Improvements all weekend for Eugene at Assen
Eugene McManus made a 517 mile trip from the British Superbike Test day at Oulton Park on Thursday to arrive at the TT Circuit Assen. The journey was hampered by a flat tyre so he did not arrive until 5 am on Friday to face two free practice sessions.
The Randalstown racer was again competing in the World Surpersport Championship for Motozoo Racing by Puccetti with Ben Currie still not fully fit.
Looking to build on his experience at the opening round in Aragon, McManus was keen to be competing against the World’s top Supersport riders on such an iconic track. Known as the Cathedral of motorcycle racing the circuit has been on the World Superbike calendar since 1992.
The track conditions were windy all weekend but that didn’t stop McManus from making good progress on the circuit during the two Friday Free Practice sessions. He finished the first day 8 tenths faster than when he started.
Superpole took place on Saturday morning. McManus further reduced his lap time during the 20-minute session. He finished with a 1:40.918 putting him 29th on the grid.
Midafternoon and the first race of the weekend took place. 18 laps of the 2.83-mile circuit. Eugene made a solid start racing between the two Italians Filippo and Federico Fuligni in the opening laps. However, the race was cut short after a red flag appeared on lap 13. The result of a coming together between Tom-Booth Amos and Marcel Benner ended the first race early. Eugene McManus finished 21st.
McManus was feeling good for race two as he became more confident with the Kawasaki ZX-6R. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the start he wanted. He ran on into the gravel on lap one to find himself 17 seconds in arrears of the penultimate rider.
Steadfast in his desire to make the most of this opportunity and learn as much as he could he set about chasing the field ahead. By the sixth lap, he gained a position after Caricasulo had an incident that left him at the back of the field but more importantly McManus’ speed saw him reeling in the rider racing in front of him.
From 17 seconds off the back of the field, his deficit was reduced to 4.4 seconds by lap 11. By the end of lap 14, McManus had caught and passed the rider ahead lapping over a second quicker.
The race lasted the duration this time with McManus setting his fastest lap of the weekend. His 1:40.712 bettered his qualifying time. He crossed the finish line in 23rd place.