Randalstown’s James McManus stood on the podium at Donington park last weekend after finishing third in the second HEL performance Junior Supersport race. It was a sweet turnaround after taking a tumble in race one in very wet conditions. McManus is now one of three riders on 95 points and 8th in the championship standings with one round to go.
Free Practice and Qualifying
The Donington weekend started with a wet track late morning on Friday. James McManus finished the difficult session down in 20th position after a fall on lap 8 ended his session early. James wasn’t alone as nine riders fell on a very slippery Donington circuit.
Later on Friday the track conditions had improved. McManus managed to qualify inside the top ten with the ninth best time of 1:46.403.
Conditions for race one on Saturday were far from ideal. The rain was falling and the track temperature was around ten degrees. The circuit was cold, wet and very slippery.
On the opening lap McManus made a sensible cautious start to the race, tip-toeing to gain confidence with the surface. He crossed the start finish line in 10th at the end of the first lap. He then regained ninth a lap later and traded ninth and tenth positions with another rider for a few laps.
By lap seven of ten a number of riders had succumbed to the conditions and the rain was showing no sign of letting up. Unfortunately, McManus became another of those riders to fall on the wet track. He slipped off at Coppice uninjured. In total 11 of the thirty riders that started the race failed to finish in the poor conditions.
The second race was reduced to ten laps from 15 due to delays caused by the inclement weather earlier in the day. McManus made a blistering start from 14th on the grid. By the end of the first lap he was already running 6th and a lap later had gained another position to move into fifth place.
On the third lap James McManus’ rear tyre stepped out at Coppice but he regained control and continued as if nothing had happened. Just to prove it he went on to set his fastest lap of the race so far on lap four.
He was closing fast on the rider in fourth position and overtook the rider at the halfway stage of the race. He was now in a group of four riders contesting second position.
On lap six he made a move into the Esses to move up into third position and repeated the same move a lap later to go second. McManus held second position until the first corner of the final lap. He wasn’t done yet though as the two riders battled over second position for the next few corners swapping positions and then back again in some close, hard but fair racing.
In the end McManus had to settle for third spot but a podium was a just reward for what was a magnificent performance.
James McManus said, “I am so happy with the result in race two. After race one I just wanted to get back out there and show what I could do. In those conditions yesterday it was easy for anyone to go down and I wasn’t alone. Today I got a great start and just got my head down. I had great pace and managed to pick off most of the riders in front of me. It is great to stand on the podium again. A big thank you to my team Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy for providing me with a great bike and thank you to all my sponsors.”
The final round of the HEL Performance British Junior Supersport Championship is at Brands Hatch on 15-17 October.