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PDLJMPR's Fast Times with Fast Sprites

PDLJMPR Web Magazine, April 1, 1996

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William Severin Thompson's 948cc MKII Team Thicko Sprite

Click on any of the following images for a full-size view
1 2 3 4 5

Note: For text to accompany the photos, Bill Thompson sent me an article which appeared in "Chatter Magazine", a publication of the Austin Healey Club of America. The following text is comprised of excerpts from the January, 1996 issue. I have requested permission to reprint the article but haven't received a response from the AHCA yet. If the AHCA objects, I will gladly remove this text as I do not wish to violate any copywright laws - ed.

Team Thico Racing

For many people, vintage racing is a way of going back in time and taking part in a sport that has little in common with modern sports car racing. For the Midwest Region's William S. Thompson, vintage racing goes even a little further than that.

"I see vintage racing as a way of honoring the memory of those who raced 30 years ago," said the 39-year-old driver who has been racing Healeys wheel-to-wheel since 1992. "I've always been interested in racing."

"I enjoy the preparation. Although I always seem to do a lot at the last minute," he said. "I am getting better about preparing the race car ahead of time. I enjoy the whole spectacle of racing."

Thompson joined the Austin-Healey Club of America in 1974 when he bought a 1959 Austin-Healey 100-6. He now owns 10 Healeys, including a 1960 Bugeye Sprite with stage five factory race equipment in original trim (photo 4), and a Healey Sports Boat.

After autocrossing Sprites and big Healeys for awhile, he made the jump to full-fledged racing after an eight-year search finally brought the stage five Bugeye to Thompson's garage. "The Bishop," as the car would come to be known, was brought back to competition form after sitting since 1965, and Team Thicko was born.

He now competes in a 948cc MKII Sprite (photos 1-3, 5) which has seen many safety and performance modifications over the last season-and-a-half. In fact, Thompson is now running more than 20 seconds a lap faster at Road America than his best time in "The Bishop."

With three wins to his credit this (last - ed.) season - the SVRA Victoria British Grand Prix at Road America, the Blackhawk Classic, and the Chicago Historic Races - it seems Thompson is having a great deal of success putting everything aside and concentrating on racing. "I'm really having fun competing against cars that are theoretically faster than mine," he says. "The adrenaline high is incredible."

He also enjoys the camaraderie and friendships which are made and fostered at the track. In fact, his younger brother Don serves as his crew along with William's wife Jane and his two girls, Kate, nine, and Emily, seven.

More and more drivers are competing under the Team Thicko banne as well. With one driver's school under her belt, it's possible that Jane could hit the track soon. Don has plans to drive as well in a Volvo 1800, described by Williams as the "Sweedish erotica" version of Team Thicko.

"It's all about preparing for the races and enjoying the time at the track," he said. "Don't forget our motto: It's better to be here and broken than not to be here at all."