A CUMBRIAN rally star and his Hexham co-driver have narrowly missed out on a prestigious season-long title.

Penrith-born Frank Bird took a comprehensive victory in Sunday’s LDV Rally at Donnington Park in Leicestershire.

But despite winning a fifth event out of seven over the season, the victory on Sunday wasn’t quite enough to secure the 2019/2020 Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship.

Bird, who has had Hexham’s Jack Morton at his side throughout the campaign, said: “It was great to finish the season in style. It was a fantastic day overall - dominating every stage and winning by nearly three minutes.

“The car felt mega all day, so thanks to all the team for today, and the season. Jack has been great all year so thanks to him too, and of course all the sponsors for their support.

“But I couldn’t do this without the brilliant support of my dad Paul, so a massive thanks to him.

“It’s a shame not to win the championship but we did everything we could.”

On Sunday, in his Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC07, Frank was in control from the start and set fastest times on all seven stages to cross the finish ramp nearly three minutes ahead of his nearest rivals, former champions Ian Woodhouse and Paul Rowland.

The latest win added to his previous winter wins, making it an incredible run of six victories in seven total events.

Sunday’s performance was an ideal way for Bird and Morton to bounce back from disappointment at the previous week’s Lee Holland Memorial Rally at Anglesey, when they had to retire from a winning position.

Bird and Morton were set to take part in this weekend’s Legend Fires North West Stages Rally, but it has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.