Bird unable to fly as Wise wins snow-covered Jack Frost Stages

Paul Bird and Kirsty Riddick in action before retiring from the Jack Frost Stages Rally (picture credit Marcus Andrews)
Paul Bird and Kirsty Riddick in action before retiring from the Jack Frost Stages Rally (picture credit Marcus Andrews)

Thirsk rally driver Chris Wise and co-driver Tracey Taylor West were the winners of Sunday’s snow-bound Jack Frost Stages Rally, held by Darlington and District Motor Club at Croft Circuit.

Securing first place in their MG Metro, the pair were victorious in a total time of one hour 10 minutes and 51 seconds.

Runners-up were Simon Chapman and Michael Calvert in their MG Metro (1-15.10) while Dave Horbrook and Carlin Howell were third in 1-15.43 in their Mitsubishi Evo.

Paul Swift and David Cox tok their Ford Escort to fourth place (1-16.04).

Joe Cunningham and Daniel Kennedy rounded off the top five in a time of 1-16.07 in their Peugeot 106.

Rally driver Paul Bird’s audacious bid to win the Autogas 2000 Jack Frost Stages Rally for a fifth successive time came to an unfortunate end when circumstances conspired against him.

With hard-packed ice and snow greeting competitors, the former National Rally Champion was seeded at number one and first on the road in the Fuchs Titan, Rapid Solicitors and Kick Energy-backed Frank Bird Poultry Ford Focus WRC07, but an incorrect choice of ice tyre saw Bird effectively end his bid.

The Dom Buckley Motorsport team set to work to change the settings on the car and with more suitable tyres for the second stage, the MotoGP and BSB Superbike team boss was back at the sharp end with a top ten time around the Yorkshire race circuit.Thinking about another herculean recovery drive akin to his one on the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally last year, Bird, was all set to make up the time loss.But as the crew went to leave for SS3, Scottish co-driver, Kirsty Riddick, suffered a freak injury when she trapped her finger in the door as a crew member closed it.

While Kirsty wanted to continue, Paul realised the injury was quite serious so immediately withdrew.

Bird said: “Once again, we’ve had no luck and that’s three rallies on the trot I’ve not got to the finish.

“I made a wrong tyre choice on the first stage so that was my fault but we were game to have a go and make up as much time as possible on the remainder of the rally.

“But Kirsty reached up to adjust something and someone accidentally closed the door which trapped her finger

““We’ll try again in Blackpool next month and hope our luck changes for the better soon.”