Southland 14-year-old determined to capitalise on invite to prestigious rookie motorcycle tour

With names like Liam Lawson and Marcus Armstrong already making their names heard loud and clear on the motorsport world stage, another Kiwi teenager could soon be about to join them on that list.

This time, however, it’ll be on two wheels.

Fourteen-year-old Southlander Cormac Buchanan will head to Europe at the end of March, after being invited to the prestigious Red Bull Rookies Cup.

It's a series that races alongside the world famous Moto GP, featuring names like nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi.

“Growing up watching those guys and always wanting to be like them. Even the way Rossi’s going, I may get to race with him one day,” Cormac says.

The series — which races in countries like Spain, Germany and Finland — is a chance for young riders like Cormac to be recognised by Moto GP teams. Just like Spaniard and 2020 world champion Joan Mir, who got his chance through the same competition.

“The Red Bull Rookies Cup is the only way that a Kiwi kid is going to make it in the world championship of road racing,” coach Steve Bagshaw says.

Buchanan is still relatively new to the sport, making his racing debut in Australia less than two years ago.

His rise has been rapid, however, with the teenager winning five of the opening six races of the NZGP series this year.

When asked what his ultimate goal was, there’s no mincing the teenager's words.

“To be Moto GP world champion. We’re a step closer every day,” Cormac says.

The Southlander is also drawing plenty of motivation from a Southland motorsport icon, Burt Munro.

“Cormac very much sees it as he’s a Southlander that’s gone and taken on the world. I think he takes a lot of motivation from that,” mum Kate Buchanan says.

Cormac will spend seven months in Europe with dad Stacey. While Red Bull will supply his bike and team, it’s Buchanan’s family who will be paying for every other expense.

“I can see there’s talent there and it’d be a shame not to see how far we can take it. We don’t want to look back in 10 years and think what could have been,” Stacey Buchanan says.

Before jetting off, Cormac still has several races in New Zealand to take part in, including the famous Burt Munro Challenge in February.