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  • Jeremy Ryan

Plenty of positives despite no points in Navarra

There were plenty of positives after a frustrating start to this season’s British Supersport Championship. Both McManus Brothers should very good pace all weekend but ultimately left Round 1º empty-handed.

There was an electrifying buzz at the Circuito de Navarra which has become the new home of the opening round of the British Supersport Calendar.

After two days of testing in mixed conditions at the Circuito de Navarra near Pamplona in Spain, Round One of the British Supersport Championship burst into life. The Northern Spanish circuit basked in the Mediterranean sunshine as it made its debut on the BSB Calendar.

Free Practice

On Saturday the riders completed two 20-minute free-practice sessions. In FP1 Eugene McManus started in a determined fashion finishing second quickest and James was a very solid ninth overall. As the temperature and competition heated up in the second free practice session of the day Eugene managed 4th (just 2 tenths away from the fastest lap time) with James again improving and enabling him to consolidate ninth place.


Both riders had done enough to directly enter Q2. Eugene and James were two of the 25 riders that made up the second qualifying session that would define the front grid positions. Eugene managed six laps during the session and James eight, however, both posted their fastest times on the third lap of Q2. The Rokit Haslam Racing Ducati riders completed a satisfying qualifying session. Both would start on the second row of the grid, Eugene fifth and younger brother James in sixth position. With Jack Kennedy having qualified fourth it was an all-Irish second row.

Sprint Race

The Sprint Race was 12 laps of the 3.9-kilometre track on the Sunday. The team was feeling positive as the weekend had gone well so far. In the morning warm-up, Eugene had set the fastest lap time and James was fifth quickest.

Lap one went well with Eugene McManus moving up to 3rd overall from 5th on the grid. James had a tougher start but remained inside the top ten in 9th spot. James continued to move up reaching 7th by the end of the third lap and looking to chase the leading group.

Eugene was running well in the lead group moving into 2nd position on lap six. He ran slightly wide shortly afterwards and lost the position. Eugene recovered and cut inside the other rider to try and regain the place. The other rider made contact with Eugene and he went down and out of the race. The other rider would later receive a 28-second penalty as the race finished.

James rose to sixth place and had a comfortable lead over the rider in seventh. Unfortunately, he crashed out at turn 10 on the sixth lap.

Feature Race

The second race on Sunday was the 18-lap Feature Race. Eugene would again start 5th for the race whilst James headed row three in 7th position. The race had barely got underway when misfortune struck James McManus. In a typical racing incident, a rider ran into the back of him after just a few corners. The impact caused his rear tyre to come off the rim and his race was over almost before it had begun.

Eugene made a solid start running sixth and in the leading group. However, after avoiding two riders almost coming together ahead of him the number 15 ran a little too hot into one of the left-handers just afterwards and lost grip crashing out.

The results proved to be a tough end to what had been a very positive weekend. Both riders were running at the sharp end and with good lap times.

Eugene said, ”I am disappointed not to have come away with something after all the work everyone put in and the pace we showed. However, we will learn from it and we will now focus on the second round of the season at Oulton Park.”

James said, “Loads of positives from this weekend even if they did not show in our results. The bike felt great. Clearly, this is a track none of the riders have much experience of. We will have to work very hard to maintain our qualifying position at circuits where the more experienced riders have ridden a Supersport bike many times before. But we will be giving it our best as always.”


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