Isle of Man TT: Kevin Keyes 'excited' for Mountain Course debut

Newcomer Levin Keyes says he is "extremely excited" to be debuting at the Isle of Man TT races in 2024.

The 25-year-old, who was a regular in the British Junior Cup and the National Junior Superstock Championship, first competed on the roads in 2022.

He said now was the "right time to take it a bit further" and take on the 37.7-mile (60km) Mountain Course.

Keyes, from Edenderry in Ireland, will compete in the Supersport, Superstock, Superbike, and Senior races.

After finishing second overall in the 2015 British Junior Cup, where with five wins and nine podiums, he moved on to the National Junior Superstock Championship where his best season came in 2018 when he finished fourth overall.

His three podium finishes in that season were bettered with his first race win the championship the following year, which helped him to eighth overall in 2019.

That was followed by his first foray into road racing, which saw him win the Senior Support Championship Race at Walderstown in 2022.

'Undulations and climbs'

Keyes said he "really fell in love with road racing" at that point in his career, but said although he had considered doing the Manx Grand Prix, "there perhaps would have been a bit more pressure to perform there".

"I'm delighted that the opportunity to come straight to the TT was there" he said.

"Everyone will be concentrating on [Peter] Hickman, [Michael] Dunlop and [John] McGuinness, so I can just go about the event almost unknown."

Keyes is set to contest the Superbike, Superstock and Senior TT races on a Daracore Racing Yamaha YZF-R1, while taking on both Supersport races on a Yamaha YZF-R6, previously used by Jamie Coward and the KTS Racing team.

He said: "I'm extremely excited to be making my TT debut later this year and the work is well underway to be as best prepared as possible.

"Watching the onboard videos doesn't fully prepare you for seeing the Mountain Course in real though, as there are so many undulations and climbs you can't see on the TV.

The Irishman has already started a series of visits the island ahead of the races to familiarise himself with the course with the help of TT rider liaison officers John Barton and Richard 'Milky' Quayle, and plans to continue to learn from seasoned competitors at the event itself.

"Michael Sweeney [fellow Irish racer] has been a great mentor for my roads journey so far, so there will be plenty of support and advice available to me from him, too," he said.

"The Supersport class is the one I have the most experience in having ridden the 600cc bikes for seven years, but I've adapted well to the big bike and I'm learning all the time.

"I'm not focusing on the results in my first year though, it's all about making the most of the track time available in every session and enjoying my first TT."

The Isle of Man TT races are scheduled to take place between 27 May and 8 June.