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Bird King of Hill

Stefan Walker

Bird King of Hill

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The stage is set for what could be the biggest and most exciting Rally Barbados since the event was first staged in 1990.
The British crew of Paul Bird and Kristy Riddick has emerged as the No.1 seed for this weekend’s Sol Rally Barbados.
The pair put on a splendid performance last Sunday to claim the No.1 spot in the Sol Go Further- Scotiabank King Of The Hill event.
After an event of one practice run and three official runs, Bird, driving a Ford Focus 08 WRC, finished with a fastest time of one minute, 49.18 seconds.
It would also be the fastest overall time, topping 12-time Rally Barbados winner Roger “Sheriff” Skeete’s one minute, 50.26 seconds, while John “Penti” Powell was third with a time of one minute, 50.42 seconds.
The rest of the top five was made up of Jamaican Jeffrey Panton (one minute, 51.24 seconds) and Sean Gill (one minute, 51.50 seconds).
The pace was fast from the first green light as the practice run times were only just over the 1 minute, 50 seconds mark.
Skeete, in a Subaru S12B WRC, took first blood in the practice run, with John Powell, in a Subaru S14 WRC, winning the first official run.
Took charge
After that, Bird took charge, winning the final two runs, to cement his place as a main contender to take victory this weekend, one he has been craving since 2008 when he was defeated by Northern Irishman Kris Meeke.
Outside of the action was Paul “The Surfer” Bourne, whose launch control problems in his Ford Focus 07 WRC, plagued him once again and he finished 29th overall with a fastest time of 2 minutes, 02.98 secons.
As is the custom, the two-wheel drive class was as keenly contested as the WRC class.
The class was bolstered with numerous competitors from both the local and international field setting up a battle that entertained the fans just as much as the M8-WRC class battle.
The fans were in for a real treat when for the first time this season Josh Read came out with his Starlet sporting a new livery and 1.8 cc in the engine bay.
Read was set to do battle with Neil Armstrong in the S10 class.
Read was driving his car for the first time since he upgraded and was naturally off the pace. He set a fastest time of 1 minute, 58.88 seconds and placed 15th overall.
On the sharp end of the two-wheel drive, the customary giant killing acts were being performed, not just by Neil Armstrong but also by Brett Clarke.
Armstrong has been a class above the rest this season and has beaten all the local WRC class drivers with the exception of Skeete in previous events.
With his smooth, yet aggressive driving style, the man dubbed “Pitbull” by the local fans, not only won the two-wheel drive class but  also placed an impressive eighth overall with a time of 1 minute, 53.53 seconds.