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Cumbrian driver Frank Bird was back in rally action this weekend where he once again took on some of the best drivers in the country as he swept to victory on the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally.

Utilising the sealed roads of the Otterburn military range in Northumberland and comprising the final round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, the 22-year-old from Penrith led from start to finish to emerge over half a minute clear of his nearest rival after 60 miles of stages.

Frank has done very little rallying this year due to his commitments in the Fanatec GT World Cup Europe Sprint and Endurance Championships at the wheel of the Team WRT Audi R8 LMS and this was the first time competing in an asphalt rally since May.

Along with Lake District-based co-driver Jack Morton, the pair were having their first outing in the recently acquired Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared and Frank Bird Poultry-backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 as the pair took on the sport’s established stars whilst leading from start to finish.

The opening stage saw Bird quickest by three seconds whereby he maintained the lead after SS2 despite dropping time and the advantage was increased on the next two stages to hold a 17 second lead after four stages.

The pair continued to build their advantage and after eight stages, it stood at 22 seconds and just for good measure, Bird was quickest on the remaining four tests to emerge victorious by 31 seconds over Scottish crew Gordon Morrison and co-driver Hannah McKillop (Ford Fiesta R5) who were two seconds ahead of Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke (Ford Focus WRC).

Frank Bird: “I’d have been happy with a podium all things considered so I’m a little bit surprised to take the win, especially given the quality of the opposition. It was our first time out in the car, and it ran faultlessly so thanks to the team for another great job. The only problem we had was a half spin on SS7 where we dropped around ten seconds on a chicane but apart from that, we had a great run. Thanks to Jack for a great job on the notes and of course my dad and our sponsors. It was good to be back out again in the rally car and look forward to our next event at Oulton Park next month.”

Results – Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally, Otterburn

1 Frank Bird/Jack Morton (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 52 mins 38 secs
2 Gordon Morrison/ Hannah McKillop (Ford Fiesta R5) + 31 seconds
3 Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke (Ford Focus WRC) + 33 seconds
4 Neil Roskell/John Cope (Ford Fiesta R5) + 44 seconds
5 John Stone/Tom Woodburn (VW Polo GTI R5) + 1 min 14 secs
6 Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta R5) + 2 mins 16 secs
7 Kevin Procter/Peter Gibson (Ford Fiesta) + 2 mins 37 secs
8 Joe Cunningham/Josh Beer (Ford Fiesta) + 2 mins 40 secs
9 Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Ford Escort Mk2) + 2 mins 41 secs
10 Richard Clews/Carl Williamson (Subaru Impreza STI) + 2 mins 28 secs

Pictures courtesy of James Ward, Chicane Media Photography

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