Racer number 15 in the Italkart and bright green helmet isn’t too hard to spot at the track, because he is usually at the front of the pack.
Murrayville’s Grayson Talaba, nine, has been a consistent front runner and podium finisher in the nine- to 12-year-old Jr. 1 go kart class at local and regional levels, usually going up against older kids at speeds of up to 100 km/h.
“I like that it’s really competitive,” Grayson told the Langley Advance Times.
His breakout year in racing was 2019, when Grayson competed in 15 races in Canada and the U.S., while finishing on the podium 11 times.
Highlights included four podium finishes in six ICP Cup regional races (named after sponsor In City Prints) where he competed against older and more experienced competitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest.
In 2020, he started the season with three straight wins, finishing first in the Sumas International Motorsports Academy (SIMA) Winter Jr. 1 championship in Sumas, WA.
But then, the pandemic hit, and COVID-19 restrictions shut down the border.
The rest of the 2020 season was limited to three races in Canada, where Grayson posted up a win and two more podium finishes.
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Grayson got his start at five, when his dad, Teodor Talaba, who used to race go karts in his youth, took his son to a show at the Tradex.
There was a go kart display that offered novices a chance to try the sport out for free.
At the beginning of his competitive career, Grayson was running “mid-pack,” Teodor recalled, but then he upgraded to a quicker, used kart.
“It’s made him faster.”
Racing will start locally with the West Coast Kart Club at the Chilliwack track and expand to the U.S. once the border reopens.
During the year, Grayson will continue his current driver development program with Catalyst Driver Development instructors, top level pro racing drivers.
The focus for the new season will be skill development and preparation for a move up to even faster, full-size karts in 2022.
Grayson is fairly happy with his racing but would like to get stronger, to better handle the twists and turns.
“Sometime it can be difficult,” he commented.
It is a physically demanding sport, as his dad knows.
“During a lap, there are times, during fast or tight corners (that) these young drivers experience cornering forces of over 2Gs,” Teodor said.
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