Road racer eyes the world stage

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JUST seven months ago, Cormac Buchanan (13) competed in his first road race – next year he will represent Yamaha New Zealand as its 150cc rider for the New Zealand Superbike Championships.

“I started riding a motorbike when I was about 4, but I started practising road racing when I was about 11.”

After looking into the Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix [MotoGP] 2019, the Southland youngster decided to take his hobby to the next level.

“I’ve seen how cool and professional it was and it made me really want to get in to that,” he said.

During the past nine months, he had competed in all six rounds of the Australian SuperBike Championship 2019 Oceania Junior Cup.

Finally old enough to “go professional”, he has raced across three Australian states during that time.

An official Road to MotoGP programme, the competition was designed as a stepping stone for young riders.

“A lot of these kids have been riding since they could walk, so the competition was very fierce,” he said.

Currently sitting in 15th place, he hoped to move up the table at the final round in Sydney this weekend.

Earlier this month, he travelled to Spain to trial for the RedBull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2019.

Of 4000 applicants, he was the only New Zealand rider and one of 110 from around the world.

“I placed in the top 46 riders and made it to day three so I was very pleased with that.”

While he fed off the “adrenaline rush”, the heat was the biggest challenge, he said.

“You’re riding very quickly, once you come off you’re all tired and sweaty. It’s a lot hotter than what we get here at home.”

Buchanan is in Malaysia for the IDEMITSU Asia Talent Cup trials this week, where he is just one of 100 riders given a spot.

Despite being a full-time James Hargest College junior campus pupil, his plan was to continue to train four days a week to secure a spot on the world stage in the future, he said.

He thanked Moto Academy New Zealand coach Steve Bagshaw, the Southland Motorcycle Club, and ILT Foundation, which both awarded him scholarships.

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