- Jeremy Ryan
High five for Eugene at Brands Hatch
Eugene McManus raced to a fifth-place finish at Brand Hatch in the Pirelli National Junior Superstock at Brands Hatch last weekend. The rider from Randalstown had qualified third and collected eleven more championship points and is now 6th in the overall standings.
It was only two years ago at Brands Hatch that Eugene McManus was involved in a huge crash. He spent 34 days in a London hospital before he left to continue his recovery at home in Northern Ireland. This performance clearly shows he has managed to put all that behind him with a great result.
The weekend began really positively for the Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy rider. In free practice one he was seventh around three-quarters of a second from the fastest rider and then in the second session just 0.575 seconds from the front when he finished 5th overall.
The riders had to set about the task of qualifying on a damp but drying track. Initially circulating on wet rubber a dry line began to emerge late on in the session. Some riders called into the pits to slot a slick in the rear whilst leaving the wet front in situ. Never one to shirk a challenge McManus entered the pits and was the first rider to put in slicks front and rear for the final five minutes. After returning to the track he quickly moved up to 8th position. He then went and set the fastest time of the session before two other riders managed to nudge him down to third. Eugene McManus was on the front row for the race.
The Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship riders had just one race at the Brands Hatch round. As they lined up on the grid there was a flash of lightning and a rumble of thunder but the track was pretty much dry and the rain held off.
Eugene pulled away from the end of row one turning into Paddock Hill bend for the first time in fourth position. In the busy opening laps, Eugene slipped back a couple more positions to 6th, just behind his teammate Owen Jenner.
At the halfway stage Eugene overtook Jenner to move into fifth position. He was in a four-way battle for fifth spot with Laffins, Jenner and Delves all pushing hard on his back wheel.
On the tenth lap, the rain did start to fall and the Race Control brought out the red flag to end proceedings early for safety reasons. McManus had his third fifth-place finish of the season.
Eugene McManus said,” It was a fantastic feeling to qualify on the front row. I had a great battle with my teammate and several other riders out there today and I am pleased to come away with another strong result. Thanks to Completely Motorbikes and the Affinity Sports Academy. Also thank you to all my other sponsors for the help keeping me out there.
My family and I would like to say that out thoughts and prayers are with Brad Jones, his team, family and friends at this time.”
This result puts Eugene McManus 6th in the overall standings on 59 points. The next round is at Thruxton this coming weekend.