Thompson comeback ends in Classic Cup title

David Thompson’s return to the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) has been rewarded with a title, winning the 2022 ARC Classic Cup.

Thompson kicked off his 2022 ARC campaign in Launceston where he was unfortunately unable to continue the rally after the second stage.

But it was all upwards from there as the Middle of Everywhere Gippsland Rally served up a full weekend of action, completing the rally in 16th position outright and second in his class.

Thompson was able to improve his outright position by one spot next time out at the Adelaide Hills Rally, with the 15th place finish solidifying a solid weekend out for the sole Classic Cup runner of the rally.

His biggest challenge came at the final round of the 2022 season at the Supercheap Auto Coffs Coast Rally, where a back-and-forth battle between himself and Ian Griffin ultimately secured Cup honours.

After losing the opening stage of the weekend, Thompson won the following six stages before suffering a setback which allowed Griffin to extend to a 13-second advantage.

From there on out, the eventual champion matched his six-stage win streak earlier on to storm to the end of the rally in fine form.

Photo: Daniel Kalisz

Unfortunately, the winning margins weren’t enough to make up for his SS1 and SS8 defeats falling just over four-seconds short of Griffin by the conclusion of the weekend.

Despite just falling short on the Coffs Coast, he had accumulated enough points to seal the 2022 ARC Classic Cup.

Thompson was pleased to reward a return to the class with a Cup victory and looks forward to returning to what is expected to be a competitive 2023 season.

“It’s nice to make a successful comeback to rally racing to then also take out the cup, it’s been 22 years since I last won a championship so it’s a great feeling,” Thompson said.

“The car was magnificent, I moved from a XY GT to a RX7 rotary twin turbo its lightweight, great suspension and its quite quick, it’s been a pleasure to drive throughout the season.”

“Driving the roads in South Australia were magnificent and a highlight for me, the gravel roads were so fun to drive and better than I had seen anywhere else. To also be doing 26km stages and being within 0.9 seconds every time against a good competitor in Ian Griffin in the last round, to be swapping times was very enjoyable.”

“I’d like to thank my navigator Mathew Sanders, he is a very important part of what we do together and without his help we wouldn’t be anywhere near it, I’d also like to thank the opposition who also made the last event in particular very enjoyable.”

“I’ve got plans to return, the first round is in my home state of Tassie, so I’d like to be able to get there, but I hope to make every round next season.”

Securing the ARC Classic Cup co-drivers title was Matthew Sanders, who shared the car alongside Thompson.

Sanders was elated to score the win and saw it as more than a personal victory.

“I always think it’s a good thing for the classic cars to get the win in anything, so to get the classic cars to the end is always rewarding” Sanders said.

“I am of the attitude of never say never until you get to the end, we have won the Australian Championship before, so we kept our head down and bum up and just kept working on it and never say it is done till it’s done.

“I haven’t fully decided yet (on rallying in 2023) we missed Perth this year so we are thinking we might at least do that, whether we will do the whole series again we haven’t decided.

“We would like to also do a bit in New Zealand, I have been over there before with the classics and quite enjoyed it so we might look to do a bit over there as well.

“The Coffs Coast event surprised us, when we did reconnaissance we didn’t think we were going to enjoy it as much as we did.

“Also, the shire roads in South Australia are always the ones that please although they got cut short this year. Gippsland was quite good too, I quite enjoyed that event as well.

“I’d just like to thank ‘Thommo’ (Thompson) for having me as his navigator again and our service crew that keep rocking up and keep looking after us, it’s a good team effort.”

Feature Photo: Zed Photography