- Jeremy Ryan
McManus on the podium at season opener
The Pirelli National Junior Superstock season, part of the British Superbike series, got underway at Oulton park Last Weekend. Eugene McManus qualified on the second row before claiming a superb podium finish in race one and a fifth position in a close finish in race two and the fastest lap.
After several days of dry weather conditions for the start of the weekend were not ideal for the competitors at Oulton Park. The first free practice session took place on a drying track with Eugene clocking the 12th fastest lap time. The second free practice session was also damp and although Eugene improved his lap time by more than 1.8 seconds he ended the first day in 15th overall.
On Saturday morning the sun was out with just a few scattered clouds. The better weather also saw a huge improvement in Eugene’s fortunes. During the 25-minute session he recording a best lap time of 1:41.188 putting him 5th on the grid just 4 tenths off the pace of the pole-sitter.
Race One 12 laps
The first race of the Pirelli National Junior Superstock race proved to be an excellent way to get the British Superbike season underway. 12-laps of thrilling action. Eugene McManus was able to make a solid start and whilst Corderoy made a break at the front McManus managed to set himself up in the chasing group of the race. After the race leader fell McManus was promoted to fourth by the end of lap six. Stanley lead from Talbot, Nixon and then McManus. The number 15 patiently stuck to the rear of the leaders as the laps ran down. With just a couple of laps left he began to make his move. Having had a first look at Nixon through Island bend he was able to pass the Santander Salt rider at the chicane. McManus then looked at taking Talbot for second at Lodge Corner but the number 19 held him off. But McManus got better drive down the start finish straight and as they turned into the first corner on the final lap McManus was up into second position. He wasn’t done yet though. He continued his search for the race victory. First looking at the inside line at Druids and then trying to take the inside line at Lodge to pass race leader George Stanley. The two touched as they rounded Lodge. Nixon was able to squeeze through on both and take the race win whilst McManus went on to cross the line in a superb third place.
Race Two 12 laps
Eugene’s fastest lap of 1:40.883 in race one meant he moved up to fourth on the grid for race two. As the lights went out Eugene McManus made a good start turning into Old Hall Corner in third position. At Hizzy’s he briefly moved into second position before crossing the start finish line third as he was retaken at Lodge corner. On lap four McManus ran a little wide and Zak Corderoy took full advantage to relegate McManus to fourth. Nixon was then able to squeeze through on McManus a couple of laps later. Determined to keep with the leading group McManus then set the fastest lap of the race on lap seven. On the final lap McManus closed in on Stanley who was now in fourth position but had to settle for fifth at the line 0.027 seconds behind the number 6 machine and just over a second from the race winner.
After round one Eugene McManus has 27 points and is fourth in the championship standings.
Eugene McManus said, “Race one was tough all the way through. I sat patiently and waited until the end. But we managed to get the podium. It was really enjoyable race. We made some changes for race two and the bike was even better. Although we weren’t on the podium the finish was so close I am not disappointed and we leave with some very valuable points.“
Round two of the Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship will be back at Donington Park on the 2 to 4th July 2021 where his brother James McManus will also be competing in the Hel Performance Junior Supersport 300 series.