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Darren Keane’s Injury Prevents Good Result at Pan American Championships

Published: Friday, October 5th, 2012

Darren Keane showed speed early in the week but fell victim to a back injury (Photo: Cody Schindel)
Darren Keane showed speed early in the week but fell victim to a back injury (Photo: Cody Schindel)

Promising Rotax Junior rookie and Tony Kart pilot Darren Keane would make the trek out west for the annual Rotax Pan American Championships. Taking place at 'The Track' at Centennial near Denver, Colorado, Keane would suffer an injury early in the week that would prevent him from bringing home a good result. After a trip to the hospital and motivation to compete in the final, the 2012 Florida Winter Tour champion would retire from the race to prevent furthering his injury.

Make the cross-country trip from their home base in Florida, Keane Racing would arrive at the tight and twisty circuit in time for the second day of unofficial practice. Showing speed throughout Wednesday and Thursday's sessions, the Tony Kart pilot would consistently run near the top of the time sheets, as the team was confident heading into the weekend.

After a disappointing qualifying session, the young talent would begin to endure pain in his back as a result of the bumpy facility. Trying to work and race through the pain, Keane would claim the seventh quickest time in the first heat race but would struggle to find the results. With the pain increasing with each passing lap in heat two, the Floridian driver would choose to forgo heat three and try to save his body.

Working to make Darren as comfortable as possible in his kart, the team decided to skip Sunday morning's warm-up session in the hopes that Darren would be able to save himself for the wheel-to-wheel action. Padding his seat in every way imaginable, Keane would improve throughout the 16-lap heat race, moving forward to the 17th position after starting 19th.

"Darren did a fantastic job," explained driver coach Fabio Orsolon. "You could tell he was in pain and his facial expression post race would prove that. He is very young and has a lot of talent, and I have no doubt that he will be able to claim a Pan American title in the coming years."

After the prefinal, Darren was transported to the nearest hospital for observations and would be released shortly after with no broken bones, a relief to the team. Looking to get as much rest and medication as possible before the main event, Keane would relax in the team's hauler before the final.

Feeling good and ready to go, Keane noticed on the pace lap that the pain was back. Taking the green flag and only completing a few laps, the up and coming driver would be forced to retire for the event with unbearable pain. Pulling his Rotax powered Tony Kart into the pits, Keane would sit and watch the rest of the Rotax Junior final.

With the Pan American Championships now behind them, Keane Racing will shift their focus to the RoK International Final in Italy as well as the biggest event in North America, the SuperKarts! USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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