Eugene just misses podium at Silverstone
Eugene McManus finished fourth at Silverstone in the Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship this weekend. Having started fourth on the grid he went onto the lead the race at one stage before having to settle for his original grid position at the chequered flag. He was just a quarter of a second from the podium in a lively race at the Northamptonshire circuit.
The Junior Superstock riders were out early on Friday morning on a wet track for FP1. Despite the weather McManus put in 19 laps including a best of 1:02.338 in the damp conditions. This put him fifth overall.
The track conditions were dry by the afternoon’s free practice session. McManus laid down his best time about halfway through the session. Although he came close to improving on it late on his FP2 time of 57.378 was enough to put him fourth at the end of the day.
12.30 Saturday lunchtime and 37 Junior Superstock riders made their way onto the 1.64 mile Silverstone National circuit for the 30-minute qualifying session. Early on McManus was hovering inside the top ten before some clear track enabled him to move up to third position. McManus then called into the pits with just ten minutes of the session gone. After returning to the track, the number 15 was now fourth but quickly moved onto the provisional front row again as he improved his lap time. McManus made one more visit to the pits but as the session drew to a close most riders were finding it difficult to improve further. Eugene McManus qualified fourth and would head the second row for the race on Sunday.
Starting fourth on the grid McManus made a steady start maintaining position in the opening corners. A collision between several riders at Becketts on the opening lap led to the safety car being deployed. It was not until lap four the race resumed and McManus moved into third spot a couple of laps later.
By lap eight McManus was in second position with the leading seven riders all within a second of each other. McManus then went on to lead the race on more than one occasion before Nixon made a break at the front of the field.
With seven laps to go there was a train of riders looking to finish on the remaining two podium positions including McManus. He battled hard with his Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy teammate Asher Durham for several laps before running slightly wide at Luffield on lap 16. The move saw the number 15 slip to fourth position.
Late on in the race, McManus continued to threaten the rider in third place whilst also coming under increasing pressure from the number 34 of Aaron Silvester. He narrowly missed the podium by just a quarter of a second but held off his other rivals to retain fourth position.
Eugene McManus said, “I enjoyed the race. The bike felt good and I felt good. Although we didn’t make the podium we were competitive and only narrowly missed out. That’s really positive going into the next round where we have two races. I would like to thank the Affinity Sports Academy for preparing a great bike and all my sponsors.”
Eugene McManus returns to track action at Oulton park from 24 to 26 September.