rny08_burke.jpgUSRC Champion Burke Begins Title Defense

Seamus Burke, 2006 and ’07 United States Rally Championship winner in the 4-Wheel-Drive category, begins his defense of the title at Rally New York USA (April 4-5, 2008). The Powder Springs, Georgia building contractor will be back in the same Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 that he used to win last year’s series. But there will also be some changes to the team: Eddie Fries, who worked as his co-driver last year, has retired from the sport. Burke has secured the services of California’s rally veteran Ole Holter, who will work with him for the first time in this event.

Burke began rallying in his native Ireland about 30 years ago, and continued in the sport after moving to the U.S. In recent years he has risen into the top ranks among American rally drivers, and has shown skill in both gravel and pavement events. He has been a standout in Rally New York USA and the fall International Rally New York, including winning the latter event on the way to his 2007 championship. He credits part of his success there to the brisk nature of the courses through the Catskill Mountains, noting that “I like the faster events.”

The soft-spoken Burke is aware that there will be serious competition from his U.S.R.C. rivals between him and a third title. But he admits that “We’ll have a good chance at it.”

Subaru Rally Team USA Coming to New York

Subaru Rally Team USA will make the race for the top prize in Rally New York USA just a little tougher with the entry of a car in the Catskill Mountains event. It will be driven by Ken Block and co-driven by Alex Gelsomino.

As a youngster in Southern California, Block’s first competitions were on motorcycles. In 1993 he co-founded DC Shoes, an athletic clothing manufacturer where he still works as Chief Brand Officer. A long-time rally fan, he took the opportunity in 2005 to attend a rally school and begin competing in national events. During that first season he began partnering with Gelsomino, a long-time co-driver who had gotten his first competition license in his native Italy at age 17, on the same day that he had earned his driver’s license. With Gelsomino navigating, Block earned his first national rally win in 2006, and soon became one of the country’s top-ranked competitors.

The car entered for Block and Gelsomino is a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. With Block and Gelsomino at the controls, the Impreza is a very potent package, which northeastern rally fans will be able to see in action on April 4 and 5.

Rally New York organization is the promoter and the organizer of the Rally New York USA, the first round of the United States Rally Championship (www.usrallychampionship.com), scheduled for April 4 – 5, 2008 with the headquarters at the Nevele Resort in Ellenville, New York and the International Rally New York, the final round of the United States Rally Championship with a year-end Championship Awards Ceremony, which will take place on October 31 – November 1, 2008.

Contact information and more information on all Rally New York events may be found at www.RallyNewYork.com.



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