Story behind shattering Bathurst photo
AFTER reigning supreme atop the pack for over half of the Bathurst 1000, spectators were almost certain defending champion David Reynolds was going to be crowned king of the mountain for the second year running.
But a devastating cramp in his leg, brought about by dehydration from sitting in a searing hot Commodore for hours, was the fatal blow in his near-perfect run.
The pain was so bad he got out of his car late in the race for co-driver Luke Youlden to take over. They ended up finishing 13th as Craig Lowndes completed a fairytale win in his final visit to Mount Panorama.
Reynolds was absolutely shattered after departing the race with 27 laps to go, sitting in the team garage with his head in his hands.
The 33-year-old star opened up on the ordeal in an interview with Motorsport.com, revealing the shock he experienced after feeling his first cramp inside a racecar.
"You psychoanalyse your own performance within an inch of its life," Reynolds said.
"There was nothing wrong with my driving, just something wrong with me. So I need to go to the doctor and figure out what actually happened."
Reynolds said he was "notoriously bad" at remembering to drink water while racing, admitting he'd never felt the sensation of being dehydrated before. By the time he realised on Sunday, it was too late to reverse it.
"I struggled to concentrate," he said. "It got worse. I had tunnel vision, it was all tunnel vision.
"They did a (windscreen) tear-off at the last stop, I thought the screen was dirty. But my vision didn't get any clearer afterwards.
"I put my foot on the clutch during the stop, I put the car in the gear, and my foot was cramping so much. I was telling myself to keep the clutch in, but the wheels must have been spinning. To be honest I had no idea."
Reynolds said the gruelling weekend at Bathurst took its toll even before lights-out on Sunday morning. The 33-year-old said the warning signs for a Bathurst breakdown were there all through the qualifying stage of the weekend. He revealed he was "about 70 per cent fit" on the Saturday and woke up feeling worse on race day.
The heavy media build-up to the race - the biggest motorsport event on Australia's calendar - could have tired him out but didn't blame it for his exit.
"If you don't like doing media, don't win the Bathurst 1000," he said. "But I want to make my sport better, I want more people to watch it, I want it to be the biggest sport, so I always say yes to every interview I'm offered.
"I never knock it back. I've got a good story to tell, it was a great story last year. And we were making a better story, and it all failed...
"I'm f**king gutted. You work your whole career for a fast car at Bathurst. You only come here to win this race.
"I'm not in the fight for the championship, so I don't give a f**k about that. I was here to go back-to-back, and it just didn't happen."