Motorsport: Southland teen Cormac Buchanan auditions for MotoGP pathway in Europe

Cormac Buchanan only competed in his first road race last year.

Now the Southland 14-year-old has been invited to join 25 of the world's top junior motorcycle riders in Europe at the prestigious Red Bull Rookies Cup.

"That's where, if you want to get noticed, you have to go to Europe," he says. "So we're going to Europe and hopefully we get noticed."

It's serious business, with the organisation investing $500,000 a year in each rider, providing everything from their kit to the bikes.

"For people from New Zealand and Australia, the Red Bull Rookies Cup really is the only route - the ONLY route - into the world championship of MotoGP," says Cormac Racing head coach Steve Bagshaw.

Eleven graduates have gone on to win a world championship.

Spain's Joan Mir is the latest - a rookie seven years ago, this month crowned MotoGP world champ.

"That's the end goal - to be world champion and make it an actual job," says Buchanan.

Buchanan and father Stacey would have to move to England next year for a 14-race series running alongside top MotoGP events.

"Everyone's watching," says Bagshaw. "The world is watching, it's all televised live."

The Moto Academy boss reckons Buchanan is "the real deal", but will find himself near the bottom of the pile in Europe.

"And he's going to have to fight to get to the top of the pile - really hard," says Bagshaw.

"These kids in Europe, they're really fast," admits Buchanan. "It's a completely different level to here."

But Buchanan is revved up to fly the New Zealand flag on the international circuit.