'Disaster of a weekend' - Eugene McManus reflects on Donington Park turmoil

Eugene McManus was left to reflect on what might have been at the second round of the Pirelli National Junior Superstock Championship at Donington Park.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 12:40 pm

Three races were held on the support card of the British World Superbike round at the Leicestershire circuit, where changeable conditions added to the challenge faced by riders over the weekend.

In race one on Saturday, McManus crashed out of the lead in the wet conditions on the first lap at the Melbourne Loop after starting from row two.

The 22-year-old from Randalstown finished fifth in race two after powering his way through from 11th on the grid on the Affinity Sports Academy Kawasaki.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Eugene McManus (Affinity Sports Kawasaki) leads Simon Reid (Quattro Group Yamaha) in the Pirelli National Superstock class at Donington Park. Picture: Bonnie Lane.
Eugene McManus (Affinity Sports Kawasaki) leads Simon Reid (Quattro Group Yamaha) in the Pirelli National Superstock class at Donington Park. Picture: Bonnie Lane.

In Sunday’s third race, McManus crashed out of sixth place at the Melbourne Loop following contact with another rider, bringing the weekend to a close on a disappointing note.

“It was bit of a disaster of a weekend,” he said. "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,” he added.

“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.”

James McManus in action in the British Junior Supersport class at Donington Park. Picture: Bonnie Lane.

With no race this weekend for the class at Knockhill in Scotland, round three of the championship will take place at Brands Hatch from July 23-35.

Eugene’s younger brother James was also in action at Donington in the British Junior Supersport Championship, where the teenager endured a frustrating weekend with three DNFs in four races.

McManus, who is also competing in the World Supersport 300 Championship this year for Team 109 Kawasaki, finished fourth in race two after starting from 12th place on the grid.

He crashed out in the rain in the first race and was running at the front in race three at one point before another rider clipped his handlebars, with McManus taking a fall at Redgate as a result.

The young prospect encountered more bad luck in the fourth race when he was involved in a coming together with another rider as they contested fifth place.

“This weekend was a bit up and down,” he said. “It’s probably something to forget about really. In the first race it hammered down just as we were heading out.

“I got caught out at the top of Hollywood. I changed gear and the rear stepped out – just one of those things.

“In the race this [Sunday] morning I had contact with a rider at turn one battling for second and then I got caught up in a racing incident in the last race of the day. Not very much we can say about it,” added McManus.

“We had good pace all weekend. We have been unfortunate and move on to the next race weekend.”

McManus will next be in action in the World Supersport 300 series at Assen in The Netherlands (July 23-25).

Meanwhile, young Northern Ireland rider Cameron Dawson (MSS Performance/KMR Kawasaki) finished as the runner-up in two of the British Junior Supersport races at Donington.

Banbridge’s Simon Reid was sixth in the second Junior Superstock race on his Quattro Plant-backed Yamaha, with Sam Laffins coming home fifth in race three on the G&S Racing Kawasaki.