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Following on from their victory on the same event last year last year, Cumbrian driver Frank Bird and Northumberland co-driver Jack Morton successfully defended their title by taking a comprehensive win on today’s Salford Van Hire Neil Howard Stages Rally held at Oulton Park.

With another top-quality entry, there was plenty of opposition for the Penrith-born driver and his Hexham navigator around the Cheshire racetrack but despite the tricky conditions, Frank led from start to finish in the Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally2.

The pair started the fireworks early after stopping the clocks 12 seconds faster than their nearest rival on the opening stage and upped the advantage to 21 seconds after SS2. By the halfway point of SS4. They had the Frank Bird Poultry-backed Ford Fiesta with assistance from Hager, MCE, Dragon Energy and Mac Tools some 33 seconds ahead.

The afternoon stages followed a similar pattern and Bird managed the lead to eventually cross the winning ramp 67 seconds ahead of triple winner Steve Simpson/Chris Williams in a similar car with another three-times winner of the event, Kevin Procter and co-driver Laura Connell claiming third in their Ford Fiesta S2000T, as Frank won six of the eight stages.

The victory followed Frank’s recent victory on his debut at the Roberts Garages Jersey Rally and his next outing is later this month when he hopes to defend another title, this one being the Swift Signs and Shirts Winter Stages Rally at Croft.

Frank Bird: “Another great day back at Oulton Park for the Neil Howard Stages which saw us come out on top and defend our title. Conditions were pretty tricky all day so once we got in the groove of things, we just kept it neat and tidy with no risk and brought it back for the win. The car felt great all day so thanks to the Dom Buckley team and to Jack for an excellent job as normal. As ever, a massive thanks to my dad and our sponsors, we look forward to continuing our good recent form at Croft in three weeks’ time.”

Pictures attached copyright free, courtesy of Andy Ellis Photography.

For further information, please visit the team website, which is in the process of being updated for the 2023 season:

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