James McManus shows podium potential at Thruxton
James McManus showed fantastic pace at Thruxton in the Hel performance British Junior Supersport Championship but it turned out to be a frustrating race weekend in terms of points. In the first race he fell on the last lap at the Club chicane whilst second, before missing out on the podium in race two by just 0.093 seconds.
Free and qualifying Practice
The Junior Supersport riders endured a wet track for free practice one on Friday morning. He finished the session safe and in 12th position overall. The track conditions improved significantly for qualifying on Saturday morning. James McManus took full advantage finishing with a best lap time of 1:27.951 and 8th.
Starting in the middle of row three the Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy rider made good progress on the first lap moving up to 6th at the end of the first lap. Lap two saw further improvement as he climbed to fourth in a group of eight riders. McManus continued to advance and was soon running second.
The race leader had already made a couple of seconds gap as the pack behind him swapped positions regularly. On lap four McManus ran wide at Church and dropped to 6th but just a lap later he had returned to fourth place. Clearly the number 14 had the pace moving back up to second in the latter stages of the race. He was then slipstreamed all the way down to the back of the group and 8th with just a lap to go, so competitive is this class.
However, coming through Brooklands and down Woodham Hill and into the chicane McManus was brave on the brakes and slipped all the way into second position as he turned into the chicane. Unfortunately, he may just have asked a little too much of his Kawasaki machine because as he switched direction to complete the chicane he lost the front and slid out of the race.
McManus lined up fifth in the middle of row two for the second outing at Thruxton. The track was damp after rainfall earlier in the day but the track was drying and there was still plenty of grip. McManus made a good start launching himself into fourth position off the line. He briefly moved into second position during lap one before crossing the start finish straight in third to start lap two.
The leading group of three riders quickly started to open a gap over the rest of the field of around a couple of seconds. Dawson who led the race initially pulled away as McManus and Joe Thomas battled for second place. However, on the fifth lap, perhaps as a result of the track beginning to dry, McManus lost some of his confidence in the front of his Kawasaki which enabled Thomas to take second position and break away from the number 14 rider.
From that moment on McManus slowly began to come under pressure from Davie in fourth. On the final lap Davie managed to catch and pass McManus as they came to the line snatching third place by 0.093 seconds.
James said, “I feel really positive even if the results have not been what we would have hoped for. We have shown how fast we can be all season. So a big thank you to Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy for preparing the bike. In both races this weekend we were fast and in the leading group. We were unlucky at the end but I know that our luck will change and the results will come.”
The next race for James McManus is at Most in the Czech Republic for Team #109 in the World Supersport300 Championship.