The start of our National series got underway this weekend at the immaculately prepared track at Westmill in Hertfordshire, not too far from London. This track is one of the best tracks we have here in the UK and is host for the B Euros next year. The track is a fast flowing track with lots of jumps and multi surface. Over the last few weeks the track has been baked by the surprising Mediterranean like weather and is now in great condition but very high grip and can be difficult to get good clean laps consistently as it can catch you out very easily and unexpectedly due to the high grip. The weather was looking okay for the Saturday qualifying day but not too good for Sunday finals day so our plan was to attack quickly on the Saturday as it is possible to TQ the meeting on the Saturday as we have 4 rounds and then one on Sunday morning with your best 3 rounds to count, so looking at the weather forecast it was important to do well on Saturday.
Saturday – Day One
We arrived at the track with a record number of entries. I heard that they had in the region of 15 – 20 reserve drivers so it was going to be a very busy meeting – everybody really excited for the first round and the weather looking great – sun shining. We had 2 rounds of practice so we knew basically what we were going to be using for our tyres which were the Proline Diamond Back. We were not sure what compound to run - it was either going to be X3 or X2 depending on the temperature later in the day. Practice went very well. The track was slightly different in grip level to what we had a few weeks ago at the warm-up as we had had quite a substantial amount of rain during the week leading up to the race so the track was a little loose in the morning but it wasn’t long before the grip was coming back so we were pleased as now we knew what we were going to be running. Elliott decided to use Diamond Back X3 compound to start and then move on to the X2 compound. Elliott was running the new Reds R5 Team Engine with the new red cooling head which looked fantastic in the Kyosho MP9. He was also sporting the new white radio box which Kyosho have just released in limited numbers.
This weekend also Elliott was to be using newly signed sponsor for his fuel for 2014 which will be Byron Fuel. The first round of qualifying Elliott unfortunately had a few bobbles and was only able to put a mediocre run in but we then made a few changes to the car which then he was able to go on to TQ the next 3 rounds of qualifying, which would give him the overall TQ, which was exactly what we had planned to do. His speed on track was amazing. On his average laps he was a second a lap faster than any other driver so he knew he had a lot of pace and felt very comfortable and had a lot of confidence knowing that he could drive at this pace without any problems.
Sunday – Day Two
We arrived on Sunday morning to a wet track so now we had one round of qualifying left we didn’t have to do this round but decided, looking at the weather forecast, we needed to be trying the car on a damp track in case it rained later in the day. Elliott decided to use the M4 Holeshot which always works well in the wet and was able to TQ the last round of qualifying. This guaranteed him a place in the semi-final later in the day.
Elliott was on pole for his semi-final. The weather had now returned to a dry track back to where we were the previous day so Elliott was now using the Proline Diamond Back X2 compound and we had made no changes to the car and the Reds engine was running perfectly and had been all weekend. Elliott started off his warm-up lap, had only done a quarter of a lap where he hit the table top wrong and the car went into a series of barrel rolls which unfortunately broke the rear shock bottom with a minute to go before the start of the semi final we had now gone from a relaxed situation to full panic mode where we had to get the car back to the pits to repair it to try to make the start. With the help of Mike Craddock and Liam Galvin we were able to get the car fixed, get it started and run over to the track as the cars had just passed the main straight on their first lap. Elliott was able to join the race but was now a lap down. We were now in a very difficult position as we had to finish 7th or above to qualify for the Main A Final. Elliott got his head down and was smashing some crazy laps in and was able to un-lap himself and get the car into 5th position which guaranteed him a place in the A Final. I think everybody was totally gobsmacked that he was able to get this done in a 20 minute race with 2 fuel stops. As someone commented “Elliott Boots is a machine”!!! It was an absolutely outstanding awesome drive and determination with such great sponsors and equipment behind him I don’t think he would have been able to do it with anything else.
Main A Final
With his 5th position finish it put Elliott 7th on the grid, which was mid pack. He knew he had to be careful at the start not to get tangled up and was able to make a good start and kept out of trouble and started to set some fast laps and then within 4.5 minutes of the race starting he was able to take the lead. At that point Elliott took full control of the race and was pulling away into a commanding lead for this 45 minute final. He now had a nice comfortable lead and was able to relax a little bit. His fuel stops were all perfect – his Reds R5 Team Engine was working perfectly with his new Byron fuel – the Kyosho MP9 was looking fantastic throughout the race and Elliott was able to lap the whole field and finish in first place to take the first round of the series and take command of the Championship. Elliott was still using Proline Diamond Back X2 Tyre which worked perfect from start to finish.
The next round is Coventry in May where hopefully we can repeat the same result. Elliott would like to thank all his sponsors for all their help and support.