On the weekend of the 21st of May a young man from Randalstown in Co. Antrim will embark on his 2021 World Supersport campaign with the Ballinhassig based motorcycle racing team Team #109. James McManus is still fine tuning his craft in short circuit racing but has racing in his genes following in the footsteps of his older brother Eugene Jnr. and not forgetting his father Eugene Snr. a former GP rider with Team Millar Racing in the 500cc era. We got a few words from the softly spoken youngster ahead of their preseason test in Catalunya a few weeks back.
As you mentioned, you've already had the benefit of a full season in the British Junior Supersport Championship with Team #109 in 2019. That will have provided a great base for your campaign with the Affinity Sports Academy.
I started my first full season in British Junior Supersport in 2019 with Team #109 after a few races with them at the end is the 2018 BSB season. It was a real good year in 2019 for me as there was no real pressure or expectations on me, it gave me a year to learn the tracks then bike etc. and gave me a really good chance to hit the ground running in 2020. And after a short season last year it was a bit hectic but I learnt so much in such a short period of time, getting my best result of Second at Silverstone and consistently running near the front towards the end of the season. I know I just want to focus on building on last year and strive for more now in 2021.
Since conducting the interview James and Team #109 have successfully completed their first pre-season test at Catalunya as part of then official World Superbike Test with steady progress being made onboard the Kawasaki Ninja 400. There’s no doubt that the deal put in place by the Hurley family and Paul Tobin in securing James’ talents for 2 years will pay dividends as the youngest ever Irish rider to compete at a World stage embarks on a busy 2021 campaign both domestically in the British series and internationally in the World Supersport 300 Championship. Photographs courtesy of our good friends at Road Racing Ireland.
Donal J. Arnold CMRVC PRO