Langwathby driver Paul Bird thrust himself right back into contention for the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship with a stunning victory on the Dublin-based ALMC Stages Rally in Ireland this weekend.
Driving the MinxFlix.com, Fuchs Titan, Rapid Solicitors and Kick Energy-backed, Pirelli-shod FBP Ford Focus WRC07, Bird followed up his narrow victory on the Manx National Rally back in May with an even more dramatic win around the classic Irish lanes despite it being his debut on the event.
Along with Welsh co-driver Aled Davies, the pair were embroiled in a day long battle with the leading British and Irish crews and for the most part, were holding literally a one second advantage over former champion Damian Cole going into the final stage.
But in the self-confessed drive of his life, the Cumbrian MotoGP and British Superbike team owner, who won the ANCRO National Rally Championship in 2005, scorched through the last stage to arrive at the finish some six seconds to the good to kick start his title campaign after missing the previous round en route to winning SOL Rally Barbados.
Paul Bird: “I said after the Manx it was the hardest I had to drive but that was a stroll in the park compared to what I had to do here. I was prepared to risk it all on the last stage and I was taking bits off the car but I was determined to win. Well done to Damian, he pushed me all the way and I had to drive the best I ever have done to fend him off so fair play to him. But I’m here to win the championship and that’s two victories and a podium in the three events I’ve contested so with dropped scores to come into play, I’m feeling very confident. I’m delighted to add to Shakey Byrne’s BSB victory for Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki in BSB at Snetterton today but more importantly, my little girl Lexi started to learn to ride her bike this week and I promised her if she did, I’d win for her so how can a dad not keep his promise?”
Bird’s next outing in the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship is on the Mewla Rally on Sunday 25th August.
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1 Paul Bird/Aled Davies – Ford Focus WRC 07 – 55.00
2 Damian Cole/James Morgan – Ford Focus WRC 05 – 55:06
3 Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh – Subaru Impreza WRC – 55:21
4 Hugh Hunter/Andy Marchbank – Subaru Impreza WRC – 55:49
5 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr – Subaru WRC – 56:27
6 Graham Coffey/Elliott Edmondson – Subaru Impreza S12B WRC – 57:18
Pictures courtesy of Wayne Goldring & James Burke