The team made the 3 hour trip south from our headquarters in Trollhättan, Sweden down to The Klippan Karting Ring, in Klippan, Sweden, which would host the 4th Round of the Southern Swedish Karting Championship Cup. After a fine top 10 finish in the first round, the double race weekend in Växjö did not go as planned through no fault of our racing driver, Deven, who put on some powerful performances in the heat races, but was hampered by motor problems and team decisions that let him down on the track. Here in Klippan it was hoped that the team could get it right and allow Deven to achieve to his potential. However, it just wasn’t meant to be this weekend.
Free Practice | 2x 10min | P15 & P25 The weather on Friday Practice had been warm and sunny, with high grip levels, and Deven had shown top 10 pace in the latter stages of the day. Race Day was completely the opposite. Cool and wet, with medium to heavy levels of rain. The two early morning sessions had the team scratching their heads. It was later discovered, later on after the 2 Sprint races, that the team had prepared the front axle in the opposite direction, lowering it instead of raising it, giving the kart less grip in the back and more oversteer. So again, the team was already compromising the performance of the kart nad making life harder for our racing driver. Did nothing for his confidence or his trust in the racing machine.
Qualifying | 10min | P35 This got even worse for him when it came time for qualifying. The team had problems with the qualifying set of wet tires as they were not sitting correctly on the wheel rims. Finally solving the problem just minutes from the session start, refueling the tank was completely missed. Unfortunately there was not enough fuel in the tank for the high levels of g-forces experienced in the turn 3 and 5 hairpins that exited out onto the two back straights that featured on this circuit. The result was engine cut out on the exits of these two critical places on the track. Deven had no chance. He was helpless in the kart as he waited for the engine to come back to him when the fuel settled back into the bottom of the tank. This was a 2.5s second per lap deficit that was unsurmountable. No matter how good he drove, he couldn’t better his first lap’s time because the fuel was getting lower and lower, and the engine cut out was getting worse and worse. He was driving better and better but getting worse and worse times. It ended up 2nd from last in the 36 strong field. The team had let him down crucially twice now on the day. How could he possibly come back from this?
Skövde Motor Club was host to Round 3 of the Kart Cup West Series (KCV), and was a joint event held together with Round 3 of the Central Swedish Kart Racing Series (MKR). The dual series nature of the weekend meant an extra large starting field with 37 karts registered to line up in our mini-man Deven’s class, Formula Mini. It would be an extra tough challenge then, with some excellent drivers we normally don’t have the pleasure of racing with in the MKR series. On top of that a track that despite being less than 900m long, is super quick, has 3 good overtaking spots, and requires a setup usually reserved for longer tracks.
The weather was also questionable. Forecasts showed rain would spit down sporadically during the day, so it was going to be nervy for the race mechanics and engineers all day long. However, this is a drivers track, with many in the field calling it one of their favorites, our driver Deven included. “It is so fast, almost all the corrners are high speed and I love the super quick changes of direction in the inside part, it’s so fun!”
The event would be run under the MKR series rules, meaning Qualifying, two Sprint Heats, a Pre-Final, and finally the Feature Final for all the beans.
Free Practice | FP1 - No classification FP2 - P7 The two practice sessions were day and night contrasts. FP1 was over almost before it began as Deven came in after one lap reporting engine cut out issues on the exits of the final corner as well as in the infield turn 2-6 complex. In between sessions it was hair pulling time as race mechanics went through everything to find the answer to the question. Eternally grateful for the help received from fellow Intrepid Driver Program and LK Racing reammates, Team Alehall Racing, for their help troube shooting and identifying a fuel line placement issue that was able to be corrected successfully in good time for the second practice session.
Finally able to push, albeit on old tires, Deven went out and was able to set the 7th best time in his group, 15th overall, and now it was time for qualifying.
It was a special double race weekend in Växjö for the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 2022 Southern Swedish Karting Championship Cup. The team was in high spirits coming off a maiden podium performance in the Karting Cup West Series, and was ready to take revenge at a track that had dished out disappointment for the team last year, when our then rookie driver Deven missed out on the final by a single position due to the circuit's reduced 30 kart track license.
Deven’s performance was exceptional throughout the weekend, and his development curve as a driver continues to impress, especially given the extenuating circumstances he had to fight through as the weekend progressed.
