- Jeremy Ryan
Top five finish in a difficult weekend
The 22-year-old from Randalstown achieved a fifth place finish in the Pirelli National Junior Superstock series in an otherwise difficult weekend. With three races over the weekend Eugene suffered two DNFs alongside his top five result.
The second round of the series formed part of the World Superbike event at the Leicestershire circuit. Two dry free practice sessions did little to prepare the Junior Superstock riders for the weather on Saturday. During a rain soaked qualifying Eugene made the middle of the second row.
The weather was still poor for the first 12 lap event of the weekend that afternoon. Eugene managed to get-away from the line in some style taking the race lead in the opening corners. Unfortunately, it was to be short-lived as he succumbed to the weather conditions at the Melbourne loop near the end of the first lap.
On Sunday the riders had two more races. Eugene McManus was 5th again in the early morning warm up which boded well. He started the second race of the weekend from 11th on the grid. Launching off the line he was quickly up to 7th position. He made up more ground on the second lap moving into 6th place going one better the following lap. The front four riders had managed to open a gap whilst Eugene had his work cut out leading a group of seven riders battling for fifth. He and another rider then managed to gap the rest as the race went on but Eugene McManus managed to hold him off until the red-flag came out on the final lap bringing the race to a close. Eugene McManus had secured fifth place.
Later on Sunday the Affinity Academy rider lined up for the final 12-laps of Donington park GP circuit for this weekend. He would start 8th on the grid for the final race and made up two positions on the opening lap. He was battling another rider for fifth spot when the two came together at the Melbourne Loop and both crashed out of the race early on.
Eugene McManus said, “It was bit of a disaster of a weekend. It is what it is, you can’t dwell on it. It started off a brilliant weekend. We were fast, the pace was there and then in the first race I had a wee front end crash in the wet. In the second race I was OK. I got a finish that was the main thing I was after following race one. The third race started off OK and I was in the leading group. I started to make inroads and went past a rider at the beginning of the Melbourne hairpin but the rider came back at me and we both went down.”
The next race is 23-25th July at Brand hatch where Eugene McManus will be looking for a little more luck on his side.