Offaly racer collects 'valuable championship points' at Brands Hatch

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly racer collects 'valuable championship points' at Brands Hatch

Offaly racer collects 'valuable championship points' at Brands Hatch

The Kent countryside area of Brands Hatch was the venue for the latest round of the Bennetts BSB last weekend as Kevin Keyes once again looked to climb the championship leaderboard.

The Offaly man got his first outing on the GP track since the final race last year for Friday practice, and despite an issue with his bike's transponder, Kevin posted strong times inside the Top 10. Incredibly, the first rainfall in Kent in over six weeks drew a premature end to Friday's second practice session.

Qualifying started well for Keyes with the Edenderry man again holding on inside the top 10. 15 minutes into the session, he returned to pit lane for some adjustments, but unfortunately no mechanic was available for almost 10 minutes, his own team mechanic unable to make it to Brands because of financial reasons.

With a mechanic from Gearlink Kawasaki now on board, Keyes’s father Ron and the mechanic made the necessary changes and he went back on track with very little time remaining. Keyes needed to make it past the start-finish line before the session ended to enable him get in a fast lap, but unbelievably the session ended with him just seconds away from that line.

His times from earlier in the day, however, proved enough for see him to grab 10th position for the race. Kevin and his reduced team had to wait until the warm-up on Sunday morning to find out if the earlier bike changes had the desired effect, and they definitely had, as he finished that 8-minute session in 3rd place.

Consultation with his father and the mechanic saw them make one more minor change for the 14 lap race. Keyes again got a great jump off the line at the race start, and after two corners was up to 6th. After the first lap, the leading two riders had opened up enough of a gap to leave the trailing group of five riders, one of which was Keyes, fighting amongst themselves for positions, with the Edenderry man moving to 4th at one stage.

He eventually had to settle for 6th, being the second Kawasaki bike home, and gathering  some more valuable points as well. 
Even after such a tough weekend, Keyes still holds on to 3rd spot in the championship, seven points behind 2nd place and 41 off top spot.

Just over halfway through the season, it’s a very credible position, but the Offaly Sports Star of the Year for 2017 is still aiming to finish higher.

Afterwards Kevin told us how the weekend went for him. “The weekend was quite tricky as we were down team members but we made the best of what we had. The race was tough but enjoyable and I want to say a huge thanks to my Dad Ron and my girlfriend Sarah for all their efforts this weekend." 

Next up is Thruxton on the weekend of August 5. You can keep up to date with Kevin's season by following any of these Facebook pages: Kevin Keyes Racing, Team#109, Kevin Keyes Supporters Club.