Round three of the IAME Euro Series at Wackersdorf could have seen Callum Bradshaw wrap up the title with one round to spare. Starting pole for the Pre-Final on Sunday morning everything seemed to be going perfectly, but it became a day the Brit would quickly like to forget as two disastrous races saw him lose his championship lead to Mark Kimber. It leaves Callum five points behind on dropped scores heading into Salbris.
Things got off to a great start in qualifying with Callum finishing third out of the 58 competitors. It would put him on the front row for all three of his heats and give him a solid chance of qualifying well for the first points scoring race of the weekend on Sunday.
Callum hit the ground running on Saturday comfortably winning his first heat. Difficult conditions would hit for the second heat in where Callum would round out a lead quartet who would battle for victory to the flag! But in heat three it was back to winning ways with Callum setting the fastest lap of the race on his way to the flag.
The results would mean he would start on pole position for the Pre-Final. If Callum could win that and go on to win the Final, he would be guaranteed the title before the last round and could even still become champion if results were to go his way. Considering it was his debut at the German circuit things couldn’t be going any better!
However, the Pre-Final would see the weekend completely turn on its head. Surrounded by championship rival Kimber and his teammates, Callum was prepared for a tough race, but what turned out was a fiery battle to say the least!
As the race got underway Roman Leroux alongside jumped the start leaving Callum having to muscle his way down the inside of Kimber to settle into second place. Lap two saw Callum draw alongside Leroux going through a flat out second corner, but as the door quickly began to close slight contact put Callum on the back foot and saw him forced down to fifth.
Callum quickly recovered going back into third in the next few corners crucially passing rival Kimber. Now with a gap to chase to the leaders it took less than a lap for Callum to catch and pass Jordan Brown-Nutley with just Leroux now between him and the race lead. However, the drama would continue once he caught the French driver as a successful move at the turn three hairpin led to contact with Brown-Nutley at turn five dropping Callum back down to seventh.
Watching the race, you would think it was a World Final with everyone desperate to lead and that pattern had seen the lead queue grow larger and larger. Callum’s race would effectively come to an end a lap later, after recovering to sixth he tried an over ambitious move on Leroux which resulted in contact at turn three and saw him pick up damage and tumble down the order.
Callum would eventually finish 21st after a penalty post-race losing him a big chunk of points to Kimber as well as putting him on the back foot for the Final.
Being right in the middle of the grid for the final not only left Callum a lot of work to do, but it also left him in the danger zone for turn three which is prone to taking victims every race. Sadly, for Callum he would join many who would fall foul after being pushed into the driver ahead and off the circuit dropping him all the way to the back of the field.
It also meant his front fairing had gone in meaning he would lose a further five seconds, but Callum didn’t let his head drop as he set the fastest lap on his way to finish 21st after the five second penalty was applied. It left him thinking what could have been with what could have been celebrations turning in to disappointment.
It ended a disastrous day for Callum and means he now goes from almost wrapping the title to being five points behind Kimber on dropped scores. With five points being the difference between first and second in the final it is very likely that we could enter a winner takes all situation at Salbris in a few weeks’ time.
For, Callum there was a lot to reflect on after Wackersdorf and although he will feel he could have gone about things differently, his performances in the first half of the season still leave him in contention for the title. If anything, Callum will be even hungrier for victory than he has ever been before and that should be a warning sign to his competitors going into the season finale!