Huddling in the race van with the heat turned up and the fans on full blast to warm up, race engineer and driver went over their plans for the rest of the day, reviewing the track and the strategy for qualifying later in the day.
The second FP session went much better, the circuit and the air temps had already risen to more acceptable levels and Deven quickly found his pace from the day before, putting in 1:04.3s laps near the end of the session, which was a bit quicker than Saturday practice. So the stage was set for qualifying, where a good session would be key to setting up for the sprint races to follow.
By the time the qualifying session came around, at 10:25am, track temps had risen significantly, nearing 15°C due to the sun beating down on it, with an air temp of 6-7°C. Rubber had also been laid down from all the other classes as well, so track evolution would play its part here as well. Our intrepid young racer had a slow start, sitting down in 12th spot for most of the session, but with only a couple of minutes to go found his rhythm. Putting in a 1:04.033s lap on his 8th pass of the circuit was good enough to see him jump up to a respectable mid-field 9th spot, only 0.003s away from an 8th position. This is how it stayed, and so it was a solid performance from The Kid. He would be starting the sprint races on the inside line, so missing out on 8th wasn’t the biggest deal in the world.
The starts have been the biggest opportunity for improvement this year, and unfortunately today was no different. Finding and being willing to take the right positioning on track for the opening corners is something that will come with more experience, and has been good at times this year, but the consistency track to track have been lacking.
The results of the Sprint races meant he was pushed down a grid spot in the Final, to 10th, and this meant being on the outside line for the start. It was the first challenge to overcome, but certainly not the last of the day. As they wound around the final corner of the formation lap and came slowly rumbling down the start finish straight, Deven was leaned forward in his seat, willing the start to go off. Down the front straight they came and The Kid made a good move to hang in there, staying even on the outside line through the fast turn 1 and through the quick kink that is turn 2. There was just no room to get inside for the turn 3 hairpin though and he was forced out wide on the exit, still even with those beside him. There was just no room left going into the fast right hander at turn 4 though and he was forced to concede the place as he couldn’t get to the apex first.
So he went over the bridge straight for the first time in 11th spot again, and was being hard pressed from behind by two karts behind. He defended well and when the kart behind dove in on him going under the tunnel at turn 11, he raced hard and dove right back on the all important final turn 13 that led out onto the start finish straight, and came over the line in 11th still after the first lap.
It was tense racing for the next few laps as The Kid was able to open up a small gap to those behind and even make a little headway on those in front, but it was looking like 11th was all that was going to be on the cards. But the two karts behind suddenly found renewed pace, and started closing on Deven again, and had caught him up by lap 7. Three karts in side by side, bumper to bumper racing came through the final turn, and our man got overtaken on the exit, but was able to maintain his momentum better because of it, and got up alongside coming over the start/finish line, crucially on the inside line. It was now a matter of who would dare stay on the gas the longest. Deven won that duel, and was able to force his opponent off the ideal line and sweep back past him.
At the same time, up ahead in the race Vendela Kördel, who had been having a cracking weekend herself, and fighting for a podium place all weekend long had disaster strike as her engine let her down and gave up the ghost. Such disappointment for her and her team. One person’s misfortune is another person’s opportunity, and the time it was Big D’s turn to ride the wave of fortune. Sweeping past the stricken number 17, Deven found himself in that top 10 spot he had been aiming for. This seemed to give him a boost because he seemed to gain focus, and dug a little deeper to find that little bit of pace, and was able to pull a gap again slightly in his three way battle, now for 10th spot.
The two behind then got in a tussle of their own a lap later, down the back side of the circuit, somewhere around turns 9 or 10 - it was hard to make out as the was no line of site to that part of the track. This ended up resulting in Deven pulling a comfortable 5-6s gap with now only a few laps to go. He drove it home, and completed his excellent weekend coming across the line in 10th.
In the end it wasn’t quite enough to get him in the top 5 of the championship, and so the energetic rookie would have to settle for 6th. Still a trophy winning spot, and the smiles and elation were huge at the prize ceremony.
All in all a very satisfying way to mark the end of a debut season.
The learning curve has been steeper than anyone could have imagined for the whole team. Upon reflection, though, we wouldn’t have had it any other way. There are far too many partners, sponsors, suppliers, and simply friends to the team that have helped us through the season in one way or another that it would almost be remiss of us to try and list them, but we’re going to have a go at it anyway. PLEASE forgive us if we do miss you here, we have appreciated every little gesture no matter how small.
First of all, our engine and chassis supplier as well as on site mechanic support, LK Racing. Leo & Mattias, thank you both for your dedicated support and input, which has been invaluable all season long, and on more than one occasion race-weekend-saving. Can’t wait to further develop this relationship next year.
Uddevalla Karting Club - what a great group of racing enthusiasts to be a part of. Great race track, good facilities, and amazing members make this a great platform for getting into racing. Thank you all collectively for being awesome.
Justin and Elliot Russell - help, support, advice, friendship, what a cool father/son duo, you guys are more appreciated than you know! Allehall Racing, thanks for being a great sparring partner and test day companion, really looking forward to even more fun next year. Jim Abrahamsson, for being accessible and approachable and willing to share with a rookie team. The Silverfjäll, Welander, Packalén Spangenberg, Fransson, Emanuelsson, and Hagardzon families, the entire LK Racing Intrepid Team, and all of you out there who didn’t hesitate to help us when we we needed it whether it was a stripped or broken bolt, a carburetor issue, kart and chassis setup, race van battery, etc. We are grateful to all of you!
Last but not least, a special and heartfelt thanks to our sponsors and partners. Without your support and encouragement, none of this would be possible. Freem Sweden, Improx Customs, Profil 461, Weret Surf Watches, The Techno Creatives, Elevate IoT Platform, Telus International, Intrepid Racing Karts, Sparco, Tillett, Shell Racing Fuels, Eni Racing Lubricants, Leatt, and of course our parent company, The Grabko Group - no words can describe our gratefulness!