Knockhill in Scotland was the venue for round seven of the MSA F4 British Championship whereby Frank Bird continued his great mid-season form to score points for a third successive meeting.
After a superb performance to score a top ten finish at Croft back in June which he then repeated at Snetterton last month, the Penrith-born 16-year-old was in confident mood travelling to the Fife racetrack but the weekend wasn’t without its problems.
Mixed weather conditions threatened to disrupt plans but Frank showed good pace during Friday’s test session in the Be Wiser, Hager and Frank Bird Poultry-backed Fortec Motorsport car but it was in Saturday’s qualifying that he upped the ante.
An inspired decision to pit for dry tyres as the track rapidly dried out proved beneficial as Frank ended up qualifying in sixth place whereby his grid position was bolstered by penalties to two other drivers meaning a career-best row two start for Saturday’s opening 20-minute race.
Any hopes of a good result were dashed, however, when he made a mistake in the early stages before his race ended in the gravel trap but it was in race two on Sunday morning which saw him continue his great run of form. A steady start saw Frank gradually make his way up to tenth where he remained to cross the line and score another valuable point.
With confidence again high for the final race, Frank was pushing hard when he made contact with another car late in the race which damaged the front wing and resulted in him finishing in 14th place to end a dramatic weekend.
Frank now turns his attention to the next round which takes place at Rockingham in two weeks’ time whereby he’s looking to improve on his hat-trick of tenth places.
Frank Bird: “On Friday the pace looked good in both dry and wet conditions, which was good because normally the wet conditions aren't my favourite. Qualifying on Saturday started wet but it was drying up rapidly throughout the session, so the team and I made the decision to pit for slick tyres, which was a gamble because there was only a small dry line and only five minutes left on the clock. When I left pit lane I knew it was the right choice because the dry line was getting wider each lap so the gamble paid off and I managed to qualify sixth. For race one, I ended up starting in P4, as two other drivers had penalties, but the race didn't get off to the best start with me making a mistakeon the first lap and dropping a number of positions. Another mistake came a few laps later meaning I had to retire from the race beached in the gravel trap. Race two saw me start in 13th from where I got a good start and had a strong battle all the way through the race to finish in 10th for another points scoring position. In race three, I started in 14th and got another good start where I was enjoying another strong battle through the race. Sadly, I made a small mistake two laps from the end and damaged my front wing but managed to bring the car home in 14th. Now I’m looking forward to Rockingham in two weeks’ time to try to score some more points.”
Image courtesy of MP Photographic: Frank Bird in action at Knockhill