Second place and third podium in a row for Eugene
The penultimate round of the Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship took place at Donington park last weekend with Randaltown’s Eugene McManus finishing with a fantastic second position. The Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy rider qualified second and led the early laps after taking the hole shot. After being nudged down to fourth at one stage he fought back to cross the line for his best result of the season.
The first of two free practice sessions on the Friday was on a wet track. McManus put in 13 laps. His fastest lap in the session put him 11th overall. By the time second free practice session arrived the track was dry and the laps times were much improved. McManus posted the fifth quickest time ending the day with a 1:35.170.
The Pirelli National Junior Superstock riders did not commence qualifying until lunchtime on Saturday. However, the track was still a cold 10 degrees and the rain was falling. On wet tyres McManus was hovering around 12th position with 7 and a half minutes remaining. The Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy rider then began to push as the clock was running down. On his penultimate lap he set his fastest lap of qualifying to put himself second and in the middle of the front row.
Eugene McManus made an excellent getaway from the start line as he took the hole shot into Redgate. He continued to set the pace at the front for the first three laps.
On lap four Championship leader Nixon managed to overtake at the Old Hairpin. McManus was then passed by Talbot and Corderoy meaning the three title contenders were at the front of the race.
Whilst Corderoy managed to pull away at the front a group of six riders battled for the remaining two podium places. The group became split on lap 8 when Caolan Irwin crashed out. This left McManus battling with Nixon and Talbot both one and two in the championship standings.
McManus moved into third spot as the riders approached The Esses on lap nine and by the end of lap ten he was in second spot and trying to make a gap between himself and the two riders behind. It was proving difficult but McManus was neatly through some back markers on lap 12 which gave him a few more bike lengths advantage.
Nixon and Talbot were fighting for the championship title and were keen to close McManus down and if possible put Eugene between themselves and their rival. As they entered Coppice on the final lap the three riders were racing one behind the other. Eugene held them off through the Esses for the final time. He ran slightly wide at The Melbourne Loop but recovered well and then coming out of the final corner the rear stepped out. McManus got it under control, gathered it up and crossed the line ahead of Nixon and Talbot for a superb second place finish at Donington park.
Eugene McManus said, “I am delighted the way this weekend went. It was difficult for everyone in qualifying in the wet but the team set the bike up just right for me. I felt confident to push hard at the end of the session and we managed to qualify second which of course set us up well for the race.“
“In the race we made a good start and I felt comfortable at the front of the race. It was definitely interesting all the way through and I am delighted for another podium finish.”