11-year-old speedster wins solo award

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Southland's Cormac Buchanan (11) was named Speedway New Zealand's junior solo competitor of the year at its annual awards evening held in Wellington this month. Photo: Shelley Clark

THERE is little doubt – Invercargill 11-year-old Cormac Buchanan has emerged as a rising star in New Zealand motorsport circles.

For the second year in a row, the Year 7 James Hargest College pupil was named Speedway New Zealand’s junior solo competitor of the year at its annual awards evening in Wellington this month.

The award came on the back of another standout year in which he won the 125cc Burt Munro Challenge Speedway Spectacular, Canterbury championship, Remembrance championship and short track national titles.

The Oreti Park Speedway club has impressive junior competitor numbers and also delivers plenty of success on the track. That wasn’t just highlighted by Cormac’s national solo competitor of the year honour, but also the fact another Southlander in Dekota Crengle was a finalist in the category as well.

While it has been around New Zealand’s speedway tracks where Cormac has raised eyebrows, the 11-year-old said he had other “big plans” in his search for speed on a motorbike.

The talented Southland has dipped his toes into riding a road bike.

It is something he would like to pursue further, but he does have a bit of a wait.

Rules require that riders be 13 or over before they can start competing on a road bike.

For the moment, Cormac was spending a lot of time training on the road bike at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park to ensure he was ready to go when he reached 13.

Cormac has been tearing up speedway tracks in the junior ranks since he was 7.

Spare a thought for his mum Kate, who has nervously watched on.

It prompts her to recall an interview during her days as a sports reporter.

“I remember getting a great story with Scott Dixon’s mum when he was racing at Teretonga. She said she had never watched him race, she couldn’t.

“I can certainly understand that now – it can be hard to watch. But I do have every confidence in his ability, though,” she said.

There were a host of other Southland finalists at the 2018 Speedway New Zealand awards.

The Burt Munro Challenge was a finalist for individual event of the year, Daryl Shuttleworth was up for commentator of the year, and the combination of Aiden Thwaites and Shane Twiss was a finalist in sidecar competitors of the year.

The Southland Express was also up for the best media support award.

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