David Reynolds’ devastation over his Bathurst 1000 heartbreak has been dealt a fresh blow after criticism from Erebus Motorsport chief executive Barry Ryan.
Reynolds was in the running to be the first back-to-back winner in 10 years after leading for much of last Sunday’s race at Mount Panorama.
But his bid to break the drought came to a shuddering halt when cramps and blurred vision left him driving at “50 per cent throttle”.
Craig Lowndes took the lead and Erebus decided to fuel Reynolds with electrolytes at a pit stop for one last-ditch attempt at a win, only for the issues to remain.
The physical limitations were compounded by a penalty handed down after Reynolds’ leg cramped up during the stop and sent the rear wheels spinning.
He tagged out for co-driver Luke Youlden, who brought it home in 13th.
Ryan had already conceded the bid to keep Reynolds going was “the wrong decision”, but eight days later he has laid out a more honest take on the driver’s problems.
“Unfortunately Dave, whatever happened, he got cramps and dehydrated and it’s unlike him,” Ryan told Supercars.com.
“He’s going to have to work on that, we’ll help him with whatever he needs to do to get it right.
“The only thing we can put our finger on is his preparation probably wasn’t ideal, there’s a lot of commitments when you’re the past champion.
“He had some late nights and not eating properly and not sleeping properly. We’ve got to look at all of that and why.
“Unfortunately, and he’ll be the first one to admit it, he was the one that let us down. It’s been three years of hard work for all of us and he hasn’t let us down much at all.
“He is gutted, but we’re all behind him, 100 per cent. We’ll just help him do whatever he can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We’ll go back next year to do the same thing.”
After leaving the car and making his way into the garage, Reynolds revealed he felt symptoms – first mental, then physical – just 15 laps into the race.
Adding that he was “probably 70 per cent fit in qualifying” and woke up 20 per cent worse on Sunday, Reynolds suggested his commitments as the reigning champion contributed to his downfall.
“You psychoanalyse your own performance within an inch of its life,” he told Autosport after the race, still unsure of the exact issue.
“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.
“I think I know what happened, I think I just dehydrated myself. I sweated out everything I had.
“I’m notoriously bad at drinking while I’m in the car. I never do it, because I’ve never needed to. I’ve never felt those signs on dehydration.
“I’ll go see someone and be better prepared. That’s all I can do. Knowing the signs is the first thing.
“I’ve never failed physically like that, I’ve never had anything like that happen in my life. I’ve never had a cramp running, cycling, racing. It just came out of nowhere.”