Final | Starting P12
After all the results were calculated in, it would be a P12 starting grid position for Deven in the 16 lap Final, and a real chance at a top 10 finish materialized in front of the team. Now it was even warmer - chassis, tire, and gearing adjustments had been made to compensate, and the mechanics hoped it would be enough to power The Kid to a trophy earning position.
The start was the best of the day, Deven right on the bumper of the driver ahead, and dove down to the inside of turn 2, but was unable to make it stick on the exit and had to settle for holding 12th place. The two lead groups, with Deven hanging on well at the end of the second group, started to pull away from the trailing pack, and Deven put in consecutive personal best times, lap after lap, through the first half of the race, trading blows with the 11th placed #31 of Theodore Zackrisson, but not getting quite close enough to make an attack.
Very comfortable in 12th, with no pressure from behind, he was able to concentrate his efforts up the field, but unfortunately as the race developed, it became clear that the engine had not quite the gusto for the whole race distance. Maybe running slightly too lean and probably still one gear too tall for the evolving track conditions meant that he was ever so slowly left behind by the group ahead between laps 9-14, a couple of tenths of a second or so a lap.
However, just as the race seemed to be petering out, on the penultimate lap the kart seemed to come back to The Kid. His pace suddenly picked back up, and he found himself just 2 seconds off from 11th spot, with 2 laps to go.
Even so, it seemed a bit late on, and the team was just becoming resigned to a 12th place finish, when all of the sudden it was disaster for Alve Strömberg, who was in a podium fight at the front and came out the worse, going off track at the quick turn 4 left hander.
With Strömberg struggling to get out of the grass, Deven swept by him just as he was getting back on track and narrowly avoided a crash himself. Now he was in 11th with a 1s gap down to Strömberg, a 2s gap up to Zackrisson, and just half a lap to go. Deven dug out all he could from his racing machinery, and held position during a harrowing last few sectors for the team, biting their nails as they looked on, willing him across the line.
The team thought it had taken 11th, just a single spot off the hardware - all through technical inspection and back to the tent it was oddly downbeat given the already fine result.
But alas, a first lap race incident for Zackrisson meant a five second front fairing penalty for him which elevated Deven into 10th place!
It was a party in the pit area for Deven, who couldn’t understand what had happened. He had gone off to the tent in disappointment after being so close to his first SKCC trophy.
But at the prize ceremony, it was our man Deven Grabko who raised his prize high in the air, a very well earned trophy winning place, and the very best way to start the season after two years of fighting near the back of the grid and learning his trade the hard way.
A very proud day for him and for the whole team, who now have a great result to build on, which will definitely give both driver and team the self confidence to push on for more this year.
Very Special thanks to LK Racing and the Intrepid Driver Program Sweden for the chance to drive with a great chassis and a great set of teammates, not only drivers, but coaches, mechanics, parents, and siblings as well, and also Uddevalla Kartingklubb - a special club to be a part of.
Also a huge shout out to our sponsors and partners, The Techno Creatives, Improx Customs, Profil #461, Dumpling X, Freem Sweden, Minus 273, Intrepid Kart, and Zamp Helmets EU, - without you all we wouldn’t be out here chasing our dreams!