Eugene McManus finishes Junior Superstock fifth overall
Fifth and sixth-place finishes at the final round at Brands Hatch confirmed Eugene McManus finished fifth in the Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship 2021.
Despite a cold track and the threat of rain on Friday morning Eugene McManus was out of the blocks quickly. He posted the second-fastest lap time in FP1, a 1:31.976. In FP2 he cut his lap time further finishing with 1:30.585. He was not the only rider to improve and despite being just two-tenths behind the fastest rider he ended the day third quickest.
The Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy rider made a good start to the 25-minute qualifying session on Saturday morning. When he came into the pits with 12 minutes left on the clock he was lying in 4th position with a fastest time of 1:31.596. He was less than half a second from the leading rider.
Further, improvement was scuppered when the marshals brought out the rain flags. McManus ended the session sat in the pits.
The weather was making it difficult for both teams and riders as they finished preparing for the 12-lap penultimate race of the season. Race direction declared the race a wet race. Despite this the track was dry for the most part with some damp patches. The teams had to make some quick adjustments to set up and dry tyres were slotted into the Kawasaki of Eugene McManus.
Starting from 4th position on the grid McManus slipped back to 7th as he grappled with feeling on the initial lap. After a few laps, McManus became more comfortable with the handling of his bike and having dropped back to 11th began to put in some really good lap times.
By the middle of the race, McManus was on the back wheel of one of his teammates and in tenth position. Two laps later and McManus was running eighth. His progress continued as a lap later he was up to sixth place, where he would stay for the final few laps before crossing the finish line.
The second race turned out to be only ten laps due to events happening earlier in the race programme, on Sunday.
McManus lined up 5th for race two. In the opening exchanges he dropped to sixth position but remained in the leading group of riders. On lap two he recovered fifth position. He then found himself with the two Championship Title contenders. Nixon ahead and Talbot behind.
On the fourth lap, Eugene McManus overtook Nixon and moved into fourth spot at Paddock Hill Bend. Nixon tried to respond at Druids but McManus held on.
A lap later and Nixon managed to regain fourth. McManus had a moment where the rear stepped out but quickly regained control of the motorcycle. On lap six he had another moment, this time at Druids as he fought hard to keep the position. Talbot was able to pass and McManus dropped to sixth.
With the race leader having managed to gap the chasing pack McManus again moved into fifth position by the end of lap eight. This chasing group of around eight riders continued to push on. At the flag, McManus crossed the line fifth just eight-tenths behind the rider in second position.
McManus ends the season fifth overall with a total of 171 points.
Eugene McManus said, “It’s been a good season in 2021. We started with a podium in the first round and then suffered some bad luck on the first visit to Donington Park. But the consistency came and I have felt really comfortable on the Kawasaki as the year has gone on. In the end, we have finished the season with five podium finishes and fifth overall so I am happy with that. Thank you so much to the team Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy and all their staff, also MMB Surfacing, MV Commercial, Michael King, Jamie Roche, the Haslam family, John Laverty, Paul Thompson and Jeremy Ryan. “