Otago Daily Times
Southland teen ‘shocked’ by opportunity
SOUTHLAND teenager Cormac Buchanan is set to blaze a new trail for New Zealanders in Europe.
The 14yearold has become the first New Zealander selected for the Rookies Cup.
He is one of nine newcomers from around the world invited the join the elite road motorbike racing programme for next year.
The Rookies Cup is regarded as the Road to MotoGP and has an impressive reputation as a pathway into the sport’s top echelon.
Newly crowned MotoGP champion Joan Mir came through the Rookies Cup and former Rookies Cup riders have won seven world championships.
A total of 26 riders from 16 countries will contest the event in Europe.
‘‘I was pretty shocked, to be honest,’’ Buchanan said.
‘‘It’s incredibly humbling and a massive opportunity for me as I pursue my goal of competing on the world stage.’’
Buchanan, a year 9 James Hargest College pupil, who is on the Yamaha New Zealand Racing Development Team, won the 150 SuperSport title at this year’s New Zealand Superbike Championships.
He attended the Rookies Cup trials in Spain last year, earning a spot in the finals.
Covid19 meant the normal selection event could not run this year, so the cup moved to an online selection process.
‘‘I’ve worked really hard since I got back from Spain and continued to develop my riding.
‘‘To finally achieve this goal feels surreal.
‘‘When the news broke late last [Thursday] night, my coach Steve woke me up so it’s no wonder I thought I was dreaming.
‘‘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 added he was aware of how tough it would be and he was up for the steep learning curve.