Topcats - Licking The Britcar Cream
Warren Gilbert was still feeling tired on Tuesday morning, when he reflected on the Topcats team’s success in the second running of the Britcar Silverstone 24 Hours.

“I’m knackered,” he sighed, “but it was a great weekend for Topcats. Our eight drivers are all amateurs, and we finished third and fourth in our class, sixth and eighth overall, with seasoned professional drivers all around us. We finished seventh and 19th in 2005, and we were determined to beat that this year.

“We had our fair share of problems; gear selection problems in the #4 car meant we had to strip the gearbox and fit a replacement gear borrowed from Cor Euser. We did that after testing on Thursday, and during the race, we had to change a driveshaft.

"We had silencing problems on the #6 car, and we had to weld up all eight branches from the manifold – some of them in the middle of the race, but we knew that the others would go sooner or later too, so we pulled the car in before the end to make sure, before it was too late.”

The Topcats team doubled in strength over the 24 hour weekend, depending on volunteers to service the #4 car of Rupert Douglas-Pennant, Gerry Taylor, Jon Harrison and Dominic Lesniewski, and the #6 machine of Mick Mercer, Richard Fores, Luc Paillard and Rupert Bullock. The two Marcos Mantis, running 46 seconds apart on the track as the race drew to a close, were brought together to cross the line abreast at the chequered flag, and were joined by closely-associated MG ZR of Mickel Racing (Mick Mercer is the “Mick” of Mickel, and daughter and son-in-law Kelly-Anne and Gary Smith are two of the drivers), the three silver cars finishing the race in a perfect delta formation.

“We were the first British (made) car home,” Warren added patriotically, "and I’m really proud of what our small team has achieved.”
Steve Wood


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