George Russell needed a solid day on Saturday at Ellough Park to claim the Mini Max and he started his day well by taking pole position by nearly two tenths over Sam Marsh, Zubair Hoque and Adam Glear.
Russell led all 13-laps of the truncated first heat to increase his grip on the title. Hoque came within four tenths of denying him the victory and looked capable of passing the leader before the red flags waved for Seth James' accident. Russell's main points rival Glear finished fourth, in the middle of a tight scrap with Marsh, Lemuel Pay and Ryan Norris.
Russell's crowning moment came in heat two as he coolly broke away from the chasing pack to take the win by two seconds over Hoque, Marsh, Glear and Norris. Although the Mini Max class has seen a multitude of close, hard racing and five different winners Russell's 'cut above the rest' performance in this race was a perfect microcosm of how he won the title.
Proudly displaying the number one plate Russell led the field to the start of the final and took the lead with Hoque hot on his heels and the rest gradually falling away. As the 21-lap race wore on Russell inched away and even though Hoque came back strongly in the final couple of laps he was still 1.5-seconds behind the champion when the chequered flag fell.
Despite watching the title finally slip away Glear added another podium finish to his impressive tally in what has been a real breakout year for the Wavertree youngster with Norris and Jay Goodwin completing the top five.
Having clinched the title on Saturday Russell sat out Sunday's proceedings and that left the door open for James Beumee to cause a major upset by setting the fastest time in qualifying from Hoque, Goodwin and Josh Cornwell.
Beumee couldn't maintain his pace in the heats however as Goodwin took the early lead in race one only to be pegged back by Hoque, who went on to record a clear win with Goodwin just holding off Norris for second and Marsh completing the top four.
The second heat saw Norris take an early lead from Goodwin and Hoque before Hoque found a way past his TMR teammate and pulled away to complete the double victory. Norris was on course for second until a tap in turn nine from Ethan Patterson dropped him back to sixth and allowed Glear to pass both and claim second place from Goodwin and Pay with Patterson and Norris completing the top six.
Hoque started the final from pole and spent the opening laps trading the lead with Norris before finally establishing a gap. However a little way behind the leaders Marsh was on the move, passing Patterson, Goodwin and Norris to take second place at half distance before chasing down and overtaking Hoque for the lead on lap 13.
Marsh kept his nose ahead of Hoque for the remaining laps to take an emotional first FKS victory for the Ellough Park based RL team. Hoque finished sixth tenths down in second place with Patterson completing the podium from Bobby Thompson and Norris.