James McManus on the podium at Silverstone
Affinity Sports Academy rider James McManus took his first podium in the Junior Supersport Championship narrowly missing out on the race victory by just 0.050 seconds. The day before he had already achieved what was his series best result of seventh in only his second season of racing.
Coming in to the weekend James had one point from the opening round at Donington Park but leaves Silverstone with 30 in his pocket.
Older brother Eugene McManus also had a successful weekend as he achieved his best result in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 class, riding for the same team. His sixth place maintained his record of scoring in all three rounds and puts him on twenty points and 11th in the standings.
James’ weekend got away in positive fashion as he ended the second free practice session on Friday with the fourth quickest lap time. Eugene also had a good start as he ended the first day 13th overall. They both then went on to qualify well. Eugene registered a 58.023 which meant he would start 14th for Sunday’s race. James made the top ten for his first of two races with his lap time of 1.04.948 in the Junior Supersport class.
Junior Supersport Race One
Having qualified in tenth and just half a second from the pole position time James was looking forward to race one. As the lights went out he made fast work of the riders ahead. He was running in sixth position after just a couple of laps. James was tucked in well in the leading group of riders. Positions changed regularly and he dropped to 11th and then quickly recovered to 7th as 14 bikes formed the leading pack.
On lap 11 of 15 he almost high-sided after trying to avoid another rider who had braked early. Running over the kerb and getting the power down he somehow managed to hold on as the handlebars snatched from side to side and he ran off track.
James got his head down and set about chasing back to the leading group. In the closing stages he set his fastest lap of the race, a 1:04.995 as he went on to cross the line in seventh position, his best result of the year so far.
Superstock 600 Race
Eugene achieved his best finish of the season in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 race at Silverstone at the weekend. He lined up 14th on the starting grid and made a glorious start picking up three places in the first sector of lap one. By the end of lap two he was inside the top ten as he began a long battle with Zak Corderoy.
Corderoy and McManus exchanged positions regularly over the following laps. The two led a group of around 8 riders fighting for seventh place. An incident on the eleventh lap brought out the safety car and the riders all bunched up once more.
Laffins had to retire whilst the safety car was out which elevated Eugene to seventh overall. Once the race was underway again there were only around 6 laps left. Zak Corderoy briefly posed more problems for Eugene as he relegated the Randallstown rider to 9th before he regained the position. An incident on the final lap by the leading two riders saw them crash out and Eugene McManus Junior went to ride rode across the finish line in a superb sixth place.
Junior Supersport Race Two
James lined up fourteenth on the grid for race two. He made steady work at the start before picking off Leatherhead to move into 13th position on lap two. James then set the fastest lap of the race at this stage on lap three making up four more places as he firmly fixed himself in the group running at the front of the race.
By the fifth lap he slotted into fifth position although the following lap he was forced wide by an over enthusiastic lunge down his inside by a rival which saw him drop back to 7th.
It took a few laps before he made further progress moving up to sixth on lap 11. A lap later and he was back in fifth. There was still more to come though as James rounded turn one with three laps remaining he moved into second place behind the championship leader number 86 Owen Jenner.
Still James pressed on and on the penultimate lap in the final curves he hit the front of the race. Jenner was able to regain the lead as he used the slipstream and overtook at the end of the Wellington Straight. Despite James pushing as hard as he could he was unable to regain the lead and crossed the line just five hundredths of a second from the race victory.
There was no disappointment. James has showed he has the ability to race at the front and challenge for the victory. It was an amazing result and his first podium in the Junior Supersport class.
Eugene McManus Junior and James McManus would like to thank Kawasaki Team Green, the Affinity Sports Academy and MV Commercials for all their efforts and support.
The fourth round of British Superbikes is at Oulton Park on the 18th to 10th September.