Cape racing gods scowl on Lee’s lads
Lee Thompson Racing enjoyed a mixed weekend across the board in the Cape, with all five team drivers experiencing the highs and lows of motorsport at the second round of the Extreme Festival at Killarney. Charl Smalberger missed Friday practice as he graduated as a mechanical engineer in Port Elizabeth before jetting back to endure a tough weekend on the back foot from there, while both rookie Delon Thompson and veteran Simon Need finished one of their two Polo Cup races and Crous brothers Wayne and Shaun also had their share of the racing roundabout in the Volkswagen Challenge races.
“Wow, what a crazy weekend!” Sasol GTC2 Sabertek VW Golf GTI pilot Charl Smalberger reflected. “Lee sorted the car in my absence, but just jumping in and going for broke in qualifying was interesting and I suppose I had to be happy with sixth on the grid. “The car lacked pace in race 1 and ended up where I started in sixth and I had good pace in race 2 until I tried to pass Adrian Wood around the outside. “The brakes went a bit spongy and I went off and ended up in the wall. “I suppose the moral of the story is you don’t arrive to race on Saturday morning, but we’ll address that for our home race at Zwartkops next — I have a little catching up to do!”
Engen VW Polo Cup rookie Delon Thompson’s weekend started well enough when he qualified 11th in his A&R LTR Polo, but a coming together with Keegan Campos saw Thompson pick up a puncture take an early shower in race 1 before he bounced back in the second race, starting 12th and enjoying a dice with Shaun La Reservee and the Oates twins to 10th overall and 6th Junior home. "That was a bit of an up and down weekend, but that’s racing,” Delon rued. “Overall we had a pretty good pace on my first visit to Killarney, but next race is at our home track at Zwartkops and I’m looking forward to make that one count for Lee and the team."
Mauritian Simon Need likewise endured a changeable weekend aboard his Photonics LTR Polo Cup, qualifying 19th before dancing with his old sparring partner Raais Asmal’s factory Polo to end up 18th and Simon was up to 15th in race 2 when he retired from the race. “It’s been a tough start to the season,” Simon owned up. “Two finishes and two DNFs, but we'll work on that and I am sure my great ream will give me a quick car for the next race at its Zwartkops headquarters in a few weeks time.”
Wayne Crous qualified his Delway/Toshiba Tech LTR Polo ninth in the Volkswagen Challenge before a brilliant start saw him up to fifth in race 1 in spite of traffic later on. Wayne’s race 2 getaway was too good as he was handed a 30-second jump-start penalty to drop from 8th to 11th, but he did end up eighth for the day. “That was an up and down weekend,” Wayne explained. “Qualifying was no good, but I made a great start in race 1 and then my race 2 jump start messed with my head and I overdrove it. “Thanks to Lee for a very strong car — now its time for the driver to catch a wake-up!”
Shaun Crous qualified a fine 6th in the Ancro Polo, where he was running in race 1 before slipping back and stopping after five laps. He then delivered a steady Race 2 to come home 11th, but penalties for Wayne and others saw him swap places with his brother to end up ninth. “Such a pity for our problem in race 1 — we were looking good but after that our weekend slipped a little,” Shaun admitted. “All glory to God to be able to race in beautiful Cape Town and thanks to my Sponsors Ancro Building Projects and Lee Thompson Racing — now to get back to familiar territory for the next race!”
“A pretty tough weekend all-round,” team principal Lee Thompson concluded. “All the guys seemed to have one good and one bad race, but that’s how it goes sometimes. “It’s our home race next and we plan to take out A-game to Zwartkops in three weeks — we are all looking forward to make that happen.”