TSP Racing’s Steve Ham has boldly claimed the runner up spot in the ANDRA Top Alcohol Championship with a finals appearance at the series final in Sydney Dragway on Sunday.
Taking one step at a time in his big picture goal to one day win the championship, Ham’s intentions for this season were to simply pick and choose rounds that would assist in gathering data from various parts of the country in advance of a full commitment to a championship campaign in the future. However, their runner up spot this season has boosted the team’s confidence, and could see them undertaking more rounds next year than expected.
“We’ve had the big picture in mind for a few years now, and to be honest, our success this year in getting the silver medal has come a little earlier than expected when you consider we didn’t do all of the rounds. We’ve just so excited about how much power this car is producing and with our new racing partners in Everdigm and Queensland Rock Breakers joining ECL and RD Williams, we’ve got the drive to really have a serious tilt at this championship next year,” he said.
The ECL backed Funny Car played a punishing game of lost and found with the team last weekend, throwing away the first two qualifying runs of the event after the team simply missed the setup.
“We were just caught out. There’s no other way to say it, yet we weren’t on our own. We tuned the car conservatively at the start, but even then we weren’t getting down the track, and then it was almost a repeat performance in the second run. But after that we found our way again and set about getting down the track, for the last qualifier before going through the eliminations all the way to the finals.”
The Brisbane based team would take on fellow Queenslander and sixteen time national champion Gary Phillips in the final, and despite going relatively straight for the run, Ham couldn’t peg back his former mentor, and settled for the runner up honours for the event to match his second placing in the championship.
“Looking back over the data from the weekend, we can only put it down to underestimating the power this car has, which is really exciting. Sure the conditions on the weekend weren’t ideal but everyone had the same challenges. We just need more time on the track to understand just how potent this baby is, and then we can set about taming it and win some races!”
Now officially in the off-season, Ham has time to consider the potential of the next season.
“We’ll have the calculator out, that’s for sure. It’s just a matter of choosing the smartest and most effective way to tackle the calendar, and once we do that, we’ll get focussed and give it our best shot.”