Lake District-based Paul Bird Motorsport are set for a busy time of it this forthcoming weekend which will see Paul Bird’s various teams in action on both two and four wheels.
Brands Hatch is the venue for the second round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship and sees the Be Wiser Ducati Racing Team continue their title defence following a podium finish at the opening round at Donington Park over Easter.
There, in the cold and wet conditions, reigning champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne posted a second and fifth place finish to hold second in the standings aboard the factory-backed Be Wiser Ducati Panigale R coming into his local round. London-born Byrne, who now lives in Sittingbourne, has won a record seven times around the shorter Indy track and is hoping to add to his tally in the two races this weekend.
Be Wiser Ducati team-mate Glenn Irwin also scored solid points at Donington Park despite a crash in practice which required hospital treatment and holds sixth place in the early championship table. The Carrickfergus, County Antrim rider goes in search of his first podiums of the season over the two, 30-lap races around the Kent track.
Meanwhile, team boss Paul Bird will be in action at round two of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series which comprises the Rallynuts Stages based at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells. Along with Geordie co-driver Jack Morton, the pair lead the series following maximum points in the opening round in their Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC08, with backing from Frank Bird Poultry, Be Wiser Insurance, Hager, Fuchs Titan Race and Loco Energy Drink.
Bird, from Langwathby village, was disappointed when his local round, the Malcolm Wilson Rally, was postponed due to inclement weather last month but hopes for a good run over 45 stage miles in the forests of Mid Wales on Saturday.
Also in action will be Cumbrian-born teenager Frank Bird who gets his challenge underway in the Formula Renault Eurocup at Paul Ricard in the south of France. The 18 year old, originally from Penrith, has this year signed for the Toulouse-based Tech 1 Team in the Be Wiser Insurance, Hager, Loco Energy Drink and Frank Bird Poultry-backed car.
Frank has shown great pace in testing over the past few weeks as well as being part of the class winning team at the 24 Hours of Dubai sportscar race over winter so is hoping for a positive start to the new season.
Shane Byrne: “It was job done at Donington Park over Easter and I was happy with two solid results in very difficult conditions. There is no point crashing or trying too hard, it’s all about scoring points in these first few races but if the win is possible, then I’ll take it. I always love racing at my local track of Brands Hatch as the support is amazing so hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer. The pressure is on as Birdy is competing also this weekend and he always tries to lead by example, so if he wins on Saturday, he’ll expect the same of me for sure on Sunday!”
Glenn Irwin: “It’s nice heading to Brands Hatch and looking at the forecast and not seeing freezing temperatures. I believe the Be Wiser Ducati was hindered more so at Donington than others in the cold weather as we weren’t able to push the front as we wanted which caused us to lose a lot of heat in the tyres. I intend to do at Brands Hatch what I believe I have shown in testing and that’s to run at the front and see if we can get on the podium. Good luck to Paul and Frank competing this weekend also, hopefully we can all get some good results for PBM.”
There is live action on Eurosport and on the Eurosport player throughout the weekend with Datatag Qualifying on Saturday from 16.00 and the Bennetts BSB races live on Sunday at 13.30 and 16.30. For further information, please visit the team’s new and updated website, www.pbmuk.net and the official website of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship www.britishsuperbike.com.
Pictures (courtesy of Double Red Photographic/Dutch Photographic Agency). Top to bottom: Shane Byrne, Glenn Irwin, Paul Bird & Frank Bird.
Notes to Editors:
Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) are winners of over 180 races in British Superbike Championship, MotoGP CRT, World Superbike Championship, 125cc, 250cc, Supersport British Championships, Superstock National Championships, Isle of Man TT, North West 200, Daytona, Macau GP, and British domestic races. Points scorers in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc GPs. Points scorers in World Supersport, podium finishers in WSB, Superpole winners in World Superbike. They are based at Langwathby near Penrith in Cumbria.