Wednesday, 29 January 2014
A last minute change in the ANDRA Top Alcohol calendar has inspired last season’s runner-up Steve Ham to load the transporter and head west to Perth for this weekend’s opening round of the championship.
Ham’s East Coast Lubes backed team had originally intended to sit out the opening round and join the tour from the now cancelled Adelaide round, motivating Ham to call on a favour from a long-time supporter to hitch the trailer and head across the Nullarbor.
“We’d done our sums when the calendar came out and really wanted to invest our finances in going quicker more than diesel costs, but with the calendar changing, we’ve called in a favour from Brady at Metal Trades Group and he’s dropped everything to get our rig over to Perth. I’m really thankful to him for taking care of us, but I’m also a little scared what he’s going to ask as a favour in return!” Ham jokingly conceded.
“I really feel like this weekend’s opening round is going to set the tone for the rest of the season,” Ham said. “Whoever is quick in Perth will be quick for the rest of the year and with the horsepower we keep finding in these Noonan X1 heads, we can’t afford to miss being part of the action.”
The ECL Mustang heads into the 2014 championship as the quickest and fastest Top Alcohol Funny Car in the country, and with every date on the calendar locked and loaded, Ham is determined to go one better than his two runner-up results in the past three seasons, and finally nail a championship win.
“The records prove we can be the ones to beat. It’s just a matter of making that work now and consistently going rounds and being able to do on the west coast what we’ve been able to do on the east. It’s game on!”
And as much as Ham is excited about returning to the West for his third visit, he’s well aware that just getting to the opposite side of the nation can affect the outcome of the racing.
“Back in 2008 we had a win over a star-studded field at the Westernationals driving a AA/Altered in Competition Eliminator, but in 2010 we returned in a Top Alcohol Funny Car, only to have the car damaged in the transporter on the way over, and as a result the bent body broke the beams in the first round of eliminations and ended our meeting. So I can assure you, everything is tied down super tight in the transporter this time!”
The ANDRA Top Alcohol Championship begins this weekend alongside Top Doorslammer as part of the Pro Showdown event at the Perth Motorplex, with Ham’s first appearance slated for 5:30pm on Friday for three rounds of qualifying, before returning Saturday from 6pm for eliminations.
For fans unable to attend the event, live audio streaming of the Motorplex commentary is available at www.motorplex.com.au and by clicking the “live audio” icon at the bottom-right of the screen.