Britten tribute helmet to raise funds for racer

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Southland motorcycle racer Cormac Buchanan with a Britten tribute helmet, which will be auctioned off via Trade Me. Photo: Supplied

PAYING tribute to a kiwi icon aims to give the fundraising efforts of Southland teenage racer Cormac Buchanan a unique boost.

Buchanan, 15, returns to Europe in March to contest two championships against the world’s best junior motorcycle racers – the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the Hawkers European Talent Cup as part of the FIM JuniorGP.

Racing motorcycles internationally has a hefty price tag so Buchanan and his support team have come up with a range of initiatives to bolster funds.

One which will no doubt garner the interests of motorcycle enthusiasts is a Britten tribute helmet by Bob Brookland, of Christchurch, who was the only person John Britten trusted to paint the bodywork on all his iconic bikes, including the dazzling hot pink and electric blue livery on the V1000s.

“Bob’s skills with a paintbrush and graphic design are legendary so you can imagine how rapt I was when he agreed to transform a helmet for me,” Buchanan said.

“Being a kiwi competing in the UK and Europe last year, it was reinforced on many occasions just how iconic the Britten motorcycle remains on a global scale.

“There are photos of me as a youngster posing proudly with the Britten on a few occasions but it’s only now I’m starting to truly appreciate the kiwi ingenuity of John and what he achieved, together with guys like Bob.”

Buchanan often sported a Britten t-shirt at Europe’s famous racing circuits which was given to him by Britten owners Kevin Grant, of Auckland, and Bob Robbins, from the United States.

“Anything Britten-related still turns heads.”

The one-off Britten tribute helmet is a carbon LS2 race model, comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from the maestro Brookland himself and will be auctioned off via Trade Me.

Brookland first met Buchanan as a youngster when he started racing speedway alongside his grandson, Hayden, at Oreti Park Speedway.

“I’ve followed Cormac’s racing career with interest over the years and fantastic to see him now representing New Zealand internationally. You could say there’s some synergy with the Brittens when you consider Kiwis taking on the motorcycling world and I’m sure John would support Cormac in his racing ventures,” he said.

“Although I painted the actual race helmets for the Britten bikes, I’ve only ever done one Britten tribute helmet in the past. It was a pleasure to do this and hopefully it adds a bit to Cormac’s kitty.”

Racers from around the country are expected to venture south to Teretonga for the Yamaha Sprint races on February 12 and 13.

Hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club, the two-day event is an action-packed fundraiser for Buchanan and features a range of classes, including Have a Go sessions.

Entries are open until February 3 via www.southlandmotorcycleclub.org.nz.

“I know my mates are all heading down and current NZ superbike champion Mitch Rees is even trekking south from Whakatane,” Buchanan said.

“With a number of events cancelled due to Covid, everyone is pretty keen to get some track time before the New Zealand Superbike Championships start in March.”

After his debut season racing in the Moto3 ranks last year, Buchanan is eager to return to Europe and begin preparations with his AGR Racing team.

The European Talent Cup is hailed as one of the world’s leading junior championships and will feature seven rounds at circuits in Spain and Portugal from May to October.

Buchanan’s Red Bull Rookies Cup duties will see him race at MotoGP World Championship events in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Finland and Austria.

“I can’t wait to get back amongst it all. I’ve had a taste of it and I know how tough the challenge is ahead but I’m determined to represent New Zealand proudly.”

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