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Long-time Lamattina Top Fuel Racing Crew Chief, Aaron Hambridge, has announced the Goldenstates Championship in Perth was his last event in the role. Hambridge is stepping away from permanent team responsibilities, to concentrate on his Advanced Performance Machining business, and personal life.

“I am stepping away because of work and family commitments, the kids are getting older, and I want to spend more time with them,” commented Hambridge.

“The automotive and engine reconditioning industry is tough nowadays with fewer people involved, this means a lack of staff, and it’s hard for me to be away. It’s been 11 years, it is an unfortunate decision, but it is one I had to make.

“I love the sport, but I have to prioritise my family, I have been practically full time drag racing since I was 17. I had to do the right thing by me, but also the team, it is not fair for me to be running the show when my head is not in it either.

“The car is still next door, I still will be walking in there every single day, I will still be offering advice, I will still be available for them to call and ask for advice if they need it. If they need me, I may turn up for a race here or there, I just have not to be involved full time anymore.”

Hambridge wrapped up his Top Alcohol team in 2011 and jumped on an offer from Phil Lamattina to join the team as Crew Chief – going on to tune LTFR to two championships. His time with LTFR also included a stint as driver, recording a personal best of 4.61 seconds and clocking a record speed of 336.43MPH.

“We’ve had some mad highs, with winning championships with Phil and Kelly, holding national records for periods of time. The opportunity to drive myself was amazing, getting to crew chief on one let alone drive one is every young drag racer’s dream.

“I thank Phil for asking me to have a go, and when I did stumble, they were always there and continued to have faith in me, I appreciate that. So, I can’t thank Phil, his brothers and the whole Lamattina family enough for the opportunity I received.”

LTFR Team Owner, Phil Lamattina is sympathetic of Hambridge’s situation and accepted his decision to leave the team.

“I discussed this with Aaron, and were hoping we could make it to the end of the season, but I understand his business commitments made it too hard,” said Lamattina. “We run a business as well, and when you can’t commit to time, it makes it very difficult. So, at the end of the day, instead of having it linger on any longer, we may as well move on.

“He has a business and family to look after and we wish Aaron all the very best, it has been one hell of a ride. To come from humble beginnings when I made the phone call out of the blue to see if he was interested, and the rest is history.”

Moving forward for LTFR, and after a season of running under the guidance of Hambridge, Luke Marsden will now transition into the role of Crew Chief for both LTFR Top Fuel Dragsters. This will begin on Friday with Lamattina’s FUCHS Lubricants dragster, as the team prepare to test new componentry at Sydney Dragway’s Full Throttle Friday.

“The initial passes will be to obtain a baseline to changes we have made with the fuel system and clutch setup,” said Lamattina. “And we are also looking at running and testing some new clutch components. “I am also looking forward to giving Luke an opportunity to run my car, and become familiar with it before we head to Willowbank.”

LTFR also want to recognise and thank the assistance received from other Top Fuel teams in tough circumstances globally, to keep these machines maintained and ready to rock between events.

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