The go-kart does lap after lap at Uddevalla karting club, can reach speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour depending on the track. Behind the wheel sits 11-year-old Deven Grabko from Trollhättan.

– I can’t really explain it, but it just feels like I’m meant to do this.
He has been competing for just over three years and has just signed with Italian Minardi Management to be able to invest fully in his big dream. The hope is that the management company will get Deven into international competitions, something TTELA has written about before.

That Minardi even had an eye on Deven has a lot to do with his presence on social media, where the father-son duo goes by the name “GrabkoGP”. Look for it on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.

– We got in touch with Minardi via Instagram at the beginning of the season and after a few races they asked me to send a driver presentation, so I sent one. So we kept in touch for a while and they thought it was interesting and wondered if we had any plans or interest in competing internationally, says father Dan Grabko while Deven drives out on the track.

– Absolutely, I said, and started checking them out a bit to see if it was real, and they had a really
impressive driver portfolio they represented, and so we felt “okay, we’ll sign and see what happens”
and that’s kind of where we are now.

Early Commitment
It’s fast on the track, but it’s also gone quickly this past year for Deven, who has already started to rack up podiums and top ten finishes in his first year as a driver in the Mini 60 class. The eleven-year-old is fully invested in his racing, there is no other sport for Deven Grabko.

– I can’t really explain it, but it just feels like I’m meant to do this.
During the first two years of racing, the pair were on their own, and were responsible for everything themselves, from chassis and motor adjustments on race day to data analysis and coaching. But now Deven drives for AD Motorsport, which has brought no few improvements, according to dad and former coach/mechanic Dan.

– “In my own opinion, it has been a disadvantage for Deven up until this season. When I got it right with the engine and setup, then everything went well, and he could show how good he was. But I don’t come from motorsport, and don’t have the knowledge, so that happened less than it should’ve. Now he has professional help basically all the time and just needs to focus on the driving and racing,” says a relieved dad, Dan, after trying and failing to fix the problem that stopped training during the day.

In the autumn, there are hopes that Deven will come out and run international competitions in Europe, perhaps especially in Italy. That is in large part thanks to the new agreement with Minardi Management.

The fact that the effort to get as far as possible has already started at the age of eleven is not something that makes Deven feel extra pressure.

– “I just drive and have fun, and drive to be fast. At a race it’s a bit different, though. When I’m sitting in the car waiting to drive I’m quite nervous and my stomach is a bit weird. But then when we pull out of the grid and get on track, I have laser focus, the second we drive away the nervousness disappears. But in training it’s just fun!

Do you feel any pressure to deliver and perform?

– “No, it is and will be fun. No pressure, eh?” Deven says, looking with a big smile at dad Dan, who laughs heartily at his son’s answer and agrees. No pressure.
– “Now he has eyes on him more than before. It’s really crazy, he’s eleven years old and already has to start thinking about all of this stuff. Start preparing and building now if he wants to go far,” says Dan.

Is it di cult as a parent to know whether to slow down or accelerate the investment?

– “Of course it is hard, there has to be a balance. It has to be fun as well. As a parent, you really want it to go well for the sake of your child, but you have no control over it and it’s so nervous for me because of that. One can only hope. Deven just lives in the moment, though, that’s what is so charming about him. When he’s out there, he doesn’t think about anything else but the next corner, the next car to pass. He loves it so much.

Originally published by: TTELA, Trollhättan, Sweden’s regional newspaper
Photos and Original Text: Hanna Bernhardsson
English Translation: The Grabko Group AB
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