- Jeremy Ryan
James McManus closing in on points scoring finish
James McManus made a great return to the British Junior Supersport series this weekend at Oulton Park. Over the weekend he continually improved his lap times and missed out on a potential points scoring finish at Oulton Park after a racing incident at Hizzys in race three.
The weekend got underway with the only free practice session the Junior Supersport riders get before qualifying. On a wet track James McManus clocked a 2:12.721 placing his Team 109 Kawasaki in 19th position. On the dry track of qualifying McManus reduced his lap time to 1:59.581 which meant he would line up 31st for the first race.
Saturday morning saw forty riders on a packed starting grid for this very popular racing category. McManus got boxed out on the initial lap losing five places as he slipped to 36th by the end of lap one. He immediately struck back regaining four of the places the following lap.
McManus was 3.32 seconds behind the rider ahead but he was also pulling a gap over those behind him.
By lap six McManus had erased the gap to find himself on the back wheel of Moffit, the rider ahead. He quickly overtook moving into 29th position. His continued progress had seen him open a gap of three seconds over the riders previously on his tail. had done enough to keep him behind and secure a 28th place finish.
Once McManus was through, Moffit seemed to regain momentum and held on to McManus until the end of the race. However, the number 14, Team 109 rider
The second race took part at the end of Saturday. Again he started 31st. This time he made a fantastic start. He surged through a crowd of riders ahead gaining 5 places on the first lap. The following lap he made it into the top 25 sandwiched between Beech and Large-Taylor.
By lap six McManus was in an eleven rider train from 15th to 26th, with McManus running 24th. With such a tight field, the fifteen-year-old, unfortunately, clipped the back of another rider on lap seven. This sent him off onto the grass. He managed to return to the circuit but had lost four seconds. The result was he dropped to 27th and had lost touch with the large group of riders.
Back on the asphalt and McManus got his head down again and regain two positions before crossing the line in 25th place.
On Sunday, The Junior Supersport riders competed in their final race of the weekend. After McManus’s pace in race two he started from 21st for race three. Again he made a good start making up two positions on the opening lap. On lap two he overtook Banham to move into 18th and was looking at a possible points scoring finish.
McManus led an 18-wheeled train of bikes but he lost out in a racing incident at Hislops on lap four. The Randalstown racer and another rider touched and the number 14 unfortunately, slid out of the race.
McManus made great progress over the weekend. Having missed a couple of BSB rounds he returned with determination and full of enthusiasm. After the tricky conditions of free practice, McManus qualified in the dry with a time of 1:59.581. By the end of the weekend he had slashed that lap time to 1:55.062 and he continued to impress the team with his progress.