James McManus romps to Maiden Junior Supersport victory
Completely Motorbikes/Affinity Sports Academy rider James McManus ran away with victory in race 2 at Donington Park at the weekend. His first race victory in the British Junior Supersport class followed a third-place from race one. Although there is still plenty of racing to be done, the 18-year-old from Randalstown now leads the championship by 3 points.
James McManus made another good start to the weekend finishing third in the free practice session on Friday evening, in the British Junior Supersport category.
It was 9 am at the Donington Park circuit when the 34 Junior Supersport machines made their way on circuit for an early start to Saturday morning. During the twenty-minute qualifying session, McManus maintained himself near the top of the timesheets throughout. With the session, almost complete McManus sat second just a few tenths away from pole position. There was just time for one more flying lap. McManus had saved the best. He swept around the Leicestershire circuit to register a 1.18.532 and take pole position by over three-tenths of a second.
McManus was determined from lights out to make the best of his pole position. He swept into Redgate taking the holeshot, followed by a train of riders. By the end of the second lap, a group of around seven riders had managed to make a small gap over the chasing pack. McManus dropped to third as he was swamped at the Esses at the end of the second lap.
The number 14 from Randalstown then fought back running up the inside at Schwantz Curve into second and by the end of the lap was leading the race again.
The leading positions changed regularly, sometimes for only a few bends others perhaps for half a lap but it was McManus that held the position for the majority of the race.
With three laps left there was a small gap between the first three riders and the rest of the field. McManus had lost the lead into turn one on lap 13 but by the end of the lap was at the front again as positions continued to change frequently.
The leaders then had to deal with some backmarkers on the final lap out of Starkeys Bridge and through Schwantz Curve. Negotiated safely the leading trio then only had to focus on McLeans, Coppice, the Esses and the chequered flag. As they headed into the final chicane McManus’s teammate managed to slip alongside him on the inside. McManus was forced onto a wider line and ran on slightly exceeding track limits on the very last corner. He crossed the line 0.1 seconds behind the race winner but was penalised 1 second for the unfortunate infringement and this placed him third.
Starting from the middle of the front row for the second race of the weekend, James McManus tipped into the first corner in the same position, slotting in behind his teammate Mikey Hardie.
By the end of lap two, McManus had made his way to the front of the race in a closely fought battle in the early laps. Positions changed again for the next couple of laps before McManus set a couple of really fast laps to make a small gap at the front of 0.6 seconds by the end of lap 5.
With his head down and in his rhythm McManus continued to set faster laps and by the end of lap seven had managed to make a gap of almost three and a half seconds, something really difficult in a class where all the motorcycles are so evenly matched.
James McManus was now lapping consistently low 1:18 whilst his rivals battled behind and his lead grew lap after lap. Unlike yesterday where having led most of the race and was pipped at the end, no one could match his pace and he methodically extended his lead to a huge 15.373 seconds at the flag. He took his first British Junior Supersport win and the fastest lap as well.
James McManus said “It is amazing to get my first win in the class and it fills me with a lot of confidence going forward to the next round. Thank you to all my sponsors, my parents and everyone else that has helped me get here. That race was for my Grandad and wee Darren McClelland as well. They’re not here obviously but that race win was for them.”