It would be easy to blame technical issues that included a race motor that gave up after the first session of the first day, carburetor issues on day 2, getting bad luck with the weather in qualifying on day 1, and a crippling ignition cable disconnection during qualifying on day 2 - and we will do exactly that, but the way Deven rose to the challenge with a laser edged fighter pilot mentality was a lift for the whole team.
DAY ONE - SKCC ROUND 2:
Qualifying - 10 minutes - P18 After showing pace near the top of the field in free practice on Friday, it was time to lay it out on the table in qualifying. The first two practice session in the morning were on rain tires as scattered showers kept the track too wet to venture out on slicks. The story remained the same for qualifying in a tricky session. The team never really were able to find a wet setup that Deven was comfortable with. Combined with not getting proper track position, this led to a P9 in the first qualifying group. The second qualifying group had a much drier track to deal with and the times dropped by several seconds, which resulted in the qualifying results being combined separately in a scissor combination rather than put all together to make it as fair as possible. Not ideal at all and it meant a P18 starting position for the sprint heats, and a tough assignment for Deven if he was to make a bid for another top 10 finish in the final.
Lidköping Karting Klubb hosted the second round of the Kart Cup West National Series on a world class figure 8 track that drew a strong international field in many classes. In challenging conditions with an extreme wet track during free practice on Saturday, and still on rain tires on Sunday morning’s warm up session as the circuit rapidly dried out, Deven showed the pace of his current development and gave the paddock a glimpse of what is to come if he can continue on his current trajectory.
Fastest in the wet on Saturday, the still inexperienced driver was full of a different kind of confidence coming into race day. It was a quiet but steely self belief that the team could feel surrounding their driver as he went through his morning pre-race preparations, getting involved in the chassis and motor setup and installation, reminding his mechanic that he needed everything to be right if he was going to win today. To win. This was the mentality shift the team and driver coaches had been waiting for. He knew he was there on pace and he wanted it. Badly.
FREE PRACTICE - P3, P5 The first session of the day was a 5 minute warm-up and the track was still too wet to go out on slick tires for any kind of representative running, although it was drying fast. The front runners went out on wet tires, with the team electing to stay on a full wet chassis setup instead, knowing it probably wouldn’t be the optimum choice. Others had gone over to dry chassis setups on wet tires. Deven went through his paces and after the short 4 flying lap session it was clear that slicks would be the way to go by the time the 2nd practice session came around. Deven was third fastest, on the right tires but the wrong setup. A good start to the day.
The second practice session was all about dialing in the chassis for the qualifying session to come. It was now an hour on from the first short warm up session, and the running of the other classes competing had given the track a nice dry line by the time Formula Mini lined up again for Free Practice 2. The decision was made to not break in the new qualifying set of tires, but run on an old used set instead. The data indicated that on this track with the predicted track temperatures and Deven’s driving style, that optimum use of new tires would be about 4 laps into the first session of use. So out on old tires it was for FP2. Deven went out and was 5th fastest on a track that was not quite ready for full speed yet, as the top times were still over a second off proper qualifying pace. Nonetheless, it was a reassuring result. All the data showed that Deven would be there at the pointy end in qualifying.
Another strong performance by Deven Grabko saw him go one better than his 2022 debut result a week ago. Crossing the line in 9th position in the Final of the first round of the Karting Cup West Championship, it has to be marked down as another successful race weekend, even if both he and the team felt there was more that could have been achieved.
Round one was held at the Borås Motorpark Karting Circuit, in Svaneholm, Sweden. This is a tricky 1.1km track with big elevation changes in the 2nd sector, climbing uphill on a double apex turn 5 and 6 combo and then looping back down again on the long turn 7, and a niggling little chicane at the final turns 14 and 15 coming out onto the start/finish straight.
Last year at this track, the team had such a hard time with setup and grip, Deven was wallowing at the back of the field despite his best efforts. This year the team and the driver were much more prepared, and went into the free practice day looking towards the front of the field instead of the back.
The weather was again stellar for racing on both the Saturday Practice Day and Sunday Race Day. Partly sunny and not too warm, with almost no wind to speak of. After a very productive practice day on Saturday It was early bedtime and focus on the coming qualifying sessions.
Another special touch was the addition of the American Flag at the Circuit, a really nice gesture from the host club, FMCK Borås, as Grabko GP is the only US entry in the series. Thank you!
Grabko GP is a grass roots race team whose main focus is on amateur and young driver development, from first forays into karting, through amateur racing series, with the aim of one day culminating in the minor formulas and beyond. The team aims to promote participation in and love for motorsport while enabling the development of elite racing drivers.