From an ambulance to the podium - Offaly racer has whirlwind weekend

Kevin Keyes lives for the thrill of the track

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Kevin Keyes was back in action on the Bennetts BSB Championship action at Oulton Park over the May Bank Holiday weekend. 

The Edenderry native and Offaly Express/Guy Clothing Sport Star of the Year for 2017, returned to where he had been testing and performing so well just over a week earlier for the latest round of the championship.

Keyes had some technical issues early in the week but hit the track again on Saturday for practice where he was the fifth quickest. He went on to put in some hugely encouraging performances during a series of practice outings.

The qualifying session turned out to be a mixed bag for Keyes. His name was top of the time sheet for a period before he was eventually bumped down to second spot. He was then flying toward another quick lap when he became unbalanced after coming upon a slower rider, causing the Edenderry man to come off his bike.

He avoided injury and was back out to earn second spot on the grid for the race itself.

Monday morning was an opportunity for a warm up but Kevin didn't get a chance to complete even one lap as a mechanical issue caused him to crash out once more. This looked that bit more serious and he was taken to the track medical centre by ambulance.

He was later given the all clear to race and after receiving help from the teams of rivals, his team assembled a bike capable of challenging from second spot. 

Keyes didn’t get his usual brilliant start as the front wheel lifted off the ground, serving to slow the Edenderry man down off the line. He did manage to hold on to second spot for a lap before losing his place and settling down for a fierce battle with his rival for the runner-up spot.

Keyes kept the pressure on from third and he re-assumed second place when that rider crashed out. He briefly lost his position to another rival but fought hard on his Fernside Homes Team#109 Kawasaki to wrestle back second spot and a place on the podium once more.

After a rough start to the Bank Holiday Monday, Kevin held on to 2nd in the championship overall, just 23 points adrift of the leader.

“From the back of an ambulance this morning to the Podium in the afternoon," Kevin commented after the race. "I can’t thank my team enough for the endless efforts of getting me out for the race. A big thank you to the BSB medical crew for all their help after my crash."

"I have to say thanks also to Louis Valleley #14 and Mike De Bidaph Of Gearlink Kawasaki for helping me make the grid," he added.

Kevin's next outing is at Donnington Park as one of the support races for the British round of the World Superbike Championship on the last weekend of May.

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