Podium dream result for Buchanan

Southland motorcycle rider Cormac Buchanan hugs his trophy after finishing third in race two at...
Southland motorcycle rider Cormac Buchanan hugs his trophy after finishing third in race two at the opening round of the JuniorGP World Championship in Misano, Italy. PHOTOS: MANU TORMO
Cormac Buchanan is hungry for more.

The rising Southland rider created history yesterday when he became the first New Zealander to reach the podium in the JuniorGP World Championship.

Buchanan, 17, finished third for his Spanish-based AGR Racing team in the second race of the opening round in Misano, Italy.

Southlanders are a stoic bunch but there was a lump in the young man’s throat when he clutched his trophy and watched his country’s flag fluttering in the breeze.

"I’ve never screamed so hard under my helmet before," Buchanan told the Otago Daily Times from Italy.

"I can jump pretty high in leathers as well — into the team’s arms, which was pretty fun.

"It’s always been my dream to be on one of those really high podiums, spraying the fizzy water, because we’re under-age, and I finally got to tick that one off the box today.

"It was a cool feeling to get my first world championship trophy. I have to make sure we get extra baggage for that one on the way home. That will cost Mum a fortune."

Buchanan celebrates with his AGR Racing team.
Buchanan celebrates with his AGR Racing team.
Buchanan has had immense support from his family in the four years he has been competing overseas.

Father Stacey was by his side for the first three years, and mother Kate is on deck for a second time this year.

"It was cool having Mum there.

"The team were obviously at the podium first but you could see Mum kind of working her way through everyone. It was a cool moment to share.

"I called Dad before. He’s over the moon. Of course he’ll be a bit disappointed not to be here, but he’s stoked for me. He’s been here with me the last three years so he knew what I was capable of."

The younger Buchanan spent three years in the Red Bull Rookies Cup before graduating to the JuniorGP ranks.

His season got off to a rough start in Misano when he struck overheating issues then had a crash in race one.

But it all came together in race two.

"I’ve always wondered if you need to do something special, but honestly it just happened.

"I found myself in the right place at the right time, making the key overtakes to get myself in the correct position, and I saw my opportunity and I took it."

Precocious Spanish rider Jesus Rios won both races on his debut.

Buchanan will be buzzing from his efforts for a while but has already taken time to reflect on how far he had come since embarking on his first European campaign.

"I look back to when I would finish last in almost every race, two minutes behind the winner, and that was a bit disheartening.

"At that time, it was difficult to be motivated to see any potential in it at all.

"People like Mum, Dad, and my whole support crew have believed in me. It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifices.

"Now the first podium is out of the way — that’s always the hardest one — I can just keep working to add a few more.

"It’s a long season. For me, the goal is just to be consistent. I’m in it for the long run, and I need to stay grounded and humble and focused, and take it day by day."

Buchanan, who also has his girlfriend and family with him, is off to Venice for a couple of days before returning to his Barcelona base.

The second round in the JuniorGP is in Portugal on May 5.