Knockhill Review - 6/8th July 2018
This weekend's racing was overshadowed by the sad news that William Dunlop had tragically lost his life at the Skerries 100 on Saturday afternoon. The McManus family, team and friends would like to send our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to William's family, close friends and the Temple Golf Racing team at this very sad time. William will be dearly missed by us all xxx
Eugene Senior "We are all deeply saddened by the loss of William, our dear friend and he will be forever remembered by us all. Words cannot begin to express how we all feel and our thoughts and prayers are with William's family and friends this weekend"
William Dunlop has had a huge influence on Eugene Junior's career and the two were close friends. The Wee Bull is devastated by the loss of his friend and as a tribute decided to compete and run the #6 on his bike in Sunday's Motostar Race 2. William accumulated 108 Irish National Road Race Victories in a distinguished career including 4 North West 200 wins and seven at the Ulster Grand Prix. He was a idol to many and we will treasure the memories he gave us all.
"The terrible news on Saturday made me determined to give it my best for William in Race 2, as he had played a huge part in helping me in my racing career and I looked up to him like a big brother. My thoughts are with Janine, Ella and the entire Dunlop family xxx "
Knockhill race weekend Review
The Fife circuit had never looked better, sporting a new track surface and bathed in glorious sunshine, records looked set to tumble over the three days and the current Motostar time of 52.841 would surely be beaten. Clearly the new surface had made a difference for the premier class as 10 British Superbike riders dipped under the circuit record during Free Practice on Day 1.
McManus Junior made a bright start to his weekend, completing 29 laps in FP1 with a best lap of 53.197, just 0.256 behind Storm Stacey in P1. It was a similar tale in FP2, Stacey finished the day in P1 with City Lifting's Jake Archer and Stauff Academy rider Liam Delves completing the top 3.
McManus Junior was feeling confident going into Qualifying on Saturday morning.
Eugene Junior put in a stunning qualifying session, showing the kind of form to challenge Championship leader Jake Archer, it was Archer who set a new lap record of 51.872 seconds and pipped the Wee Bull to P1 by 0.316. The Wee Bull looked to have captured pole on lap 24, with a brilliant PB of 52.188 until Archer pounced a lap later. McManus would line up on the front for Race 1, sandwiched between City Lifting's duo of Archer and third place man Jack Scott.
Saturday afternoon's race 1 became a stunning battle between Archer, Scott, Stacey and McManus Junior who all traded places throughout the 18 lap thriller. It was Archer who got the holeshot and led team mate Scott into turn one, The Wee Bull was sat comfortably in third and pushing hard. He made his move on lap 3 slotting into second behind Archer where he stayed until lap 10, before Storm Stacey made a pass. The foursome traded blows for the remaining 8 laps and a near photo finish decided the winner, Archer pinched his fourth win of the season by 0.055 of a second. McManus was beaten to a podium by Stacey who finished third behind Scott.
Race 2 - After a discussion with family members, Eugene Junior decided he should race on Sunday in memory of his friend William Dunlop and the team were given the green light to change the familiar #15 with William's favoured number 6. In typical Wee Bull fashion and determined to leave a lasting tribute to his fallen friend, McManus hit the front on lap 6 and a race win looked possible. On lap 7 with Jake Archer closing in, McManus Junior tangled with a back marker and slipped out of the race. Archer went on to take his second win of the weekend and maintain his lead in the Championship.
The weekend had started so positively but by Saturday evening a tragic loss of a friend would leave us all saddened. Our beloved sport of Motorcycle racing can be so cruel at times.
For William #6