June 15, 2022 | General

Back to Back? Joey Mawson looking for Gold Star history this weekend

JOEY Mawson will join an elite group of drivers to have claimed back-to-back Gold Star titles, should he successfully defend his S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship title this weekend in Darwin.

Just eight drivers have managed to successfully defend their Gold Star victory the following year in the 59-year history of Australia’s top open-wheel award. 13 drivers have won the Gold Star on more than one occasion.

Some of Australia’s most famous names in open wheel racing – and in motorsport in general – have claimed repeat ADC honours.

Bib Stillwell claimed back-to-back titles in 1962-1963, then repeated that achievement the following two years to make it four in a row, an achievement only once repeated in the long history of the prize.

Spencer Martin then claimed back-to-back titles in 1966-67 in his Brabham, while Kevin Bartlett did the same the following two years.

It would take a decade for the next driver to successfully defend his Gold Star championship the following year.

Alfie Costanzo backed up his 1980 Australian Drivers’ Championship win aboard his Lola T430 in 1981, this time racing a McLaren M26.

Remarkably, Costanzo then won the next pair of titles in a completely different category – winning the 1982 and 1983 championships driving a Tiga FA81 as Australia’s premier open wheel category shifted from the thundering F5000s to the lighter, smaller Formula Pacific-style racers of the early 1980s.

John Bowe’s pair of Gold Star titles came in repeat years, winning in 1984 and 1985 aboard the iconic ‘Lucky’s Nuts’ Ralt RT4.

Formula Holden – or Formula Brabham as it was known as at the time – was the category of choice for Mark Skaife when he claimed back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992, repeating the feat in 1993.

Skaife’s 1992 title was significant as he became the first diver to win the Australian Touring Car Championship and Australian Drivers’ Championship in the same season.

Paul Stokell matched Skaife’s achievements in the open-wheel category between 1994-1996, claiming back-to-back titles before claiming a third for the following year.

The last driver to win successive Gold Stars was New Zealander Simon Wills, who won the 1999 and 2000 titles for Birrana Racing in Formula Holden.

The 20 year gap between someone repeating a Gold Star victory is the longest period without a repeat success in the 60-year history of the award.

While Mawson seeks a repeat drivers’ crown, Team BRM will look to win successive titles for the third time in their history.

The Adelaide-based team won the Gold Star for three consecutive years in Formula 3 competition from 2008, with drivers James Winslow, Joey Foster and Ben Barker, respectively.

They then went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014 with Tim Macrow and Simon Hodge and added another threepeat – though after a five year break – thanks to Mawson’s 2021 championship win in S5000.

An eighth Gold Star title would make the team the most successful in Gold Star history: they currently stand tied with the legendary Birrana Racing on seven titles apiece.

The S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship will hit the track next Friday at the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown, as the cars make their racing debut at Hidden Valley.

The drivers to have defended their Gold Star win

Bib Stillwell 1962-65
Spencer Martin 1966-67
Kevin Bartlett 1968-69
Alfredo Costanzo 1980-83
John Bowe 1984-85
Mark Skaife 1991-93
Paul Stokell 1994-96
Simon Wills 1999-2000