Newcastle Jets attacker Radovan Pavićević celebrated his 20th birthday preparing for Hyundai A-League season 11 with teammates at Ray Watt Oval on Friday, though the youngster could well have blown the candles on his cake out on a pit lane somewhere on the planet such was his prowess as a Go-Karter in his early life.
If you take the time to scroll through Pavićević’s Instagram account you will find a bunch of images of the Jets youth team graduate that give a glimpse into his passion for motor racing, his talent behind the wheel, plus the people that inspire him.
“Motor Racing I have been in and around all my life,” Pavićević told NewcastleJets.com.au on the day he left his teenage years behind him. “When I was born my Dad [Andrej Pavićević] was racing in Australia, and then in 1998 the whole family moved to England as he was racing overseas.”
“In 1999 and 2000 we lived in Italy, following my Dad around Europe as he raced Formula Three and Formula 3000.
“So I have always been around cars and had a thing for motorsport and going fast,” he explained.
Pavićević only needed to wait two years upon his return to Australia to get behind the wheel himself.
“In Australia you can start racing when you’re seven, so on my seventh birthday my parents bought me my first Go-Kart and I didn’t look back from there,” he said.
With his father as his mentor, it wouldn’t take long for Pavićević junior to develop his skills with speed.
In fact, if you visit Newcastle Kart Racing Club at Cameron Park you will find the name Radovan Pavićević on the lap record holders’ board in the rookie category.
While Pavićević’s name appears to sit under that of Max Johnson on the history list, if you inspect the times closely you will indeed recognise that the Jets forward managed to complete the circuit at a sharper pace --- the board is read in an anti-clockwise direction.
“My one is half a second quicker!” Pavićević stressed, jokingly. “I was lucky enough to put in a really good lap and to this day the record is standing from 2007.”
While Pavićević turned his attention to scoring goals rather than seeking to be the first past the black and white checkered flag when he was 14, he still maintains a strong interest in motor racing.
He has friends who he says are “doing pretty well for themselves” racing professionally overseas, and lists the late Brazilian racing icon Ayrton Senna as someone who he looks up to and gathers motivation and perspective from.
“Ayrton Senna is probably one of my biggest idols in life,” he said. “Not only was he the best at what he did, on top of that he was a really good person.”
“He [Senna] donated massive amounts of money to charity to help kids in Brazil. He is a big inspiration because he was just a really good, good human being.”
Importantly, despite his racing background the level-headed Pavićević acutely understands that the pedal should not go to the metal in every day life.
In an essential message for young men and women particularly, Pavićević said: “The roads are not a racetrack.”