Smalberger wins GTC2, Need 3rd Polo Master
Lee Thompson Racing enjoyed its best national race weekend of the season with an overall win and both its drivers on the podium at Port Elizabeth’s Volkswagen Race Day Saturday. Charl Smalberger drove his iCorp Volkswagen LTR Golf GTI to a couple of third places to clinch the overall Sasol GTC2 win for the day, while Simon Need brought his Photonics LTR Polo home to a delighted third overall in the Engen Volkswagen Masters Cup at the Aldo Scribante Racetrack.
“Wow, that was a really good weekend,” Charl, who studies mechanical engineering at the local PE university admitted. “In Race 1 I had a good start and moved into second after Chris Shorter’s Mini and Bryn High in the Chevy collided in front of me, but the Chev got away with it and he had good pace, so I was looking good for second with second quickest lap. “But my car went into limp mode and I had to momentarily switch it off and on to reset the ECU and that let Trevor Bland past. “Still, I was happy with third.”
“That meant I started third-last on the reverse grid second race, but the start was a mess and I had to chase down Bradley Liebenberg’s Mini and pass him in front of my girlfriend at her first time at the track, so that was cool! “Then I caught Mandla Mdkane’s works Golf and I had more grip so I passed him into Hangar too and set off after Ian Stevenson’s Golf. “My car was quickest on track at that point and I fought hard to catch and pass him to make it two podiums and the overall win.
“I spent most of my varsity holiday before the race learning how to tune the ECU on our car with Lee and I think all our hard work paid off — I am really chuffed with the result — thanks so much to Lee and the lads!”
It was a great weekend for Mauritius-based Welsh gentleman driver Simon Need too as he continued to improve through his second year as an Engen Volkswagen Cup Master, ending 14th overall and 4th Master in race 1 before bringing it home 16th in race 2 and once again 4th among the Masters. That consistent performance was rewarded by 13th overall and a podium third overall in Masters.
“That was my best weekend yet!” Simon grinned. “It was a really tough weekend — this class is just so competitive, but all the hard work paid off and I was delighted to end up on the Masters podium this weekend. Thanks so much to Lee and the team — I am living the dream and it’s an absolute thrill!”
“That was a very good weekend,” team boss Lee Thompson admitted. “An overall win and a podium — my drivers can both be proud - well done to both Charl and Simon!” While Smalberger and Need now take a month’s break before the sixth round of the national roadshow at Zwartkops 12 August, Lee Thompson’s regional team heads to Welkom’s Phakisa Freeway this coming weekend for the fifth round of the Northern Regions Volkswagen Challenge Saturday 22 July.
Veteran Iain Pepper will lead the LTR charge in his Husqvarna Motorcycles Polo. “I am ready for the weekend — the lighties must watch out,” the Edenvale businessman and race team owner warned. Pepper will race alongside Thompson’s two other Class A Polos, Waldie Meintjes and Wayne Crous in his Delway version, while Shaun Crous will be out for Class C honours once again in his Ancro Building Projects LTR Polo Vivo.