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  • Jeremy Ryan

More points for Eugene Mcmanus at Donington

Eugene scored a solid sixth place in the Sprint Race at Donington Park in the British Supersport Championship to take his points total to fifty. A jump start in the Feature Race stopped him from adding to that figure. James McManus suffered further misfortune at the circuit. Despite getting faster in every session of the weekend, he was caught up in the mechanical issue of another rider in the race on Saturday before suffering a technical issue of his own in the one on Sunday.

Free Practice

Similar to the round at Oulton Park the riders were split into two groups due to the large number of entries. Wet tyres were required for Free Practice One on Friday for the Rokit Haslam Racing riders. Twenty-five minutes of lapping a damp Donington Park GP circuit saw Eugene finish 5th and James 9th. Conditions were much better in the afternoon. Eugene ended third in his group with James 17th on the dry track.


Qualifying

With over 50 riders looking for track time to qualify on Saturday morning the British Supersport riders were split between two qualifying groups. Eugene and James were both selected in the first group to go out.

Ten minutes into a cold session Eugene was lying 5th with James 11th. Unfortunately, James came off at Craner Curves having completed 6 laps. Eugene managed to complete a total of ten laps and looked to have finished second after a flying lap at the end of the session. However, he had slightly exceeded track limits so ended third in the qualifying group.


Combining the times of the two qualifying groups saw Eugene head row three in 7th position and James start from 29th.


Sprint Race (12 laps)

Forty riders made up the Sprint Race grid. A 12-lap race under overcast skies at Donington Park.

The Ducati Panigale V2 of Eugene made a solid start through the opening corners whilst James climbed a couple of places to 27th in the race and 23rd in the British Supersport class.


By lap three Eugene McManus was 8th battling with two riders for 6th spot with the leading group, including two Worlds Supersport level riders, started to open a gap. On lap seven Eugene managed to pass one of the riders ahead to move up a position and with a faller in the leading group gained another place. Now running in 6th he closed in on the rider in fifth overtaking him at the Melbourne Hairpin. A small error, while braking into the next corner at Goddards, saw the rear wheel lift off the ground and the bike fishtail before he gained control. This gave his competitor time to recover fifth position. Eugene went on to cross the line in sixth position.


Further back James initially made some progress but it was always going to be hard to work his way through such a large number of motorcycles ahead, especially as he was unflinchily fighting off the aches and pains of his fall in qualifying. Unfortunately, James didn’t finish the race as another rider suffered a mechanic incident. The stricken rider was slow to raise his hand meaning James was forced to take avoiding action running onto the grass. Rejoining the track where he had left was almost impossible and with just a lap to go, he decided to bring the bike back to the pits and suffered another DNF.

Feature Race (18 laps)

An accident on the first race meant a red flag came out and the re-run was shortened to 15 laps. Unfortunately, Eugene McManus made a jump start and was penalised with a double long-lap penalty. The penalty was upgraded to a ride-through and then a black flag after Eugene failed to realise he had received the punishment.


James McManus immediately gained a couple of places on the opening lap due to two riders not making the re-start but made up a further three places on his own accord. However, his run of misfortune continued this weekend with a technical fault bringing his race to an early conclusion as he was forced into the pits.


Eugene said,” I am pleased with the way the Sprint Race went on Saturday. I finished in sixth place and ahead of me were two World Supersport riders racing this weekend. The Feature Race got stopped on the first lap and on the re-start, I misjudged the lights and went a fraction too early. I was so focused on the rider ahead that I did not see my pit board indicating the penalty. It was not until the black flag came out and I returned to the pits that I realised I had been penalised.”


James said, “The results don’t reflect all the effort everyone in the team including me put into the weekend. But we are not going to let it get us down. Sometimes these things happen in racing. We know we can get good results. We improved our best lap times in every session throughout the weekend and with a little more fortune we will score points soon.”

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