Buchanan excited to race abroad

Cormac Buchanan eagerly awaits another motorcycling campaign in Europe. Photo: Supplied

THINGS will be quite different for Cormac Buchanan in his second campaign racing motorcycles in Europe.

For one, the 15-year-old Southland rider has a year of experience in the prestigious Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup under his belt, and he has learnt an awful lot about the demands of top-class racing.

Secondly, he will not just have his father and mechanic, Stacey, for company but will be joined in a few weeks by mum Kate and sister Mikah, as the Buchanans leave their home near Invercargill for a base in Spain for nine months.

Then there is the hair – but more on that later.

Buchanan and his father left on Friday to prepare for the teenager’s second season in the Rookies Cup and, concurrently, his first with Spanish team AGR Racing in the European Talent Cup.

“I’m really excited to see how I go this year,” he said.

“I’ve been training really hard and I think I’m in the best shape, physically and mentally, I’ve ever been.

“It’s an intense schedule with two championships, and I know it will be taxing.

“But I’m excited about that. I want to get into a lot of racing, and I know all the tracks and the bike and the people now.”

Buchanan did not register a point in the Rookies Cup last year but placed 11th overall in the British Talent Cup, including a second and two thirds.

He feels he has made great strides as a rider and is setting his sights high this year.

“If you’re not there to win, there’s really no point in going.

“I’ve got that first year under my belt and I know what level I need to be at.

“So I feel I can really push myself to get to the top level. There’s no doubt we can be pushing for race wins, and obviously that’s a huge step from where we were last year.

“That’s my main goal – just be as consistent as possible and be fighting for that front group every time.”

The Buchanans will be staying just 10 minutes away from the AGR team base in Barcelona.

And, unlike last year when father and son were travelling around in a motor home and splitting time between various bases, they will be able to put down roots in Spain while hopping to events around continental Europe.

Having his mother and sister as part of his support crew would be a bonus, Buchanan said.

“It’s going to be great having the whole family there, and living in a house and training with my team.

“It’s not like I didn’t enjoy it with Dad, but me and Dad were kind of like two boys, stuck in a motor home for six months.

“The fact we’re going to be in a house, with my mum and sister there, is huge.

“It’s not like it’s going to be a holiday – I’m there to do a job – but it will sort of feel like it at times. It just should be a lot easier.”

The one down side?

The family cannot take spoodles Ollie and Marley with them, and they are gone till November.

At least the dogs have had time to get used to their young companion’s radical hairstyle change this summer.

“Hah, I just felt like a change,” Buchanan said.

“Everyone in Spain kind of has the same hairstyle so I guess I’m just trying to stand out from the crowd a bit.

“I think it suits me but they’re calling me Slim Shady at school.”

Speaking of school, Buchanan is looking forward to switching from Correspondence School to doing remote learning with James Hargest College.

He has enjoyed his time at home during the summer, though he did not get as much racing with the Yamaha Racing Development Team as he would have liked, but it is time to switch back into overseas mode.

The Rookies Cup will feature races at MotoGP championships in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Finland and Austria, against 25 of the world’s best young riders from 18 nations.

In the European Talent Cup, Buchanan will represent AGR in a seven-round series that forms part of the FIM JuniorGP.