Ballyclare biker Darren Keys dies following crash at Walderstown road race
A 34-year-old Co Antrim man has died following a crash at a motorcycle road race in the Republic of Ireland.
The rider - named locally as Darren Keys - was involved in a race event at Walderstown, Co Westmeath, when the collision occurred.
The racer from Ballyclare was married to Justine, with three young children, Harry, Molly and Charlie.
The fatal incident happened at around 11.30am in the Senior Support race yesterday, and led to the event being abandoned.
Mr Keys received on-track medical attention before being transferred by helicopter to the Mater Hospital in Dublin, but unfortunately succumbed to the seriousness of his injuries.
A Garda spokesman said it is investigating the crash.
"Gardai are investigating the death of a participant during the Walderstown motorcycle road racing event in Co Westmeath," a spokesperson said.
"The event has been abandoned and Garda forensic collision investigators are examining the crash site. Enquiries are ongoing, the coroner has been notified and post-mortem examination will be arranged.
"A file will be prepared in accordance with the Coroners Act."
Mr Keys only took up competitive racing in 2013.
But by 2015 he had finished the season as runner-up in both the Ulster and Irish Supersport Cup Championships.
He then decided to tackle the roads and made his debut during the Cookstown 100 just over a year ago, where he dramatically came off his Suzuki at Braeside corner in the Senior Support race.
He won the Enniskillen Senior Support race in 2018 and decided to plan another road campaign in 2019.
After finishing second in the Senior Support races at Cookstown and Tandragee, Mr Keys won his first race of this season again at Enniskillen and followed that up by winning at Skerries last weekend on his distinctive Suzuki.
These results had put him into contention for the 2019 Irish road race Senior Support championship, of which Walderstown was a counting round.