Kiwi motorcycle rider Cormac Buchanan feels he has made significant improvements both on and off the track since beginning his international journey in Europe this year.
The Invercargill teenager, who recently celebrated his 15th birthday, is currently competing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup and Honda Talent Cup championships.
Buchanan was the first New Zealander selected for the Rookies Cup. While he is yet to score a championship point, he has been quietly chipping away at his own goals.
“It has been all right so far,” Buchanan told Velocity News.
“We have been getting faster and closer to the front. We have cut down to a 1.6s gap to the leaders. It was over three or so seconds at the start of the season.
“So, there a lot of positives to take away, as well as some things still to work on.
“Being in the points would be an awesome way to end the season; and I am confident we can do that if we just continue to steadily improve.”
Buchanan’s Rookies Cup season has had its fair share of highs and lows.
One of his lowest lows came in Austria when he fell during free practice and fractured his wrist.
Pushing through the pain, Buchanan decided to retire midway through the weekend’s first race due to a lack of strength in his braking hand.
However, in typical Kiwi grit, he was back on the bike the following day, finished the race and set his fastest lap of the weekend.
He may have finished the race in 20th, yet Buchanan was only 0.3s off P16.
Those narrow margins between a strong result and a decent one were new to Buchanan and was something he took a while to understand.
“The gaps back in New Zealand are a lot bigger.
“At home, you can get pole by one, sometimes two seconds. But here, that is a massive gap, especially later in the season when everyone steps it up a notch.
“That took a bit to wrap my head around.”
Overall, Buchanan is proud of his first Rookies Cup season.
“I have made a good step up.
“It has been cool because I used to look up to some of the riders that I am racing, and now I am racing against them.
“This was always going to be a season to learn and feel it out.
“If you look at we are from where we have come from, it has been a good year, even if the positions don’t reflect that.
“As long as I am enjoying it, that it is all that matters.”
As a rider, Buchanan suggests he has bettered himself as a racer, as well as matured as a person.
“I feel like I am a better rider now, on and off track, like with doing interviews and staying focused.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to New Zealand, jumping on the 300 and seeing what I have learnt [while in Europe].”
Buchanan is also balancing his Rookies Cup season with rounds in the British Honda Talent Cup.
Having already stood on the podium, Buchanan has proven to be a regular front runner in the category.
It is now only a race win that eludes him.
“I’m confident we can get a win, it is definitely coming,” he said.
Buchanan is at Silverstone this weekend for the next round of the Honda Talent Cup, which is also on the support card for MotoGP’s British Grand Prix.