Hot on the heels of the recent announcement that long-term sponsors Vent Axia and Kick Energy were to back Paul Bird's works Kawasakis in the 2009 World Superbike Championship, the team has secured another deal with

Launched in October 2008, is part of the NetPlay plc group of companies and the latest brainchild of Martin Higginson, the man behind Bird's long-term association with Monstermob.

After a couple of years away from the sport, the news that PBM had been awarded the official contract to run the works Kawasaki team in WSBK meant Higginson saw an ideal opportunity to re-establish his association with a team that won three British Championships in his colours.

"Martin and I have been friends for years and when he suggested coming on board, I leapt at the chance to work with him again," said Bird. "We haven't even discussed a budget yet but I'm sure that won't be a problem and we hope for this to be another long-term association as when he's with us, he brings us a lot of luck!"

Higginson's association with Bird's team has seen them achieve plenty of milestones: They gave James Toseland his Superbike debut in 2000 on the Demon-backed Vimto Honda and won the British Superbike Championship with both the late Steve Hislop in 2002 and Shane Byrne the following year on the Monstermob Ducatis.

Stuart Easton also sampled British Supersport Championship success, as well as John McGuinness winning a number of TTs and the Macau GP. But perhaps the crowning moment was when Shakey topped the podium twice as a wild-card at Brands Hatch when he beat the best in the World Superbike Championship in 2003 (pictured).

With new workshop facilities built and riders Broc Parkes and Makoto Tamada enjoying a successful test at Almeria last week, before the official WSBK test in Portugal this weekend, anticipation is high for the Cumbrian-based team.

"Paul's team will be a major player in this year's World Superbike Championship so the time was right for us to link up again," said Higginson. "We wanted a professional and successful platform to continue the fantastic growth of our brand and I know Birdy's the man to do that for us in WSBK. I'm delighted to be part of this and along with the other sponsors, I can't wait to go racing."

The first round of the 2009 World Superbike Championship takes place at Phillip Island in Australia on March 1st.



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