In a day that had showed plenty of promise, the RAW Motorsports run Fuelled Up crew’s Fun Cup race came to a dramatic and race stopping conclusion, when Paul Ellis-Smith was involved in a huge collision.
For this weekend it was Paul Taylor and Jamie Price joining Paul Ellis-Smith, with Wendy on the sidelines and in charge of race strategy.
They had qualified 16th fastest out of 20 but when the draw for race one grid positions came out they were 17th.
It was Ellis-Smith starting the race and it was an excellent opening lap, gaining two places immediately. By the end of lap four he was 13th and continuing to close on the car ahead, but then lost a place to recovering Championship leaders GCI Racing.
He soon fought his way back into 13th and was challenging to move up further, taking 12th place by the end of lap 15 and continued to hold the place through the first safety car intervention and as the first pitstop window approached.
But after 21 laps the safety was back out as Ellis-Smith had been forced to pull off, after the front left hub had split and wheel folded under the car. “There was no warning at all, so I just managed to park it. I had made a few places and feeling awesome, much better than testing and qualifying and I was feeling confident and then the hub went,” he explained.
The car did eventually come out again, “I got two stints and so did Jamie, the car was fine so we used it as an extended test for the night race,” said Taylor.
They still managed to take the flag in 18th place.
The second race was going to be a new experience for all three drivers, “we have done Enduro motorcycling in the dark,” Taylor admitted.
Ellis-Smith was in for the first stint again and they had drawn sixth in the grid. He was holding his place well as they charged up to Rocket on the opening lap and was a briefly a magnificent fourth. “I then tried to go down the inside of the next car and spun, but I was still in touch and began to take places back,” he said after dropping to 19th.
He had made three places by the end of lap three, but eventually pitted from 12th on lap 31 at the end of the pitstop window.
16th after the first hour, as both Taylor and Price began to grow in confidence with the night driving.
They lost one more place over the next hour as Ellis-Smith was at the wheel into the final hour and poised the next pitstop window.
Holding 16th still he then spun on lap 90 and the car stalled exiting the Bus Stop. “I was trying to restart the car and then the unsighted MJ Tec GITI car hit me hard,” he said.
After a lap behind the safety car the race was red flagged and results declared with 48 minutes on the clock still.
But more importantly both drivers walked away from the massive impact.