Only a couple of days back home separated the team from the highlights of the 3rd round of the Southern Swedish Karting Championship Cup at the Åsum Ring in Kristianstad, and the 4th round, held in the historic city of Kalmar, the medieval capital of Scandinavia.
Still fresh off the success of earning the team’s first championship points of the season, Deven was in a good groove going into the weekend. Even though he would again be trying to tackle a track he had never seen before, he took confidence from last week’s performance, and had the goal of improving on that result.
The Skogstorp Ring was a shorter track layout and reminded more of the curvy technical tracks at Borås and Växjö more than the long sweeping turns at Kristianstad. Deven has had a bit more trouble on these track types, so full focus would be required to achieve a competitive qualifying lap.
Unfortunately, luck was not on the side of the team today. After a decent first free practice session which saw Deven set a decent target time for further development, disaster struck as the right rear axle hub bolt sheared right off whilst making a width adjustment. With only 40 minutes before the next practice session, the clock was ticking to get the broken bolt free of the hub.
Exactly 41 minutes later, with a lot of panic, a hack saw, a bunch of WD40, and a nice dollop of help from an Alexander Persson Racing mechanic (THANK YOU!) - the bolt was free and a new one fixed in its place. Frantic refitting complete, Deven got out for the last 5 minutes of the session, but was only able to complete 3 timed laps to get just a bit more experience exploring the track. He was nonetheless able to improve his time, but the team was now on the back foot going into a critical qualifying session.
But tragically, Deven wasn’t able to set a single timed lap in the qualifying session. Rounding the final corner on his out lap, just getting on the gas to start his first timed hot lap, he heard the horrifying whir of the chain flying off the drive gear. It was discovered after the session, when the team got the kart back to the pit area, that the quick release gear mechanism had not been fastened properly, and come loose, ruining Deven’s session. So it was right at the back for both Sprint Races, which would determine the starting grid position for the Semifinal.
A dejected driver. Deven escorts his disabled racing machine back to the paddock after losing drive in qualifying. 2021 SKCC Round 4
Even with extremely limited track time, Deven fought as hard as he could, trying to make up for his disadvantage as he went. He drove two very clean Sprint Races, making a few decent overtakes and moving up 3 positions in the first Sprint to finish 28th, and a whole 7 places up to 24th in the 2nd Sprint, after showing a decent turn of speed, and benefitting from a couple of crashes.
So lining up 26th in the Semifinal had to be seen as a small triumph given how the first half of the day had gone for the team. Deven wasn’t quite able to capitalize on this though, as his starts had been too passive all day, and he dropped 3 places during the first lap, giving him a lot to do to claw them back during the 12 lap race. He was just able to do so, posting his best lap time of the day, a 55.519s lap that saw him on par with the mid-pack, but too much time was lost fighting at the back to latch on to them when he did finally get free, and a 26th place finish meant starting there again in the Final.
Another poor start combined with a loss of overall grip and pace in the Final saw Deven lapping all by himself - slowly losing the pack of karts fighting for 20th position while driving away from those behind as well. It ended in a lonely 27th place finish. Disappointing in one way, but on the other hand, the best finish of the season and more championship points on the board.
Team Principal Dan was philosophical in his summary of the weekend, “Yeah, I mean statiscally, it was our best finish of the season, and from a purely objective standpoint I guess we have to be satisfied enough with that alone, especially given the mechanical troubles and limited running we had in the morning and our bad luck in qualifying. But the whole team, including our rookie driver, just felt there was more in it today, and from that perspective we are disappointed. If we can improve our starts we will be way more competitive at the end. Given the quality in the field, you can’t just be giving away places at the start. It's actually very good for us to feel this way, because it means we are striving for more all the time, and aren’t going to settle. Now we have a big summer break from the series, with a couple of nice one off races to look forward to, and can come out fighting again at the end of August with all guns blazing.”
It's actually very good for us to feel this way, because it means we are striving for more all the time, and aren’t going to settle.
So there you have it folks, another exciting race weekend that is the world of #grassrootsracing!
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.