After dominating the opening round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship with MSVR at Oulton Park a month ago only to retire when leading, Penrith-born rally driver Frank Bird made amends in sensational fashion by taking a comprehensive victory on today’s Cobble Shop Knockhill Stages Rally which comprised round three of the series.
After missing round two at Cadwell Park last month whilst on duty at the Macau Grand Prix with dad Paul’s PBM Ducati Superbike team, the 20-year-old Cumbrian, along with Hexham co-driver Jack Morton in the Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC07, with backing from Frank Bird Poultry, Hager and PBM, made no mistakes to win by over a minute despite the wet conditions at the Fife race circuit.
Fastest by eight seconds on the opening stage, Frank doubled his advantage on SS2 and extended it to 20 seconds following the third stage before dropping three seconds going into the lunchtime halt. It was the only time he was bettered all day long such was his supremacy, winning seven of the eight stages.
Bird continued to build his lead into the afternoon stages and on SS5 was a massive 13 seconds quicker than his nearest rival which he increased to 42 seconds after SS6 and then 57 seconds after the penultimate stage. There was to be no resting on his laurels and Frank went fastest on SS8 to record the victory by 75 seconds at the finish ramp.
The result means Frank is back in contention for the title with the next round at Brands Hatch in Januarybut in the meantime, he plans to contest this next weekend’s Swift Signs Christmas Stages Rally at Croft Circuit (15th December) where he will be up against a quality field including eight-times winner Kevin Procter.
Frank Bird: “I'm really happy to get the win today in horrendous conditions. It wasn't the smoothest of days and we had a couple of issues and I made a few mistakes but overall I'm really happy with how I drove. Thanks to Jack who was mega on the notes, all the Buckley boys who prepared a great car and stood out all day in the awful weather. A massive thanks to dad and all our sponsors. It's now on to the Christmas Stages next week at Croft."
Pictures courtesy of Gavin Brown of West Coast Photos/SMJ Photography.