MonsterMob Ducati superbike team boss Paul Bird was left cursing his luck once again as for the fourth successive event, he failed to see the finish ramp, this time on the Plains Rally based in Welshpool and comprising the penultimate round of the BTRDA Championship.

After two fruitless sorties to the Isle of Man over the summer and a retirement on the Astra Stages in North Wales earlier in the year, Bird was hoping for a change of fortune in his newly acquired ex factory Hyundai Accent WRC Evo 3.5 upon his return to gravel but despite impressing early on, a gearbox problem coupled with a small fire curtailed his and co driver Larry Carter's progress on SS3.

Up until that point, Bird had surprised most onlookers by leading the event overall after a stunning time on SS1 turned out to be fastest but along with half a dozen other competitors, they beat the bogey time meaning all were awarded the stage minimum.

Despite that minor setback, Bird continued his assault on the leaderboard to top the time sheets on SS2 also as he led the 180 strong entry into the first of the Dovey Forest tests. But his bid for glory ended when the gearbox broke exiting a hairpin just a couple of miles from the end of the stage at the same time as the exhaust torched the rear bumper causing a minor fire which the crew, aided by following competitor Mick Jones who stopped to render assistance, soon had under control.

"I can't believe my luck yet again. The car was awesome and to be honest, we weren't trying that hard yet the times we were setting seemed competitive. We just need a slice of good fortune and we'll be right up there," vowed the Penrith businessman who hopes to have the car repaired in time to display at the final round of the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park next weekend, as part of his championship winning celebrations.

Bird's and Carter's next event is the Bulldog Rally based in Newtown on October 18th which forms the final round of the Kumho Tyres National Rally Championship.

Picture credit: MVG Photographic.



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