Podium finish for James McManus at Silverstone
James McManus was also delighted as he made a fantastic start to the season challenging for victory in both 15-lap races finishing race one in fifth place and race two in third position on the Silverstone National circuit.
The riders and spectators could not have asked for better weather to commence the 2022 British Superbike season. Summer-like temperatures and sunshine bathed the Northamptonshire circuit throughout the weekend.
The British Junior Supersport category of the British Superbike Series had its one free practice session on Friday. James was at the sharp end of the leaderboard throughout finishing third overall.
With the sun beginning to cast long shadows at the circuit James McManus went out for the 25-minute qualifying session. He was one of the last riders out onto the track during the evening session but soon set about his work. McManus was quickly inside the top ten. Half-way through the session, he was placed sixth overall. With under ten minutes remaining McManus rose to fourth. In the latter stages of the session, he managed to find some clear track before setting a 1:03.873putting him on the front row of the grid in 3rd position.
There was a long wait for the British Junior Supersport riders on Saturday. Their first race of the weekend was not scheduled until 17.45. However, it was worth the wait.
James McManus stormed off the start line to sweep into Copse Corner in the lead. With the bikes so evenly matched, it is hard to break away and James’ lead came under threat lap after lap. One rider after another would slip passed the number 14 of McManus only for the 18-year old from Randalstown to quickly regain the race lead.
McManus showed great pace and racecraft to keep himself at the front of the field. He led almost every lap across the line until lap 12. On lap 12 McManus was bundled down the order through a couple of corners but only 0.115 seconds behind the race leader in a compact leading group.
With three laps to go McManus was looking to position himself for a return to the front or at least a podium finish. Unfortunately for James McManus, the race was red-flagged. It was over and McManus had to settle for fifth just half a second behind the rider awarded the race victory.
A slightly frustrating end after leading so many laps but he had shown he was able to run at the front and with a little more fortune would have been standing on the podium.
The second 15-lap race of the weekend saw McManus start from twelfth on the grid. He didn’t waste much time in making his way to the front. He was already up to eighth as they arrived at Maggots and by the end of the first lap was running sixth.
By the end of the third lap, McManus had hit the front of the race. Positions changed regularly but McManus was often able to return to the front on the brakes into Brooklands.
The front three riders were then given some breathing space as a crash by another rider split the leading group giving them around a two-second advantage over the chasing pack. McManus was battling to stay at the front against his teammate Mikey Hardie and Harry Cook.
The battle intensified in the final stages. On the last lap, McManus came from third to first as they braked into the lefthander and into Luffield but as they came out of the final corner McManus crossed the line third just 0.045 seconds from the race winner in an extremely close finish.
James McManus said “I am very happy the way the weekend has gone. We had race-winning pace all weekend and the races themselves were fantastically competitive. Although we didn’t get a race victory we were very close and we have left with some very useful points and a podium. So yeah I am very happy. A big thank you to Affinity Sports Academy and all my sponsors and those people that follow us.”