I was brought up around motorsport from a very young age as both my parents, Paul and Jane Bird competed in various disciplines of motorsport back in the 80’s, including rallycross, autocross and rallying just to name a few. My Dad was also an enthusiastic stunt and precision driver and both my parents went on to own and run various indoor and outdoor karting circuits throughout the UK. This was where my motorsport career began…
Since being very young, my ambition in life was to become a stunt driver and follow in my Dad’s footsteps, never in this world did I imagine my dream would come true later in my life. We holidayed in Florida a lot when I was growing up, and every time went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to watch the ‘Lights, Motors Action! Extreme Stunt Show’, which then reinforced my ambition a lot to become a stunt driver.
At the tender age of three, I started karting and riding quad bikes. By eight years old I was driving manual cars and at 11 I started training and learning the skills needed to become a racing and rally driver.
At the age of 14, I began to race in rallycross, following in both parent’s footsteps in a 1000cc Rover Mini. I competed in the Junior Rallycross Championship for two years; I came 6th place overall and 1st place lady in the championship in my first year then 4th place overall and 1st place lady again in the championship, as well as 1st place overall in Rallycross in the British Women Racing Drivers Club Championship.
In 2010 when I was 16 I was old enough to move up to the Senior Rallycross Championship, which I competed in a 1300cc Rover Mini, with more competition competing against both men and women with a lot more years’ experience than myself. At the end of the season I had achieved 8th place the championship. I turned 17 in the September of 2010 and passed my driving test first time, five weeks after my birthday.
2011 was spent testing for a brand new rallycross championship; the BMW Mini Challenge, in a 1600cc BMW Mini Cooper and pursuing my stunt driving career, juggling it with sixth form and my social life. Within a year of training as a stunt and precision driver, my natural flare had shone and I was working throughout the UK stunt driving, performing and instructing others.
I attended Teesside High School in the North East of England throughout school and sixth form, where I received 11 GCSE’s and 4 A Levels in Economics, Psychology, English Language, General Studies and an AS Level in Business Studies and was offered a place at Northumbria University to study Criminology and Forensic Science, however I turned down my place to take my stunt driving career even further.
In 2012 I did my first television job as a stunt and precision driver for the BBC on the antiques programme ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’, by showing presenter David Harper how to park in style by handbrake parallel parking between cars and burning some rubber by donuting a BMW.
I also went back to college to study Vehicle Maintenance to understand the mechanical side of vehicles and gained both Association of Racing Drivers Schools (ARDS) and British Association of Rally Schools (BARS) qualifications, to go with my Motor Sports Association (MSA) race national B, rally national B stage and speed national A licences, and full UK driving licence.
In early 2013, at the age of 19, I went on to open the UK’s only purpose built stunt and precision driving arena, based on the South Tees Motor Sports Park in Middlesbrough North East of England; Stunt Drive Experience. Ironically moving onto the same motor sports park my parents had ran 20 years before. Our arena has been designed for all occasions whether it’s individuals just wanting a day out, companies wanting a corporate event to remember, stag and hen parties or private functions, it has been designed to accommodate everyone’s needs. Stunt Drive Experience teaches a range of stunts in BMW Z3’s and Mini’s including handbrake turns, handbrake parallel parking, donuts, j turns, and driving on two wheels in a safe environment which is authorised by the IOPD (International Organisation of Professional Drivers) putting safety first and protecting our customers.
After plugging all my energy into the business, I began to juggle it with more television and film work. I was the stunt driving double in a regional crime-thriller; ‘Riding the Tiger’, written by best-selling author Stephen Richards, based on the infamous ‘The Law of Attraction’. The roll consisted of precise 90 degree handbrake parking; stopping centimetres away from another actor, wheel spins, drifting closely around actors, high speed chases, scenes of crashing into people and running people over.
At the end of 2014 I took part in filming for Discovery for their programme, ‘Daily Planet’; they came over from Canada to film at the Stunt Drive Experience venue, as they wanted to film me instructing and training others to become stunt and precision drivers and understand the concept of the job. The roll consisted of handbrake turns, handbrake parallel parking between cars, J turns, donuting around a car in a front wheel drive car and donuting around people and objects in a rear wheel drive car.
Last year we featured in the paperback ‘Celebrity Service’ by Geoff Ramm was published and praised Stunt Drive Experience in a full page write up about our outstanding customer service and how other businesses can learn from us.
We also attended the Autosport International Show at Birmingham NEC promoting Stunt Drive Experience and myself. Whilst at the show I competed in the 3 hour Celebrity Kart Endurance Race along with my Stunt Drive Experience team. We competed against the likes of Australian former motorcycle road racer and Superbike World champion; Troy Corser, former motorcycle and truck racer, and now a motorsport television commentator; Steve Parrish and British Actor Tony Hirst and qualified 5th out of 30 kart teams.
In 2015 I applied for a role on the new BBC Top Gear with Chris Evans, unfortunately missing out, however I landed on my feet, training up various stunt performers throughout the world, who currently perform the likes of martial arts, fighting, shooting and motorcycle riding stunts, and wanted to expand to stunt and precision driving.
In 2016 we attended Autosport International again and competed in the 3 hour Celebrity Kart Endurance Race along with Troy Corser and Steve Parrish and also fellow stunt and precision driver Salvo Cachia; this time I was competing as a celebrity myself.
I also spent a month working out in Sweden, driving on a frozen lake in temperatures as low as -25 degrees, in cars from Ford Pumas, BMW 325 Compacts, to Subaru Imprezas and Mitsubishi Evo rally cars, which was a great experience and taught me a lot through driving and instructing. I also spent 2016 working with Renault with the Formula E travelling throughout the world as far as Hong Kong, as well as competing in more Autotests.
2017 consisted of going to Norway for six weeks working for Ice Driver, who use amazing cars including brand new Toyota GT86’s, BMW M3’s and Porsche 911’s to teach people to drive on a frozen lake, this was a fantastic experience and such a good team to be part of. While in Norway we had WTCC presenter, Alex Legouix and BTCC presenter, Louise Goodman come over to train with us whilst filming for a programme on Only Motors TV.
In 2017, I focussed on growing Stunt Drive Experience, we gained our second consecutive Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. I also spent a fair bit of time concentrating on RWD stunt work, as up to now my strength was always FWD, now I have balanced them both to an impressive standard, to the point I perform Stunt and Precision Driving Displays in RWD cars as well as FWD, and performed a Stunt Show in both at Newcastle Car Show. ITV Tyne Tees also did a feature at Newcastle Car Show, which I featured in being interviewed and also driving in my Display. In 2017 I spent a lot of the time travelling for work with the likes of Renault and the Formula E Championship.
2018 saw more Stunt and Precision Driving Displays throughout the country, and doing various TV and commericial work throughout the UK, working on the McDonalds advert and chinese TV.