Hull based modes of transport would have been better to displace the tidal waters that flooded the Brands Hatch circuit at the weekend for the non-championship Britcar GT Open and Sports Car double header race.
Only the courageous wanted to venture out in their overpowered, rear wheel drive machines, and none more so than the Topcats Racing driver pairing of Mick Mercer and Jon Harrison. Mercer, leaving behind his 2012 campaigning Ginetta G50 in favour of the Marcos he had driven in previous years and Harrison making his umpteenth, and probably not last, retirement comeback.
If you could choose any car on the grid to provide the greatest challenge in the freezing cold and soaking wet weather conditions it would be the Marcos; a big car with big power, no grip, no ABS, no traction control. Mercer and Harrison were the bravest of the bunch.
Mercer and Harrison would takes turns to start each of the 45 minute ‘sprint’ races and Mercer had the duty of starting the first race.
With all the drivers sensible to the weather conditions, it was a clean getaway and the field trailed safely for the opening laps.
The weather conditions worsened but Mercer wasn’t showing any lack of confidence. He had driven with stoic poise and even though he was now due to pit stop to hand to Harrison the team allowed him a little extra time and satisfaction of catching the Jennings Ferrari 458 that had passed him off the start line. Mercer had been closing the gap to the Ferrari and was hassling him now. A brave move from Mercer as he muscled his way past to stamp his authority before finally pitting.
Harrison took over, and held 2nd in class behind eventual winners, Callum Lockie/Mason in the sister Ferrari GTC but ahead of the class rival Jennings Ferrari as the pitstops panned out and Harrison extended his lead by a whole lap by the time he took the chequered flag.
Race 2 was in the hands of Harrison with another successful and uneventful race start.
Harrison was up to 6th position and although the merest throttle had the back end twitching through the corners, Harrison was gaining on the lead cars. He was eventually caught out though. Excess oversteer had him heading towards the grass at Surtees and although he would have gathered this up easily in drier conditions, the car slid onto the grass and trying to get the car off it was a skill in itself. About a minute was lost as Harrison had to shift between forward and reverse while the car just wanted to slither on the spot. Eventually Harrison managed to get his back wheels back onto tarmac and get the traction he needed to return to the race. No damage except the time deficit that he now had to try and make up.
At the midway point, Harrison pitted to hand over to Mercer while the weather remained unrelenting.
Both drivers had pushed hard to close the 1 minute gap between themselves and the Jennings Ferrari and by the end of the race the gap was down to just 16 seconds but the duo still took the final class podium and 5th overall.