Sometimes it only takes one win to claim a title and for Aaron Mason a single win and a string of podium finishes was enough to claim his second title in three years after a strong VW Racing Cup season.
Claiming the title by only four points, Mason was always there or thereabouts over the season but even he will admit that four points after 16 races is smaller margins than he would have liked!
A second place in the opening race of the year at Oulton Park, followed by two fourth places in the other two races in North West, allowed Mason to leave round one comfortable in the knowledge that his work had left him third in the standings and only 18 points off the lead – not much considering it is 44 points for a race win.
Moving to the banked oval of Rockingham and mixed results would come into play with title rival David Sutton claiming a victory from pole in race one – with Mason only fifth – but that would all change in races two and three as Mason was desperately unlucky not to overtake race winner Jack Walker-Tully on the drag to the line settling for second by 0.0054s. In the third race he would claim a decent podium, but more than likely annoyed for not being able to close down the front two.
While all this was going on, Sutton was slipping – an average result in race two and an eighth in race three saw the gap maintain at 18 points, but Mason was on a charge and moved up to second overall.
Moving from triple-headers to double-headers saw less opportunities to score points at Silverstone and Mason wouldn’t be happy with his showing in race one after a strong charge up to second on a rapidly drying track eventually became fifth after running wide trying to carry too much speed into a corner, a third in place in race two would ease some pain, but a win in race two for Sutton would see the points gap extend to 30.
Going into the second half of the season at the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps, Sutton and Mason wouldn’t have podiums and wins all to themselves as an absolute revelation hit the track in the shape of Michael Epps. Racing all season, the trip across the channel seemed to light something in Epps taking victory in race one – which he would be stripped of after a post-race technical infringement – and then a win he kept in race two would shake the order of things.
Especially because race one saw a seventh for Mason and fourth for Sutton, very uncharacteristic results, especially when both would repeat those results in the second race.
Moving back to Blighty and Epps-press kept on rolling at Brands Hatch but race two saw only three racing laps completed as two red flags stopped all possibility of getting all the laps completed with Epps being declared the winner. Mason would finish in fifth, one place in front of Sutton.
It was from that point on that Lucas Orrock started to make his mark on the points table. Always close at hand, Orrock’s strings of top six finishes earned him the title of Mr Consistent going into the final weekends of the year.
However, before all that happened Mason would make a lasting mark on the final run-in by scoring his only victory of the year in the first race of the weekend closing the points gap to Sutton – who failed to trouble the top ten.
Poor showings for both drivers at Snetterton would keep the title fight wide open both Sutton and Mason would finish outside the top five in both races, with third place man Orrock closing the points gap with a fourth in race two.
That meant it all went down to Donington Park and by god I imagine both Mason and Orrock’s crews had heart attacks with the action in race one. At first it was Mason who almost had the title slip out of his hands as Robert Barrable tried to go down the inside of him as they were running one-two at the Old Hairpin – Barrable couldn’t make the corner and both tangled into the gravel.
Thankfully Mason would recover to tenth but worse was to come for Sutton who was tapped into a spin on the start/finish straight and would make heavy contact with the barriers – sending him into retirement.
Going into the final race of the year an eighth place for Mason was enough to win the title as Sutton had a nightmare and dropped down to 11th. Although it was all settled on drop scores and for Sutton that meant his runners up spot was gifted to Orrock and he would have to settle for third, two points behind Orrock and six behind Aaron Mason.