- Jeremy Ryan
Eugene McManus fights back at Snetterton
Eugene McManus finished the Pirelli Junior Superstock race at Snetterton in fourth position, just half a second from the podium. It was a top-class performance after having to start from 19th on the grid. McManus now is 5th in the overall standings.
The weekend could not have started better for the Randalstown racer. During the two free practice sessions on Friday Eugene McManus was the fastest rider in both. He was quick out of the blocks in the morning, as he recorded a 1:55.257 putting him 0.462 seconds ahead of his nearest rival in FP1.
Eugene was feeling comfortable on the Snetterton circuit and with his Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy Kawasaki. He continued to top the timesheet in FP2. It was on his seventh of 12 laps he set his best time of 1:54.604 which no one was able to beat as the session went on.
After a fantastic Friday rider and team were feeling positive for the qualifying session. The riders only managed a couple of laps before an accident brought out the red flag. McManus was second at the time and looking comfortable. The track marshals readied the circuit quickly for the riders to continue the qualifying session. McManus was on his out lap and looking forward to building up his pace to push for a front-row start. It was not to, however, as another rider and collided with Eugene at Oggies and the number 15 crashed out. The opportunity was lost and as the session went on the pace increased and Eugene McManus found himself sliding down the timing sheets and ended up down in 19th for the race on Sunday.
At the end of Saturday, the Superstock riders were given a ten-minute free-practice session. McManus was keen to get some more track time only for the session to be almost immediately red-flagged after a machine dropped fluid onto the track. With no warm-up for the Junior Superstock class, McManus would have to wait for the actual race on Sunday morning.
Starting 19th on the grid was never the plan for Eugene McManus but after being tipped off by another rider in qualifying on Saturday he was determined to put in a strong performance.
By the end of lap one of 12, he had already moved into 13th position after a strong opening lap. A lap later and he was running 11th and the fastest rider on the circuit. Progress continued with another position gained on the following lap.
Starting lap five he overtook another rider into turn one and with the rider ahead having to serve a long lap penalty McManus was already in fifth position.
At the two-thirds stage, it looked like some of his hard work would come undone as he slipped back to eighth in a competitive leading group. However, he dug deep once again, upping his pace and going on to cross the line in a superb fourth position, just half a second from a podium finish.
Eugene McManus said,” All weekend I had a really good feeling with the bike here, so thank you to everyone in the Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy team. Friday went well and I was feeling confident going into qualifying. Unfortunately, racing can be unpredictable and I was knocked off early on in the session which left me with a lot of work to do in the race. I knew I had the pace and with 12 laps I thought I had a chance of getting to the leading group, which is what happened. In the end, we didn’t make the podium but thinking about where we started it was a great result.”
The next round is at Silverstone from 10th to 12th September on the National Circuit.