I have played the mod a few times in the last year and didn't get crashes with the race & story events off, so I'm pretty sure that was the cause. Still a huge fan btw :)
Re. FTL speeds, I think the problem isn't the speed per se, but the fact that fuel consumption is not reduced in kind, so range is dramatically reduced in addition to speed.
This leads to a stall in the early game where you can't explore much if at all once you get FTL drives, forcing you to sit there for a while and rush the next level of FTL tech, and/or send your explorers on one-way suicide missions, which they are often extremely resistant to doing.
I also see swarms of white civilian traders just sitting around inhabited planets and not moving. I believe it's because they are spawned with the expectation something will be in range, without an actual calculation being done as it is with state ships. This limits the early game extra income you usually would get from those guys I think, making starts a bit rougher.
In some ways I like how this slows down the game but it feels unintentional and slightly broken so I think fuel consumption needs to be reduced a bit :\