smith (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) and at the finish, had closed to within 17 seconds of winner and 2019 champion Chris West (Peugeot 306 Maxi Kit Car).
That means in three rallies, Bird has finished first, second and third to bump himself up the order to third in class D2 in the series having only contested the three events.
Bird said: “The rally started off well and we ended up winning every stage apart from two. On the two stages we weren’t fastest, we had a small issue with the handbrake causing us to stall a number of times. That put us out of contention for the win, which was a shame, but we showed great pace all day to get back up to second overall.
“The car was feeling mega and once again thanks to Jack who was brilliant on the maps, the team, my dad and our sponsors.”
Bird now turns his attention to that opening round of the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup which gets underway at Monza in Italy next weekend.
1 Chris West/Keith Hounslow, Peugeot 306 Maxi Kit Car, 44:32
2 Frank Bird/Jack Morton, Ford Focus 07 WRC, +17
3 Peter Smith/Patrick Walsh, Ford Fiesta RS WRC, +18
4 John Griffiths/Nigel Wetton, Subaru Impreza, +2:19
5 Stephen Tilburn/Jack Tilburn, Ford Escort, +2:21
6 Ciro Carannante/Simon Coates, Porsche Cayman, +2.21
7 Mike Taylor/Martin Haggett, Talbot Lotus Sunbeam, +2:24
8 Peter Stephenson/Tony Jones, Subaru P2000 WRC, +2:43
9 Mike Bayliss/Sam Bailey, BMW Compact M3, +3:08
10 Nigel Mummery/Fiona Scarrett, Ford Focus WRC, +3:22