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Apr 13, 2014 - 05:35 PM
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Somerset Despair For Dominant Bird
Posted by: newsla on Apr 13, 2014 - 05:34 PM
Somerset Despair For Dominant Bird

Cumbrian rally driver Paul Bird saw his fantastic start to the 2014 season come to a shuddering halt when he was forced to retire from this weekend's Betta Somerset Stages Rally within sight of the finish.


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Leading the 2014 REIS BTRDA Rally Series going into the third round following victory on his home Malcolm Wilson Rally last month, Bird and Welsh co driver Aled Davies set the pace from the start in their FBP, Fuchs Titan, Rapid Solicitors and Mac Tools-backed and Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC07.

Quickest on both runs up Porlock Toll Road, the 2005 National champion held a ten second advantage which he increased to 17 seconds on the next two gravel stages before arriving back at the half way service 13 seconds to the good ahead of friend and rival Steve Perez's similar car.

The British Superbike and MotoGP team boss from Langwathby near Penrith, who missed a trip to Texas with his MotoGP team in order to compete in Somerset, continued to build his lead but it was on stage ten out of twelve that disaster struck when a drive shaft broke sending them into a ditch and with it retirement.

Up until then, Bird had won eight of the nine stages and was well in command some 16 seconds ahead but it counted for nothing and the result means he has dropped to fourth in the overall standings.

Paul Bird: "I'm absolutely gutted as we were flying and on for the win. I had plenty in reserve but you can't legislate for parts breaking and that's the nature of the sport. We really needed a strong finish here as dropped scores could be the key and with my other commitments coming up, I need all the points I can get which is why I decided to come here rather than be with my MotoGP team in Texas. For once, Lexi's crocodile didn't do the trick but we'll bounce back and try to put things right next time out. Well done to my old mate Steve Perez on the win and I look forward to getting my revenge!"

Now sees the start of a busy period for Paul Bird Motorsport with his MotoGP team racing in Texas later today before the MCE British Superbike Championship gets underway at Easter at Brands Hatch. Thereafter it's the Manx National Rally which Bird has won three times flying out to Sol Rally Barbados to attempt a third successive victory in the Caribbean.

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