The Contenders: Joey Mawson (Form 700 / ALABAR Team BRM)
THERE’S AN old saying that goes something like, ‘Form is temporary however class is permanent’.
The problem for Joey Mawson’s S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship rivals this year is that he has had both in spades this year.
Though his season has not been without its setbacks, Mawson’s title defence has been well constructed by a combination of strong one-lap pace in qualifying, aggressive but measured race drives and a pair of key feature-race victories that helped build his title margin to what it is.
The defending champion and his Form 700 / ALABAR Team BRM entry leads Tim Macrow by 55 points head into the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown this week in his bid to be the first driver in two decades to claim back-to-back Gold Star titles.
Mawson has set the tone for his title defence in the first race at almost every round this year: he jumped from second to win the season opener in Tasmania, and then led from pole to win the first races at both Albert Park and Sydney Motorsport Park.
Those points gained in the first race of each round proved critical in ensuring he started at or near the the front in the feature race at each event, with the grid there determined by the points from races one and two at each round.
It’s a good thing, too, because Mawson’s reverse-grid races have been a challenge this year.
He was KO’d by his teammate in Tasmania in a bout of friendly fire, but then had a safe third in the reverse-grid race at Phillip Island.
10th in a shortened Grand Prix race two just gave him enough point to star the feature from pole, while race two at Sydney was probably his worst of the year.
After making a storming start, he swerved left across the circuit and into the path of Aaron Cameron, damaging his car and forcing Cameron out.
It was the only miscue of the season so far and a safe second – ironically behind Cameron – in the feature still made him the highest scorer of the weekend among the title contenders.
When he is in front, however, Mawson is very hard to beat. His five wins this season make him one of only two drivers to claim multiple victories this year and it is through those sheer weight of winning that has allowed him to build his title lead heading into the season finale’.
55 points is catchable, there’s no doubt, however the weight of the effort put in across the first four rounds has placed the reigning champion in almost the best possible position to ensure he holds on to his crown in 2022.
Standings: 1st (390 points)
2022 Races: 12
2022 Wins: 5
2022 Podiums: 8
Best Qualifying: 1st (Albert Park, Sydney Motorsport Park)