David Thompson was pleased to prove the doubters wrong during the 2023 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) season, with the 68-year-old veteran claiming his second ARC Classic Cup title in as many years.
Having taken out top honours for the class in 2022 after attending every round, Thompson was able to replicate his title feat this year despite facing stiff competition from several regular competitors.
Ending the year on 355 points, Thompson entered five of the six ARC events in 2023, picking up Cup heat wins in Launceston and Western Australia before an outright win in Gippsland put him in the box seat for the title.
Despite crashing at South Australia, once the drop round regulation came into effect, Thompson had done enough to claim the title by 44 points alongside regular co-driver Matthew Sanders.
“It’s great to have won the title again, but we probably sustained a bit more damage than we did last year,” Thompson said.
“With that said, we only had the one major mishap, which came in Adelaide where a driver-error saw us in a stone wall. But the RX7 is extremely fixable.
“Even though we had that problem, Adelaide had the best roads I have ever driven on – they were remarkable roads and it was a really good event. I can’t wait to go back.
“This year was also more of a challenge than last. There was some new and really good competition at every event, so it made the win even sweeter in the end.
“Obviously, the events were tough this year, but our pace increased, and we jumped 60 places on the seeding list – so I think it was a hugely successful season from the point of view.
“A lot of people said that I won’t be able to do it again this year, but I certainly proved them wrong.”
Throughout the season, Thompson’s biggest challenge came from his son Ivan, who was at four rounds and picked up some heat wins along the way, however David still showed superiority across the full campaign.
And with both drivers locked in to run in the growing class next year, the Tasmanian was looking forward to potentially going for the trifecta.
“This year was special from both a sentimental and statistical point of view,” Thompson added.
“It was probably our best season overall and while the end result was a large contributor, I think doing the season with Ivan was amazing. I don’t get to spend time with him often, so being able to compete with him was very rewarding.
“The future is bright is for the class and it’s better than what it was two years ago. I know that there will be more crews coming next year, which will make it interesting.
“Both Ivan and I are also looking to upgrade for the 2024 season – we might not be there in Canberra, but we’re definitely going to be doing every other round.
“I will likely be upgrading to a Ford Capri Perana V8, while Ivan will switch to a Holden Torana SL/R 5000.
“I want to carry the momentum of the last two years into next season, so it’d be nice to get a hattrick. If anyone wants to take the title off me, let them come and try. I have won the title two-years-in-row even though I am grandfather, so I am really looking forward to having some fun.”
The 2024 ARC season begins with Subaru Canberra Rally of Canberra on 5-7 April.