The British Supersport rider from Randalstown managed two solid points-scoring finishes with an 8th in the Sprint race on Saturday and a superb 6th place in the Feature Race on Sunday. It was the first time the Completely Motorbikes/Affinity Sports Academy has scored points in both races in a weekend this season. This combined with his great pace leaves him confident of a good weekend at Knockhill on 17th to 19th June.
Eugene McManus got off to a confident start on the 1.98-mile National circuit at Donington Park. Early on Friday morning, he set the sixth quickest time in the British Supersport Class in FP1. The afternoon session proved a little more eventful with a trip to the gravel but a red flag came out at the same time and McManus was able to rejoin and finish FP2. He needed the day in a positive 8th overall.
Conditions were good for qualifying with blue skies overhead for the 25-minute qualifying session. McManus improved his lap times from Friday and with 4m left put in a fresh rear tyre to set about trying to improve his grid position for race 1. However, he was unable to match the gains of some of the riders around him and slipped to 14th in a tightly packed field. Taking into account the GP2 riders that compete in the same race Eugene would line up 16th for race one.
The initial race had to be red-flagged after an incident at the final chicane on the very first lap. When the shortened 16-lap race re-started Eugene McManus made a thundering start from 16th on the grid. By the second lap, he had made it into 9th position. During the opening half of the race, he was in a group of around six riders and traded places several times with Luke Jones as they exchanged 9th and 10th between them.
By the tenth lap, McManus had managed to overtake Jones again and went on to hold the position taking the chequered flag with an 8th place finish and eight championship points.
The 24-lap Feature Race got underway without a hitch with Eugene McManus starting 10th. A tricky lap one saw McManus slip to 12th but he immediately started to regain the lost positions the following lap.
By lap three he was running 9th and beginning to close on the rider ahead. Eugene was setting some of his best lap times of the weekend as he moved into 7th spot on lap 6. McManus continued his good pace as he began to close the rider ahead passing and taking up 6th spot in the race by the end of lap nine.
McManus continued to set good lap times and needed to as although he was ahead of the New Zealander Damon Rees, the Kiwi was not giving up the fight. McManus did eke out a small, advantage but was soon closed down again and had to keep his concentration to stay in 6th.
Having set his fastest lap of the weekend Eugene McManus brought home his Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy Kawasaki across the line in 6th place to earn himself ten championship points.
Eugene McManus said,” It was a good weekend. Two solid results after a difficult qualify session so happy with that and looking forward to Knockhill. Thanks to the Completely Motorbikes / Affinity Sports Academy Team and all my sponsors. I would also like to say congratulations to my brother on his win in the Junior Supersport class and of course, we all wish a speedy recovery to Josh Day and David Jones.”