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There are moments in sport, and then there are moments in sport, and the final in Top Fuel at The Bend was one of those in what has been heralded by many and the greatest Top Fuel show in Australian history.

Lamattina Top Fuel Racing made a significant stride towards the NDRC Australian Top Fuel Championship lead, with Phil Lamattina clinching the compelling and heartfelt victory at the Riverbend Nationals.


The victory marked a poignant moment for the entire crew, as Lamattina secured his first event win in nearly two years. The outpouring of emotion extended beyond the driver, as the win was dedicated to Gavin Coulthard, a longstanding crew member of 16 years, and his late daughter Sheridan, who tragically passed away earlier this year in a car accident.

“Gavin, Vera, Jackson, and Sheridan have been integral parts of our family for almost two decades, and losing one of our own has deeply impacted us. To share this moment with Gav and honour someone we all cherish is truly meaningful,” explained an emotional Lamattina.

“This victory symbolizes more than just racing; it embodies our collective resilience through challenging times, particularly for the Coulthards. This one’s for you, Sheridan!”

The triumph concluded what many have hailed as the greatest Top Fuel event ever witnessed in Australia. From a packed venue to record-breaking runs, spectators left the event enthralled by the spectacle. However, qualifying posed a challenge for LTFR, as the team grappled with mechanical issues hampering their performance. Despite setbacks in Q1 and Q2, the crew rallied to overcome adversity.

Round one presented an opportune moment for LTFR to make a championship gain, with Lamattina facing off against championship leader Wayne Newby. Despite the lack of data, Crew Chief Aaron Hambridge’s strategic decisions paid off, propelling Lamattina to victory with a stellar performance – the driver also doing his job with a holeshot off the line in the 3.837 to 3.798 win.

In round two, LTFR received a solo run, securing a spot in the A-Final with a 3.824. Although the nitro motor encountered issues towards the end of the run, the team remained undeterred.

Entering the A-Final against Damien Harris, LTFR was determined to clinch victory and Lamattina’s exceptional reaction time and flawless execution propelled the FUCHS Lubricants dragster to victory, clinching the win with a highly emotional performance, and on another holeshot 3.805 to 3.784.

The win significantly narrows the championship gap to just 34 points, positioning LTFR as a formidable contender. With the momentum building, the team looks ahead to the next event, the Nitro Champs at Sydney Dragway, with determination and focus.

“One thing we’ve learned is never to take anything for granted. We’ll continue to prepare meticulously, drive with precision, and strive to secure another championship, not just for ourselves but for those who have unwaveringly supported us,” Lamattina affirmed.

The upcoming double-header at Sydney Dragway’s Nitro Champs on May 4-5 presents another opportunity for LTFR to demonstrate their prowess on the track and further solidify their championship aspirations.

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