Continuing to introduce you to the drivers and co-drivers in our 2017 Mini Sport Mini Cup, and following on from Andy Walkingshaw, Ray Cunningham, Louise Thomas, Rhodri Owen Roberts, Jim Brindle, Andrew O’Hanlon, Clive King and Jack Hartley, we have Anton Bird!
We have something a little different for you this week to go with Anton’s profile card, a write up from Anton himself! Check out what Anton has to say about his rallying career below:
Started as I think we all did in those days in road rallying, a steep learning curve then nine years of sport in the lanes and got proficient on the maps and time cards. Started with a Mk1 self prepared Mexico with my cousin in late 1978 and progressed in a succession of Escorts, Chevettes and Sunbeams etc but never a Mini.
I was fortunate enough to have been able to take part for a number of years in the “Motoring News” road rally championship, see books by Mick Bryant. It truly was an amazing time for the sport.
I had wanted for a while to get into stage rallying and was lucky to have friends who had some great cars, started off in single venue stuff and quickly got involved in forest and tarmac rallying with a number of drivers in various championships.
Anton Bird photographed here with driver Clive King, and Mini Sport’s Rob Eastwood and Michael Anderson.
This led to opportunities to co drive in the in the Shell Oils British Rally Championship for nearly ten years in all of the top UK events, Mintex, then Cartel, Welsh, Scottish, Circuit of Ireland, Ulstrer etc… And my favourite The Manx. On top of this a number of events in the Belgian Tarmac championship and six RAC rallies, the proper ones. This all started in an ex works Lotus Sunbeam, bit quick that was, my first trip over Epynt was in this car, focused the attention to say the least. This was followed by many rallies in various works built Grp A Peugeot 205`s. owned by two drivers in top UK events for many years. Yes I got lucky…
Had a couple of years off to at least see some of my daughter grow up, inevitably had to get back to it, met up with Paul Kendrick and rallied for many years with him in his Lotus Twin cam Sunbeam, we had some serious success in this car, taking second o/all in the BTRDA tarmac championship in 2007 against some very serious machinery, Subarus, Mitsies etc. some feat for an old car… reliability was the key, 13 big events finished on the trot.
Now this relationship led me to Mini`s, never having really been a fan, but am now fully converted, in 2008 Paul borrowed a Cooper S and we did the HRCR Mini 50 championship and against all the odds won it… Yes we even beat Clive…
Paul then gave the Mini back sold the Sunbeam and started to build a Mexico, used it shelved it and started to rebuild it with a BDA engine, this was six years ago, it might appear one day! What was I to do?…
It was not long before I got the invite from Clive to co drive, we had been friends for years anyway, now our third year together, we get on well as we are both “Black Country Boys” so we understand each other and have the same stupid sense of humor! I think we certainly have done some winning over the last two years and were far from finished… The run on the 2015 RAC rally with the free entry was a massive highlight, I have been with many drivers over the years but believe me, Clive is certainly without any doubt one of the very best… But we could do with a bit of luck on the Manx if you can fix it.
Won loads over the years Road & Stage, but I think that class win on the 2015 Wales Rally GB in all the terrible weather and atrocious road conditions has to be one of the highlights & of course winning Mini Sport Mini Cup now three times… I can say I really am a converted Mini fan and have made some super friends amongst the Mini gang. Thank you Mini Sport for your very valued continuing sponsorship…
Blog courtesy of Anton Bird
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