Crompton back in the groove on race return
V8 Supercars television commentator Neil Crompton has made a seamless return to racing, fighting with former boss Glenn Seton over a podium place on debut in the Touring Car Masters.
Crompton is campaigning John Bowe’s Ford Mustang this weekend, taking advantage of the standalone Muscle Car Masters meeting, where he is free of V8 Supercars commitments.
The 55-year-old qualified sixth in the 20 car field, surviving an opening lap skirmish before pressuring Seton for the remainder of the race, eventually finishing fourth.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s race report.
Crompton drove for Seton’s V8 Supercars squad from 1998 through 2000, teaming up with the two-time champion at Bathurst on each occasion.
“Apart from a few extra kilos and a change of Pantone on the hair, everything else feels exactly the same,” Crompton told Speedcafe.com post-race.
“I could roll along doing that for hours. I like it when it settles into a rhythm. I just wanted the race to be longer.
“Early on I was having a crack at Seto but I probably used a bit much rear tyre and they over-pressured.
“So I just relaxed, drove the car straight and then tried to step it up again for the last two laps to see if I could get him to make a mistake.
“But I should know, because I’ve spent enough time with him, the little bugger doesn’t make mistakes.”
Crompton said that sharing the track with several of his former touring car rivals made the experience all the more enjoyable.
“It’s great to be out there with my old mates and then swapping war stories with Seto, JB (John Bowe), Andrew (Miedecke), Richo (Jim Richards), everyone,” he said.
“From the outside, you get the impression that they’re all just bowling around, but I can tell you they’re having a big go.
“There was nothing left there. You may get a 25-year-old athlete that’ll squeak a little more out of it, but it wouldn’t be much.
“The tyre and car type doesn’t reward aggression, so you’ve got to really use your brain in the thing to get the time out of it.
“This had pretty good turn then and not very good drive, so I was trying to ‘Lowndes’ it, rushing at the corner and using the loaded front tyre to do all the work, so the back could have a breather.
“I feel like I know the game. I was really happy with my hand-eye co-ordination, footwork and all of that stuff.
“We’ll give it a few tweaks and see if we can get even further up there tomorrow.”
Bowe, who won Race 1 aboard Garry O’Brien’s Holden Torana, had a brief steer of the Mustang during the meeting rides on Friday, assisting to fine-tune the set-up.
“He’s still a real, proper racer and he’s getting better and better in every session,” Bowe told Speedcafe.com of Crompton.
“It was a bit pointy when I jumped in yesterday so we tried to dial some of that out.
“His brain is still tuned to V8 Supercars, where you always want more front grip.
“This thing has got great traction, but you’ve got to take a bit of weight from the front of it.”
Two more races will complete Round 6 of the Touring Car Masters tomorrow.