Langwathby driver Paul Bird saw his hopes of winning the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship remain intact when he claimed a battling runner-up spot on this weekend’s Patriot Stages Rally.
The former ANCRO National Champion was making his debut on the event and after winning two rounds of the Championship this season by taking victories on the Manx National Rally and ALMC Stages, he was looking for another good result in the MinxFlix.com, Fuchs Titan, Rapid Solicitors and Kick Energy-backed, Pirelli-shod FBP Ford Focus WRC07 he was sharing with Welsh co-driver Aled Davies.
Despite his unfamiliarity of the Caerwent MOD Training Area which hosted the event, Bird took it to the locals despite a pair of time consuming spins on the opening two stages. However, after four stages, the MotoGP and British Superbike Championship team boss was just three seconds behind Peter Lloyd’s Subaru such was his pace.
Bird attacked again on SS5 and once again on the final stage but after clipping a kerb, he lost time and ended up just 14 seconds behind Lloyd to take the championship to the final round of the season with the Cheviot Rally on October 20th. There, on the Otterburn ranges in Northumberland, Bird needs a victory to be guaranteed the crown.
Paul Bird: “I’m disappointed to lose out on the victory as we had some time consuming moments which didn’t help but to come so close to Peter who has so much experience round here is encouraging and sets us up nicely for the final round. I hear Damian Cole goes well up on Otterburn so he’d best be on top of his game at the final round as I’ll be giving it my all to beat him because if I’m to be champion, that’s what I have got to do.”
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Photos by RalliphotosWales