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Paul's a racing certainty - thanks to Dad; 25-year-old Ford Fiesta brings him title.

Byline: NEIL ATKINSON

BY day, he designs turbochargers for trucks at a Huddersfield engineering factory.

But by night, Paul Bishop is turbo-charged himself - and it has paid off.

He has just been crowned the champion of the British Racing and Sports Car Club Ford XR championship.

He scooped the title at the Oulton Park racing circuit in Cheshire, with a third place in the final race of the season. And he did it in a 25-year-old Ford Fiesta XR2, modified and tuned up over the past five years by Paul and his dad Bill, a former rally driver.

The championship came after a hugely-successful summer which has seen 33-year-old Paul, of Ferndale, Huddersfield, win six of the 11 meetings and also collect four second-place podium finishes.

It's a remarkable achievement for the engineer, who works at Cummins Turbo Technologies in St A n d r e w 's Road.

For his Ford Fiesta XR2 - race No 11 on the circuit - is a 25-year old family car, maintained by his dad.

* RACING MACHINE: Ford Fiesta in racing Paul said: "My dad was a rally driver and I grew up seeing photos of him in racing gear. I suppose that's what got me hooked.

"I took up the sport five years ago when I could finally afford a car and bought the Fiesta that I still race. Someone had already done some adaptations but we have modified it a lot over the years.

Paul Bishop and his colours "It's had a new engine but that one has done 60,000 miles.

"My first race was at Donington and I finished 29th out of 70 in the wet. It was a challenge but I loved it.

"This season has gone really well. The big advantage I have had is that I have finished every race which is testament to my dad's skills.

"I went into the final race at Oulton Park knowing I had won the class championship for Fiestas but I needed a podium finish to make sure of the overall championship.

"It's a great sport and we get to race on some well-known circuits, like Silverstone, Cadwell Park and Mallory Park at speeds of up to 120mph. Sadly, we don't get the glamour of Formula 1 but the winners do get a garland and a bottle of sparkling wine".

Paul has yet to decide whether or not to defend his title next year but he would love to move up to the Renault Clio championship in a year or two and dreams of racing in a televised meeting.

CAPTION(S):

* RACING MACHINE: Paul Bishop and his Ford Fiesta in racing colours * CHAMPION: Paul Bishop (No11) takes a tidy inside line to hit the front at Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire and, below, he celebrates winning the British Racing and Sports Car Club Ford XR Championship (S)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 26, 2010
Words:475
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