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Yamaha's Buchanan shines bright in farewell fundraiser

The inaugural Yamaha Motor New Zealand (YMNZ) Sprint Races were the ultimate expression of Kiwi support for Yamaha rider Cormac Buchanan.

Held at his home track of Teretonga Park, in Invercargill, as a fundraiser for Buchanan’s up-coming dual European campaigns, the Yamaha-sponsored event was the perfect send-off for the young Southlander, who is set to take on the world.

Hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club, the two-day event attracted over 80 riders from throughout New Zealand and the money raised will go towards Buchanan competing in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the FIM JuniorGP, where he will contest the Hawkers European Talent Cup.

The 15-year-old superstar-in-the-making was unbeaten in both the Formula 3 and SuperSport 300 classes and was first to the chequered flag in all eight races. To top off his stellar weekend he set a new lap record of 1.08.1 on his Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT) YZF-R3.

Buchanan says it was an incredible two days.

“It was unreal to spend the weekend racing with an awesome crew of riders - especially since it was my last race in New Zealand until next summer.”

“To have riders from throughout the country turn up trackside at Teretonga and for the Southland Motorcycle Club to host this event, I know I head to Europe with a massive amount of support behind me.”

Buchanan returns to Spain next week to start training with Spanish team AGR Racing and prepare for Rookies Cup testing in Portugal in April.

“It was an emotional weekend before I venture to Europe for my second season in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, as well as my rookie season in the European Talent Cup. Now I guess it is ‘go time’ and I must say goodbye to everyone to chase that dream I believe I’m destined for,” Buchanan says.

He paid tribute to Yamaha mentor and YMNZ Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins and YRDT manager Steve Lloyd, along with the wider Altherm JCR Yamaha team.

“They have given me the right opportunities to develop my racing and provide a high-performance environment which allows me to continue growing as a rider,” he says.

“We have worked so hard over the summer break, not just physically but mentally and I feel I am the best prepared I have ever been. Now it is up to me to make what seemed impossible at some point happen. It’s time to work harder than ever before to achieve my goals,” Buchanan says.

Coppins says it was a real pleasure for the brand to sponsor the event and support Buchanan at the sprint races.

“It was great to have the Altherm JCR Yamaha team there backing him, and I know Cormac really appreciated it. The bigger picture is to do everything we can to have a Kiwi right up the front in the international road racing scene.”

“We wish Cormac all the best overseas and we’re thankful Yamaha could help him as a brand,” Coppins says.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have our other two Altherm JCR Yamaha riders Harry [Parker] there due to an injury and Jake [Lewis] because of work commitments. From a results perspective the weekend was more about testing, development, and track time for Al [Hoogenboezem] with his 2021 Yamaha YZF-R1 M.”

The now Auckland-based Superbike rider thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get back on his bike for three days of riding.

“It was wicked to be there with the Yamaha team and support Cormac. I’m stoked there was some riding to be done and it was pretty cool to catch up with the racing family,” Hoogenboezem says.

While the racing was focused on progressing his new Yamaha YZF-R1 M, he clocked runner-up pace behind current Superbike champion Mitch Rees in the first two races before the Whakatane rider had a significant crash.

“I hope Mitch has a speedy recovery and wish him all the best to get well soon, so we can continue the amazing racing we’ve been having,” Hoogenboezem says.

He finished second in the Formula 1 standings and clocked his own personal best time around Teretonga. Hoogenboezem’s brother James finished third behind him, on a Yamaha YZF-R1.

Despite awaiting a couple of components to complete his new Yamaha YZF-R1 M package, Hoogenboezem says “even not properly set up it, the R1 M feels like it’s going to be a bit of a weapon!”

“Thanks to the JCR Yamaha team and our sponsors for allowing us to do this event. And good luck to Cormac for his overseas adventure,” he wraps up.

Coppins says the team was “thankful to get out and meet up with Yamaha customers and the riders were glad to have an opportunity to ride their bikes in these uncertain times.”

“We have no major events this season but the JCR Yamaha team riders will continue to work on developing their bikes at a couple of track days we’ve got lined up. We have one at Manfeild in March and another at Ruapuna over Easter weekend. We’ll have our full team there and as always, we look forward to seeing all our Yamaha riders and customers there.”