Cumbrian rally driver Paul Bird continued where he left off last time after he followed up victory on the Nicky Grist Stages Rally last month with a second successive victory on this weekend's Woodpecker Stages to thrust himself once again back into contention in the 2014 REIS BTRDA Rally Series.
After a second place on the opening Wyedean Rally followed by a win on his local Malcolm Wilson Rally for a record-equalling fourth time, the British Superbike and MotoGP team boss from Langwathby near Penrith bounced back on the Nicky Grist Stages Rally after a run of bad luck had put paid to his chances on recent events.
With his chances of championship success rekindled, Bird and Welsh co-driver Aled Davies arrived at the start of round seven in their Rubis Petroleum, Cockspur Rum, Fuchs Titan Race and Mac Tools-backed and Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC07 hoping for further success.
The 2005 National Champion made his intentions clear from the start and after setting the fastest time on the opening stage by seven seconds; he doubled his lead on the next test before relinquishing a handful of seconds on SS3 to friend and rival Steve Perez following a stall.
It was the only blip in what was an almost perfect performance and Bird rammed home his advantage with fastest time on the remaining three stages to arrive back at the Ludlow finish 27 seconds ahead of Perez.
Having not contested two BTRDA rounds due to other commitments, the result means Bird is up to fifth in the standings but with dropped scores still a factor meaning the championship is still wide open going into the next round in Yorkshire with the Trackrod Stages.
Paul Bird: "It's a busy weekend for us what with my team racing at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and me competing on the Woodpecker so hopefully I've given the boys some inspiration! I had a couple of stalls which cost me time but I'm pleased with the result and it's always good to beat Steve! The championship is still within our grasp so I'll hopefully be able to keep this run of wins going."
1. Paul Bird/Aled Davies - Ford Focus 07 WRC - 0:41:33
2. Steve Perez/Paul Spooner - Ford Focus - 0:42:00
3. Luke Francis/John H Roberts - Mitsubishi Evo IX - 0:42:32
4. David Weston/Kirsty Riddick - Subaru Impreza WRC - 0:42:34
5. Alex Allingham/Chris Williams - Subaru Impreza N10 - 0:43:35
6. Jamie Anderson/Jon Scott - Mitsubishi Evo IX - 0:43:38
Image attached courtesy of Stuart Woodier www.rallyaction.co.uk: Paul Bird and Aled Davies on their way to victory on the Woodpecker Rally