Frustrating weekend for James McManus at Donington Park
Despite a superb hard fought 4th place finish from a grid position of 12th in the second race at Donington Park, the 17-year-old from Randalstown had a frustrating weekend with three DNFs.
The weekend started well on a dry track On Friday. In free practice one he was 6th quickest with a lap time of 1:46.847. The same day the 43 Junior Supersport riders completed their 25-minute qualifying session. James McManus recorded a lap time of 1.46.140 which put him sixth on the grid for race one.
On Saturday morning the riders woke to a complete contrast in weather. The rain had poured down and the track was wet. James was quickly up to 4th position by the end of the first lap having made a good start. The weather then caught the Number 14 out on lap two as he fell at Hollywood. He wasn’t alone as around 15 other riders also failed to finish race one.
By the afternoon the track had improved significantly for the second ten-lap encounter. He lined up twelfth on grid. The Affinity Academy rider made a fantastic start and made up five positions on the opening lap. By the end of lap two he was already in fifth place.
He continued pressing and at the end of lap four crossed the line in 3rd position albeit in a tightly packed leading group. Battling hard with Adon Davie throughout the race he eventually crossed the finish line in fourth position just 3 tenths of a second from the podium.
On Sunday the track conditions were better than the morning before. This time James got to line up at the head of row three in 7th position. He managed to end the first lap in fifth spot as he made solid start to the third race of the weekend. A lap later he was up into third place behind Tom Booth-Amos and Ash Barnes. James continued to improve running at the front at one stage as they entered the second half of the race. Unfortunately, another rider clipped his handlebars going into Redgate and James saw his efforts count for nothing as he took a second tumble of the weekend.
In the final 10 lap race of the weekend James McManus suffered more bad luck when he came together with a rider who had out-braked himself whilst battling for fifth position.
James said, “This weekend was a bit up and down. It’s probably something to forget about really. In the first race it hammered down just as we were heading out. I got caught out at the top of Hollywood. I changed gear and the rear stepped out. Just one of those things. In the race this morning I had contact with a rider at turn one battling for second and then I got caught up in a racing incident in the last race of the day. Not very much we can say about it. We had good pace all weekend. We have been unfortunate and move on to the next race weekend.”
James McManus, who is also competing in the World Supersport 300 Championship, returns to the track at Assen in that series on 23-25 July.