- Jeremy Ryan
James experiences Supersport 300 World Championship while Eugene battles back twice to score points
James McManus was thrilled to race on the world stage after being asked to fill in for an injured rider in Estoril, Portugal whilst Eugene McManus Junior endured the cooler climate of Brands Hatch to mount to great fight backs in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 championship.
Just as James McManus had thought his Supersport season had ended at the final round at Donington Park a couple of weeks ago an unfortunate injury to another rider saw him back in action this weekend. The Randalstown racer was called up by Team #109 to compete in the Supersport 300 World Championship event in Estoril on Wednesday night. Having only started ridingr a couple of seasons ago James found himself competing in a World Championship!
James had missed the track familiarisation talk and track walk arriving late Thursday evening to replace the insured Eunan McClinchy. FP1 was the first time he had seen the Estoril track. His progress over the three free practice sessions was impressive. A new track, very competitive riders and on another bike he managed to reduce his lap time by almost 2.5 seconds. In qualifying he took another 0.742 seconds off it. Although he did not qualify for the main race, and it really would have been asking an awful lot in the circumstances, he did get to compete in the 10-lap Last Chance Race.
At Brands Hatch Eugene was enjoying a good start to the weekend. He had ended Friday free practice as the third quickest rider in the Superstock600 class. On Saturday he was met with very different track conditions. It had rained overnight and the track was cold and damp. He still put in a very respectable 1:39.752 which put him 10th on the grid for race one.
Junior Supersport 300 World Championship Last Chance Race
James lined up with the number 86 on the fairing for his first taste of World Championship level racing. At the end of lap one he was 14th. The racing was close and positions changed regularly over the next few laps. By the middle of the race he was oscillating between 9th and 10th positions. He finished the race in the battle for seventh overall crossing the line ninth at the flag.
Paul Tobin of Team #109 praised James’ efforts pointing out that he was called up very late on and missed the track familiarisation. Tobin went on to say he had seen how well James had come on at the Affinity Sports Academy team this year, and already knowing the rider, had called his Dad on Wednesday to see if he would be available if needed. He was delighted with James’ efforts throughout the weekend.
Superstock 600 Race One
Eugene McManus Junior had an eventful first race. Having got away with the leading group his race was compromised on just the second lap. Caught up in another rider’s crash he had to take to the grass on Cooper’s Straight. This saw him drop twelve places to 22nd. He then set some really competitive lap times as he fought his way forward. With four laps to go he was 14th and four seconds behind the rider in front. He went on to set his three fastest laps as he clawed back the difference to catch and overtake for 13th position after 12 laps. His efforts rewarded him with an 8th place grid slot for the second race.
Superstock 600 Race Two
In the second race of the weekend, Eugene McManus Junior unfortunately lost five places in the first lap tussle dropping back to 13th place and losing touch with the leading group of riders.
For several laps he enjoyed a battle with number 91 Alderson as the two traded positions for the next few laps. By the middle of the race Eugene was able to maintain Alderson behind him and was running 12th.
He then set about closing the three second gap to the riders ahead of Valleley and Corderoy. He managed to pass Corderoy and move into eleventh with three laps remaining. Valleley had broken away from Corderoy and was still 1.7 seconds further down the road. McManus cut the gap to less than nine-tenths of a second by the end of the race but had run out of laps. He crossed the line 11th.
Eugene McManus Junior finished the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship on 30 points and 13th overall. James McManus was 12th on 52 points in the Hel Performance British Junior Supersport Championship which had its last race at Donington the round before.
E15 Racing and James McManus would like to thank Paul Tobin and Team #109 for inviting him to take part in the Supersport 300 World Championship and both riders would also like to say thank you to Kawasaki Team Green, the Affinity Sports Academy and MV Commercials for all their efforts and support throughout 2020.