Steven Ham took his second career win as Gary Phillips wrapped up his 17th ANDRA championship title on a pivotal night of the ANDRA Drag Racing Series at Hidden Valley Drag Strip in Darwin.
Ham's 5.645 second pass in the final defeated a close but losing 5.732 from John Cannuli and in the process moved to second in the championship, albeit out of reach of Phillips' points lead.
The win did not come without its share of drama for Ham, with the team enduring a run of gremlins interfering with the 3500 horsepower East Coast Lubes Funny Car.
"A lot of hard work went into it just to get us to the last round here tonight," he said. "We had no working data logger, no tachometer, oil pressure problems, it was just drama central and we had to put it all out of our minds and just go for it."
"We just had to tune from looking at the spark plugs and what each run looked like on the video camera."
Ham explained the tropical conditions meant the team needed to ramp up the power in order to keep up with the excellent Hidden Valley track surface.
"We've had to really step on the motor a lot to make the power we need to get down the track; it wasn't making that much power in this humid air," he said.
Phillips meanwhile enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate his 17th ANDRA title. It was his 16th in Top Alcohol, adding to his single Top Doorslammer championship.
"We're over the moon to win, every season is still a challenge and that is why we keep coming back," he said.
"Mathematically we are now out of range of Steven (Ham) in the points and that means we can breathe a bit easier and enjoy the final round in Sydney."
The stories on the track weren't just limited to Top Alcohol with Western Australian rider Greg Durack earning a win at what became his debut event.
Durack expected to race at the Fuchs Winternationals in June and qualified well, but rain meant no racing could be run and he had to put off his dreams until August, where Darwin made up for the Brisbane weather in spades.
"We're rapt to come to Darwin and get a win in Top Bike, we top qualified and had a perfect weekend, we couldn't ask for anything more," he said. "Everything worked pretty well, it was all consistent and I think we've still got some more performance potential yet to come."
Durack used a 7.092 pass to defeat points leader Chris Porter who sent sparks flying as he tried to keep his nitro-fuelled Harley in his own lane.
Top Alcohol is now left with just one round remaining, the Australian Nationals at Sydney Dragway in November, while Top Bike's penultimate championship round will be a part of the return of ANDRA Drag Racing Series action to Calder Park in October.