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McKenna steals show Stateside

Patrick McKenna justified his selection as Young Irish Racing Driver of the Year in a masterly display at New Jersey Motorsport Park last weekend. The young Swords driver scored his second victory of the season last Sunday having bagged the runner-up spot the previous evening to lie just 11 points off the lead in the important Road to Indy feeder series.

In his first race the young ace qualified second in the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing Van Diemen to hold that position to the chequered flag. However, he was confident he could extract more from his machine and after a detailed debrief with his engineers produced a number of suspension modifications for the Sunday race. The changes were immediately effective and with the cars handling transformed McKenna went about chasing his rival Sage Karam who ran wide on the fourth lap to give the Swords driver a lead he retained to the flag.

"It's my first win on a road course in the US and after our win at Indiana-polis last month we've proved we can be competitive on any track. It's a month to my next race in Autobahn but I wish it was next week" said a jubilant McKenna.

pIrish racing heads cross-channel this weekend when Leinster MC hosts its annual overseas meeting at the Ty Croes circuit in Anglesey North Wales. Featuring only Irish classes the two-day meeting has attracted 110 entries including 26 in the popular entry-level Formula Vee class.

pInsufficient entries have forced the cancellation of two of the four meetings listed for this weekend. The North East MC issued a statement early yesterday morning announcing the cancellation of the Crowne Plaza Northeast Stages Rally scheduled for Sunday. After a directors' meeting last Monday the Tipperary MC decided to cancel the hillclimb championship meeting scheduled for this weekend citing a lack of entries as the cause.

pNorth Armagh club has attracted a stunning entry for the Loughgall Historic Rally Challenge at Loughgall Country Park on Saturday. Part of Burkes of Cornascriebe New Holland Agriculture Loughgall Festival of Motorsport, the meeting also features an autotest event and static displays of historic and classic cars.

Keith McIvor heads the Historic Challenge in his Porsche 911 from Alan Jardine (Escort Mk1) and John Keatley in his Porsche.

Tommy O'Connell is seeded number four in his Escort RS1800 followed by Gary Owens and Philip McDowell -- both in Escorts.

Wesley Patterson tops the modified category from Mervyn Wedlock, James Kennedy, Martin Taggart and Michael Conlon -- all in Escorts.

The autotest element has attracted 20 entries headed by Robert Dickson, Trevor Faulkner and David Jenkins.

pIrish Karting Club hosts a championship meeting at Kiltorcan on Sunday and on the same day TDC is holding a multi-venue autotest meeting based at Beaulieu House Drogheda. The Skibbereen MC championship autocross double-header at Kildara Bandon is the only other event listed for the weekend.

pKris Meeke has put a big dent in his chances of retaining the IRC crown after rolling his 207 out of contention on SS8 while lying second to Freddy Loix in a Skoda Fabia. Local ace Loix went on to claim his sixth Ypres victory. Fortunately for Meeke his main rival for the title Juho Hanninen was unable to add to his points tally as he rolled his Skoda into retirement earlier in the rally. Nevertheless he faces the monumental task of winning all six remaining rounds if he is to retain the title.

p Petter Solberg has selected Ulsterman Chris Patterson as his co-driver for the remainder of the 2010 season. The Glengormley native will replace Phil Mills who unexpectedly quit the world rally championship earlier this month to concentrate "on other parts of life" after 152 world championship events with the 2003 world champion.

A five-times Middle East champion co-driver Patterson also was Production WRC champion co-driver in 2006 and will start with Solberg on rally Bulgaria next week.

pIn a first for the Ulster Rally organisers the event will host a round of the 2010 British Historic rally championship for the first time. Backed by the NI Tourist Boards Major event Growth Fund the Ulster Historic event is one of eight rounds and features a range of '60s and '70s rally cars. Current British Historic champions Dessie Nutt (Castlerock) and co-driver Geraldine McBride (Bangor) currently lying second in the 2010 series are expected to head the entry.

British championship leader Jonny Greer and Citroen Racing series leader Robert Barrable were on hand to launch the main event the Toddsleap.com Ulster Rally on Tuesday. Counting towards both the British championship and the Irish Tarmac series the the 14-stage event is scheduled for August 20/21 and will cover 127 competitive miles in the Antrim and mid-Ulster regions.