SOUTHLAND teenager Cormac Buchanan has made history as the first New Zealand rider to be selected for the prestigious Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.
Buchanan (14) is one of nine new riders from around the world invited to join the elite road racing programme for 2021.
A total of 26 riders from 16 countries will contest the championship on legendary circuits throughout Europe.
For the James Hargest College pupil, the selection announcement came as a surprise.
“I was pretty shocked to be honest. It’s incredibly humbling and a massive opportunity for me as I pursue my goal of competing on the world stage,” he said.
Currently riding for the Yamaha New Zealand Racing Development Team, Buchanan won the 150 SuperSport title at the 2020 New Zealand Superbike Championships earlier this year.
In 2019, he attended Rookies Cup trials in Spain, earning a spot in the finals.
Unable to run the normal selection event this year due to Covid-19, Rookies Cup opted for an online selection process which generated an impressive list of talent for the committee to consider.
“I’ve worked really hard since I got back from Spain and continued to develop my riding. To finally achieve this goal feels surreal.
“It’s going to be unreal to ride in Europe and represent New Zealand and I’m determined to make the most of it. Hopefully I will get to wear that silver fern on my helmet and I just want to do everyone proud.”
He was under no illusions as to how hard it was going to be given the calibre of the sport.
“I’m up against some of the best young riders in the world but I’m also up for the challenge.
“It’s going to be a steep learning curve with a completely new bike and circuits but we’ve been racing and training hard down here and I’ve been preparing myself for the step up.”
It’s been a monumental rise for Buchanan who only contested his first road race in March last year after joining the Oceania Junior Cup in Australia for his debut season, as he was too young to race in New Zealand.
He has been mentored by Moto Academy NZ founder Dr Steve Bagshaw, of Wellington, since transitioning from speedway.Running sportsNike Air Force 1 07 Khaki Dark Green Medium Olive /Black-Starfish