- Jeremy Ryan
Just outside top ten in a pacey weekend
Photo: David Watson
Randalstown racer, Eugene McManus Junior finished eleventh in race one at the latest round of the British Supersport Championship at Donington Park. In race two he fell with 8 laps remaining whilst again running just outside the top ten, in eleventh.
Younger brother James was in action in the Dickies Junior Supersport championship.
The riders were competing on the two-mile National circuit last weekend in a 20 lap Sprint Race followed by a 24 lap feature race on the Sunday.
Eugene McManus Junior finished the first day of the weekend with a lap time of 1:10.481. This he achieved in the second of the free practice sessions and it put him tenth overall. It was an improvement of five places on his position in FP1.
Free practice did not go well for the younger McManus. James managed just three laps before he unfortunately, crashed out.
The British Supersport qualifying took place early on a sunny Saturday morning. The team had looked to make some adjustments to the bike after FP2 as it was not handling as well as Eugene McManus would have liked. On his tenth lap of the circuit he set a time of 1:10.681 before calling in to the pits for final adjustments. Although he managed another lap under 1:11 he was unable to improve further and couldn’t repeat his lap time from FP2. As a result, he would line up 14th on the grid in the British Supersport category.
James McManus, who has never been to this track before, had to use qualifying to try and learn the circuit, after such a short time on circuit on Friday. He managed to qualify 38th.
British Supersport Race One
The team had switched back the settings on McManus Junior’s bike to those they had used in FP2 after feeling they had gone in the wrong direction for qualifying on Saturday.
McManus Junior managed a solid start to the 20 lap race. He was running just ahead of Phil Wakefield who was putting the Randalstown rider under pressure. Ahead of them was Aaron Ridewood and both managed to catch and pass him, before Ridewood suffered a mechanical issue.
McManus Junior and Wakefield were then in a battle for several laps. Wakefield managed to get ahead of McManus Junior on the ninth lap. However, the “Wee Bull” quickly recovered the position and then began to make a gap over the PWR rider. He went on to set several 1:10 second laps to open a gap of 2.473 seconds over his rival. He finished the race in 11th position.
British Supersport Race Two
The track was still damp after some earlier rainfall. Whilst some riders gambled on slicks, with McManus’s lack of experience on the Yamaha R6 the team decided on a wet front and intermediate rear. After a good start he ran off into the grass at the Old Hairpin on the second lap.
He found himself way down the field but immediately began to battle back. He caught and overtook one rider the following lap. He then pushed on and went by another on lap 8. Still pushing McManus overtook one of the GP2 machines. His next target was some 5.2 seconds down the road. Within two laps the gap had halved and by lap 13 he had made up another position.
The bike now ahead of McManus was over nine seconds ahead with 14 laps remaining. Over the next three laps the gap reduced to 3.7 seconds. McManus was up to 11th and setting some great lap times.
Unfortunately, going into the Old Hairpin he tucked the front end. After working so hard and really impressing the team with his pace on wet tyres he crashed out of 11th.
Photo: David Watson
Junior Supersport Races
Race one never happened for James McManus. As he prepared to take to the track there was a mechanical problem with his bike. There was no time to fix the Team #109 Kawasaki and so he was a non-starter.
As a result, James McManus had to start from the back of the grid in race two. He immediately got to work a made up several positions on the first lap. He was then battling with Able and Offer. Having overtaken them he started to close down the number 98 of Moffit. In the closing stages McManus came under pressure from Able and Armstrong but held off this late challenge to take 31st position at the flag.
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