Tom Thompson hails from Cambridge, Maryland, a hotbed of hydroplane racing history that sits on the southern shore of the Choptank River just as it enters the Chesapeake Bay, about 60 miles southeast of Baltimore. Thompson says his hometown hosts the oldest running boat race in the country and has more national champions, Hall of Champion inductees, and world speed record holders than any other town. He no doubt heads the list.
His career in the H1 Unlimited Racing Series began relatively late in his career when, at the age of 50, he was hired to replace J.W. Myers at the controls of the U-11 Peters & May in 2012. He has driven for Shannon and Scott Raney and the Unlimited Racing Group of Edmonds, Washington, ever since.
Thompson has yet to win a championship trophy during his six years with the team, but had two podium finishes in 2013 and finished fourth in the final national standings last season while driving the Reliable Diamond Tool presents J&D’s. He says that his team made many new changes and updates to the boat during the winter.
Now 55 years old, Thompson started racing with his father in the Jersey Speed Skiff runabout class in 1984 then moved to the 2.5 litre stock hydroplane class the following year. He has since driven every limited hydroplane class or runabout (except Cracker Box and K boats) that the American Power Boat Association has to offer. Along the way he has collected six consecutive national high-point titles in Jersey Speed Skiffs, four in the 2.5-litre hydroplane class, two in 1-litre hydroplane modified, and one in the 5-litres hydroplane class. He has also set a number of world speed records in several classes.
Thompson’s wife, Chrissy, and daughter, Savana, join him at the races every chance they get, but when he’s not driving a race boat, he operates Thompson Propane Systems in Cambridge.