IDM Superbike Championship leader Damian Cudlin endured a race he’d soon rather forget at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on the weekend.
Coming straight off the back of a double podium finish at Oschersleben just one week earlier, Cudlin headed into the Red Bull Ring round in a confident mood with a comfortable lead in the championship standings.
The RAC BMW was tipped to be a pace setter from the start at the Red Bull Ring however technical issues, predominantly brake problems, throughout practice and qualifying put Cudlin and his crew on the back foot. Despite the issues, and a crash caused by a front brake seizure in qualifying, Cudlin still managed to qualify third on the grid for Sunday’s two Superbike races.
As the first race got underway in hot and humid conditions, Cudlin made a cautious start before making his customary charge through the field after a couple of laps. Soon though his efforts were thwarted as a handlebar issue, followed by more brake problems halted his charge. He slipped further and further back through the field as the race went on, hoping only for points as the race drew to a close. Eventually coming home in seventh, Cudlin was bitterly disappointed as his championship rivals Nigon and Reiterburger clawed back valuable points in the championship.
“It was very frustrating watching the other guys ride off into the distance as I struggled with technical issues.” Cudlin explained. “The brakes look to be an issue for everyone around here, but we seem to be suffering the worst. It’s clear that we still have the pace to win, but these problems keep holding us back. It’s annoying that’s for sure, but I’m confident me and my crew can find a way around them.”
For the second race, Cudlin’s crew opted for a complete brake system change in the hope of turning their fortunes around. Unfortunately they would only become much worse.
As Cudlin approached the Remus curve at approximately 270kph, he suffered a complete brake failure, sending him and his BMW hurtling towards a tyre wall at horrifying speed. Moments before impact, Cudlin threw his machine on its side ‘speedway style’ and slammed into the barrier. Cudlin was taken to hospital directly following the incident however was later released with no acute fractures or internal injuries.
“I was really lucky to tell you the truth. It certainly could’ve been much worse. The doctor’s tell me nothing’s broken which is a big relief. I feel like I’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson this morning though, only I still have both ears!” Cudlin joked.
When asked about the crash itself, Cudlin only reiterated the words of RAC Team Manager Evert Slager, stating a brake failure as the cause but still unsure as for the reason why. “All I know is that the brake failed completely and I went into the wall because I couldn’t slow down. The guys found the problem with the system, now they just need to analyze why it happened. For now, all I want to focus on is recovery and making sure we come back swinging at Schleiz. We’re still leading the championship, so now we just need to dig deep to keep hold of it until the end!”
Cudlin will return to action in the IDM Superbike Championship at Schleiz on the 2/3/4th of August.